The following review discusses a new book by the German journalist Samuel Schirmbeck, who learned about the process of Islamization first-hand, when he was a correspondent in North Africa. As Western Europe was being Islamized, Algeria was being re-Islamized — that is, rediscovering the “true Islam”.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from Deutschlandradio Kultur:
Samuel Schirmbeck: The Islamic Crusade and the Clueless West
Why we need a self-confident Islam criticism
Call for Islam Criticism
by Rebecca Hillauer
“There must be no distinction between ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’’” insists Samuel Schirmbeck in his “Crusade of Islam.”
As a correspondent in North Africa, Samuel Schirmbeck became familiar with a creeping Islamization, and warns of the “Crusade of Islam.” He calls for the courage to criticize Islam openly, and blames leftists for the spread of radical Islam in Western Europe.
“People who are critical of Islam are not Islamophobic. They are just violence-phobic, intolerance-phobic homophobe-phobic. They reject in Islam what we also [once] had: misogyny, intolerance in the name of a philosophy. We have separated ourselves from that with great effort, and now people do not want it to re-enter our land under the cover of religion.”
Samuel Schirmbeck experienced creeping radicalization in North Africa. When he arrived in Algiers as an ARD correspondent in 1990, the beaches were full of women in bathing suits, and the land was full of hopes for democracy. Islamists put an end to that. They threatened alleged “unbelievers” with death. Samuel Schirmbeck stayed, and learned to live with the latent fear. It left him, he says, only when he occasionally flew to Frankfurt for a few days for discussions.
“And then I realized how valuable that is — a public space where you do not need to fear religious madness, where you can step out of your front door without the fear of someone shooting you in the head because you are an “unbeliever.”
”And Then I Got a Terrible Fright”
People whose lives are spent in Muslim lands have no such refuge, and they nonetheless denounce the atrocities committed in the name of their religion. In his book, Samuel Schirmbeck gives voice extensively to these “Muslim freedom-seekers,” as he calls them. For instance, the literary scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb who sees “Islam’s sickness” in violent fundamentalism. Schirmbeck was reminded of that once, when he was flying to Frankfurt, and a young Algerian was sitting next to him.
“We were barely over Marseille, when he began a monologue on how great the Koran is and how Islam is there for humanity and is the best religion, and treats everyone justly, and so forth. An hour and a half. So, when the plane was down on the tarmac in Frankfurt, I said, Here is the end of the Allah zone. And he shot back: No, monsieur, the Allah zone never ends. And I had a terrible fright. What if the Allah zone really would expand and come to Europe? And there was no longer this feeling of security? Et voilá.“
Schirmbeck writes, “You can also see it in Western Europe. Demand for prayer rooms outside of mosques, in schools, in businesses, at universities. Protest praying outdoors, if the demand is not met. Refusing to shake hands with women because they are ‘impure.’ Fear of a false word about the Prophet that could have bad consequences. That is how it started in North Africa.”
He describes how stunned he was when he told his friends in Germany of his growing doubts about the peaceful intentions of Islam — and they called him a fascist. In Schirmbeck’s eyes, people like that are “born-yesterday leftists” and complicit in Islam’s ability to expand unhindered in Western Europe.
“There Must Be No Distinction Between ‘Believers’ and ‘Unbelievers’”
“That is the old, leftist ‘Third-World attachment.’ They think there is an ontologically evil part of the world — the West, including America. And then there is an ontological innocence zone — the Third World. And now, out of the Third World comes Islam — and that’s why it shouldn’t be hassled.”
As also responsible, he sees the liberal Muslims and the conservative Islamic organizations in Europe who have thus far taken no clear position against radical Islam. In his book he calls on them:
“Demand number one: Free, independent deliberation about Islam! Number two: Proclaim that there is no difference between ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers.’”
Schirmbeck believes that the separation into “believers” and “unbelievers” is disastrous. Especially for integration. How do war refugees from Syria regard a society they are told is composed of blasphemers? His book is fascinating to read. His lucid style makes for clarity of content. The author has many useful arguments for anyone who has been waiting a long time for such a message.
An Alliance of the Secular
“Our politicians — and I find this essentially racist — consider the Muslims here incapable of tolerating an open discussion about the ‘cursed’ side of Islam, as a Moroccan scholar calls it. They are afraid that the peaceableness they are constantly emphasizing could falter. Naturally, they avoid any criticism of Islam, because that is also criticism of religion, and of course they don’t want that, because Islam has provided them a new significance [for religion]. The re-religionizing of our society — that’s a part of Islamization.”
Schirmbeck firmly agrees with the declaration of secular Muslims from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, demanding a reform of Islam compatible with the European Enlightenment. He says that he learned that, too, in North Africa.
“That the confrontation here is not between Muslims and Europeans. Rather, that there are like-minded people in the Muslim world and the European world — and that they must form an alliance against the others. Sooner or later, I think that will happen.”
|1.||German broadcasting pool.