Hamed Abdel-Samad is an Egyptian-German author and an apostate from Islam who lives under a death fatwa for his criticism of his former faith. Rembrandt Clancy has translated and subtitled an interview with Mr. Abdel-Samad that aired yesterday in Germany. The translator includes an introduction, and also a transcript of the video.
The video below contains an interview with Hamed Abdel-Samad by one of Germany’s public broadcasters, the ARD. Born and raised in Egypt and the son of a Sunni imam, Mr. Abdel-Samad is an author and an apostate from Islam under police protection. He came to Germany in 1995 at the age of 23.
The subject of the interview arises from recent statements by politicians of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party to the effect that Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy (cf. Gates of Vienna). A draft policy has just been published and it contains an Article entirely devoted to Islam’s “strained relationship to the democratic world order”. The policy is to be discussed at a party convention to be held in two weeks’ time.
Deputy party leader Beatrix von Storch is quoted in the video interview from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung which reports her as saying that
“Islam is inherently a political ideology, which is incompatible with the Constitution,”
Referring to Islam’s paraphernalia, she said:
“We are in favour of a ban on minarets, on muezzins and for a ban on full body coverings.”
Alexander Gauland, party whip for the AfD in Brandenburg and a deputy party leader, made a statement along the same lines:
“Islam is not a religion in the same way as Catholic or Protestant Christianity, but is intellectually always connected with the takeover of the state. For that reason the Islamisation of Germany is dangerous,”
At the basis of these quotations is the party platform [pdf] of the AfD’s Federal Association (Bundesverband). The lengthy Article 7.6, “Islam in strained relationship with our liberal-democratic World Order”, contains the following section which provides an idea of the spirit of the document:
“The AfD rejects the minaret as an Islamic symbol of dominance as much as it does the call of the muezzin, according to which there is no God except the Islamic Allah. The minaret and the call of the muezzin stand in contradiction to a tolerant coexistence of the religions which the Christian churches practise in the modern age.” (Section 7.6.3, 19-22)
Article 7.6 contains the following sections:
7.6.1 Islam does not belong to Germany
7.6.2 Criticism of Islam must be permitted
7.6.3 Foreign financing of the mosques must be ended
7.6.4 No statutory corporation for Islamic organisations
7.6.5 Prohibition of full body covering
This last section (7.6.5) is noteworthy in that it is finally at least a quasi-official application of standards to Muslims which the Frankfurt School requires as a template only for the European cultural sphere:
The AfD calls for a general prohibition of the full body covering by the burka and niqab in public and in the public service.
Burka and niqab erect a barrier between the wearer and their surroundings and impede thereby cultural integration and social coexistence. A prohibition is therefore necessary and lawful pursuant to the judgement of the EuGH (European Court of Justice).
No headscarf is to be worn in the public service; in educational institutions, neither by teachers nor by students following the French model.
The headscarf as a religio-political sign of subordination of Muslim women to the man is inconsistent with the integration and equal rights of women and girls as well as the unimpeded development of personality.
Hamed Abdel-Samad, Publicist, on the Anti-Islam Debate of the AfD
Interview with Hamed Abdel-Samad
Video Source: ARD Das Erste: nachtmagazin
19 April 2016
Interviewer: Now I am in the company of a well-known Islam critic. He himself is a German-Arabian Muslim and works here as a publicist. Hamed Abdel-Samad, a pleasant evening to you!
Hamed Abdel-Samad: Good evening Hamburg, hello!
Interviewer: Tell us, what impact does this debate have here within the Muslim population?
Hamed Abdel-Samad: All of this has an emotional effect and it has consequences. I do not know why this debate is needed. Why does it take Islam to legitimate democracy or the other way round? I don’t understand it. When someone says, “Islam and democracy are mutually incompatible”, basically that is not actually not wrong. Islam has many problems with democracy; one has to distinguish between Islam as a religion, a political ideology … [Interviewer interrupts.]
Interviewer: Stop! Pardon me on this point! You have just said precisely what the AfD also said. You are confirming that!
Hamed Abdel-Samad: Yes, where is the problem? If the AfD were also to say “the sun is shining today”, then I would not contradict them. And that is the problem with the parties of the centre: right from the start they have to contradict everything the AfD says. And it does not have to be that way. We have to free ourselves from this compulsion. One must take this debate, this Islam-critical debate into the middle of the society; then we won’t have this problem.
Interviewer: Good! That means, to summarise, that you confirm what Frau von Storch said: ‘Islam is less a religion than it is a political ideology’!
Hamed Abdel-Samad: Islam is both: Islam is a religion, it is a political force, but also a political ideology, a social order, a societal order and precisely these parts of Islam are problematical and also cannot become part of Germany.
Interviewer: Then once more the question: how does this debate impact the Muslim population on the inside?
Hamed Abdel-Samad: Since Muslims themselves do not take part in this debate, there is always the attempt to defend Islam, and simply to bring the compatibility of Islam and democracy hypocritically into the foreground. Then others take up debate and they pursue it very politically and in such an emotionally charged way. And we do not benefit from it. Those in the middle of society, the politicians, but also the Muslim community itself, must acknowledge that Islam, as a political ideology and as a legal order, is not compatible with democracy; and that one must detach one’s self from many elements of authentic Islam, in order to get on in Europe.
Interviewer: You yourself have been invited several times at the AfD as a speaker and you got on super there. Do you find a certain affinity or is that for you a perfect atmosphere for constructive debate?
Hamed Abdel-Samad: It is a perfect atmosphere for constructive debate. I am not an AfD voter and would also not vote for the AfD. Actually, I used to vote for the SPD. And I am not susceptible to blackmail like many German publicists. I’ll speak with everyone. And it is not correct that I got on super with the AfD. There was one function where AfD members were chafed by my topics. For I distinguish between Islam as a religion and Muslims as human beings, who are much more diverse and much more multifaceted than the ideology. And one must differentiate between the two. But the Islamic associations do not do that, and the politicians do not do that and also some racists in this country do not do that and all three constitute for me problems of integration. One must distinguish between the religion and the followers of the religion. One can respect people, but one does not have to respect everything these people believe, and accept everything as a total package.
Interviewer: These are fascinating statements of yours. Thank you very much for the conversation, Hamed Abdel-Samad.
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