Islamic apologists routinely claim that violent Qur’an verses have no validity beyond Muhammad’s time, but this story illustrates that this is not the mainstream view in Islam. The persecution of Mouhanad Khorchide also shows the uphill battle that genuine Muslim reformers face: branded as heretics and/or apostates, they’re often shunned (or worse) by the very community that needs their ideas the most.
“Opinion: A German Islam must be liberal, self-critical,” by Susanne Schröter, DW, May 23, 2016:
When the theologian Mouhanad Khorchide, who teaches at the University of Münster, published “Islam Is Compassion” in 2012, he received a variety of diverse reactions. Many non-Muslims celebrated the work as the revelation of a humanistic Islam: an Islam that no one needs to fear. This feeling arose in part because the author created a picture of God that is not “interested in the labels of Muslim or Christian or Jewish, believer or nonbeliever.”
Korchide threw out the idea that Koran verses that appear violent or hostile toward women or non-Muslims may be valid for all eternity. He wanted them to be viewed as the words of a bygone era.
It seemed that the professor, with the swoop of his pen, managed to brush aside all those reservations that made people wonder whether Islam really “belonged to Germany,” as former President Christian Wulff said famously in a 2010. One might even have thought that Muslims would offer Khorchide a pat on the back.
On the website for DITIB, Germany’s Turkish Islamic union and the country’s largest Muslim organization, one can read that Khorchide’s statements were a “rejection of the teachings of classical Islam” and an “insult to Muslim identity.” For this reason, the professor was removed from his post at the university. As if that weren’t enough, the coordinating body of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims (ZMD), a cooperative made up of a number of large organizations, produced a nearly 100-page assessment document to discredit him further, but luckily was not able to get far with it….
“Jihad,” when used in the sense of a real war, is a term that is used in the Koran and in Islamic heritage. There are clerics who claim jihad is an appropriate instrument for avenging insults to the Prophet Muhammad – such as an act of revenge for a nation’s foreign policy. These clerics are even lent the pulpit at some mosques, though the official leaders of the houses of worship issue apologies to the community if religious youths clamor after extremists. But Salafism is a youth movement, and it draws in so many teenagers and young adults that the psychologist Ahmad Mansour speaks of a “Generation Allah.”
Mansour isn’t only referring to those youths who join radical groups and potentially fight in such places as Syria, but also those whose beliefs vacillate between extremism and orthodoxy. “Generation Allah” refers to youths who find meaning in life by subjecting themselves unquestioningly to God and his rules, who ask constantly what is halal (allowed) or haram (forbidden) because their perspective is that they can be winners in paradise. I have spoken to such young men. Living in contemporary German society is dangerous for these young men, full of sin, and as a result they reject any relationships with so-called unbelievers. They go beyond what is normally required of their faith.
Some Muslim organizations encourage such segregation. Nearly every mosque has soccer teams that play against other sides from other mosques. Islamic day care and cultural centers are being founded; Islamic NGOs are working with underprivilileged [sic] people and youth. Parallel structures are being developed that would allow Muslims to avoid contact with non-Muslims from the cradle to the grave….