Tibi says “When you study religion, you do not study texts, you study social facts. A Muslim boy is torching cars and he is thinking he is waging jihad.” That is true. But the texts also support the permissibility, and indeed the active good, of waging war against unbelievers. “Germans may regret ignoring ‘prophet’ in their midst,” by Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail, with thanks to Paul:
BERLIN — Bassam Tibi is an unabashed alarmist. He is among Germany’s foremost political scientists, and an expert on political Islam. And he says that even now — after 9/11, after Madrid, after 7/7, and all the rest of it — the European elites don’t have a clue what they are up against.
“Europeans don’t know what Islamism is,” he argues. “We are talking about a new totalitarianism. And Islamists are establishing themselves in Europe with great success.” They thrive, thanks to Europe’s tolerance of the intolerable.
Dr. Tibi, a Muslim born in Syria, is persona non grata there.
He’s not too popular in Germany either, where he has been accused of inciting Islamophobia. “It is most disturbing to see how writers who try to warn about the totalitarian character of Islamism are defamed as racists,” he says. “This wrong-headed political correctness prevents any honest discussion about the subject.”
This is not the message you will hear from any Muslim leader. The standard line is that extremism has been exaggerated, the media are to blame, and that the real problem is that Muslims have been unfairly targeted. But long before 9/11, Dr. Tibi began warning Europe had become dangerously vulnerable to radical Islamists. Today, many of these movements have their logistics, as well as their support systems, in Western Europe. In the name of multiculturalism, Muslims were encouraged to build parallel societies. Now, many have no intention of integrating into the mainstream.
It’s true, he says, that the radicals are no more than a tiny minority — between 3 per cent and 5 per cent of the Muslim population, he guesses — but they are gaining ground. “They control most of the mosques and the welfare institutions, and they are the official speakers for Islam.” (Among the most revered is Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, now preaching from Qatar on Al Jazeera, who says Islam justifies suicide bombing.)
In spite of the new lip service being paid to integration, he says, Europe shows little interest in acting to promote it. Part of the problem is that there’s no consensus on what it means to be European.
“Some people think there is no such thing as a common identity binding us together,” he says….
Dr. Tibi is impatient with the endlessly repeated nostrum that Islam is “a religion of peace.” “When you study religion, you do not study texts, you study social facts. A Muslim boy is torching cars and he is thinking he is waging jihad. Religion has nothing to do with terrorism. But you can use it to legitimate terrorism. There is a conflict — it is social and economic, but it is articulated in religious language.” And the quest of converting the entire world to Islam, he insists, is an immutable fixture of the Muslim worldview.
Tiny Minority of Extremists Update:
I asked Dr. Tibi how many of Germany’s 3.2 million Muslims share his progressive, secular views. “Maybe a few thousand,” he said.