The intrepid Fjordman writes to notify us that “in an essay in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten yesterday, Muslim reformist Bassam Tibi explained his decision to leave Germany after 44 years. The article has been translated to English and reposted at the Gates of Vienna blog.”
Tibi makes many valid points regarding the cowardice and censorship in Europe these days, and he should be given credit for consistently criticizing those Muslims who are pushing for the gradual implementation of sharia in Western lands. I hold him in higher esteem as a thinker than some other self-proclaimed reformists such as Irshad Manji.
However, he states that Muslims, in order to live in Western countries, have to renounce Jihad and “give up” sharia. This is certainly a brave thing to say, but exactly how does he propose to do that in real life, given that, as he himself readily admits, only a minute fraction of those calling themselves Muslims would agree with such radical views? And even if such a transformation took place, could the resulting religion be called Islam anymore? Since there are dozens, probably more than one hundred, verses calling for Jihad, some of them explicitly violent, in the Koran, and even more references in the hadith, doesn’t this mean that Muslims have to renounce large parts of the Koran, the hadith and the personal example of Muhammad in order to achieve this? Even if that could be done, which I seriously doubt, the result could hardly be recognized or described as “Islam” in any traditional sense of the word.
Moreover, Tibi is one of those calling for Euro-Islam and a “Europeanization of Islam.” I don’t see how this can be done theoretically and theologically, and see few if any practical indications that this is happening. On the contrary, as Bat Ye’or warned already in the 1990s, “I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in a relativization of religion, a self-critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism…we are light years away from such a development…On the contrary, I think that we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking.”
My problem is that I believe in the European idea and take it very seriously. To me free thinking is a blessing to the cultural modernists “” and not negotiable. Out of this the German intellectuals create a postmodern censorship and denial of the works of inconvenient dissidents. Just like the citizen only exists within the law, so does German freedom of thinking only exist on paper, not within the political culture.
As a citizen I want to belong to a society, get a cultural membership without denying my many identities, and not die as a stranger “with immigrant background”. We strangers, whether professors or unskilled workers are always outside the door in Germany. Defenseless toward our enemies, defiant towards our friends: that’s not what Europe promised.
A leader of the small worldwide Muslim reform movement is warning the West against wishful thinking as the U.S. government promotes an intensive dialogue with Islam. “The dialogue is not proceeding well because of the two-facedness of most Muslim interlocutors on the one hand and the gullibility of well-meaning Western idealists on the other,” Bassam Tibi said Tuesday in an interview with United Press International.
“First, both sides should acknowledge candidly that although they might use identical terms these mean different things to each of them. The word ‘peace,’ for example, implies to a Muslim the extension of the Dar al-Islam — or ‘House of Islam’ — to the entire world,” explained Tibi, who is also a research scholar at Harvard University. “This is completely different from the Enlightenment concept of eternal peace that dominates Western thought, a concept developed by Immanuel Kant,” an 18th-century philosopher.
Bassam Tibi is among Germany’s foremost political scientists. And he says that even now the European elites don’t have a clue what they are up against. 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.”
I asked Dr. Tibi how many of Germany’s 3.2 million Muslims share his progressive, secular views. “Maybe a few thousand,” he said.
When it comes to Islam, there is no freedom of opinion in Germany. Organized groups in Islamic communities want to decide what is said and done here. I myself have been dropped from numerous events because of threats. Even the comparatively moderate Turkish organization DITIB says there are no Islamists, only Islam and Muslims — anything else is racism. That means that you can no longer criticize the religion.
Accusing somebody of racism is a very effective weapon in Germany. Islamists know this: As soon as you accuse someone of demonizing Islam, then the European side backs down.
Muslims have to give up three things if they want to become Europeans: They have to bid farewell to the idea of converting others, and renounce the Jihad. The Jihad is not just a way of testing yourself but also means using violence to spread Islam. The third thing they need to give up is the Shariah, which is the Islamic legal system.
SPIEGEL: How many of the 3 million Muslims living in Germany would agree to these demands?
Tibi: A few thousand perhaps.
Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald: Clash of civilizations? Yes and no:
“Bassam Tibi epitomizes the confusion caused by clash of civilizations talk, and the difficulties to which it gives rise. Tibi is a Syrian, married to a German, who is Muslim in name only. And he has many virtues. But imagination is not among them. When he posits only two possibilities — Europe becoming thoroughly islamized, or Islam becoming Europeanized — he shows that limited imagination. When he offers the possibility of Islam becoming Europeanized, he fails to discuss what that would mean. Would it mean simply Muslims wearing Western dress? Throwing out the hadith? Throwing out the hadith and the sira (going beyond the Ancient Mariner, would Tibi have them stoppeth two of three)? Throwing out all of the sira, and all of the hadith, and then in addition throwing out traditional conclusions of the interpreters of the Qur’an — in a kind of reverse abrogation, in which all the softer verses are now kept and the harsher ones removed, instead of the other way around as mainstream Muslim Qur’an commentators now have it? Just how is this to be done? Who would do it? A committee? What committee? And how would it acquire sufficient authority to command belief from — Believers?”