THE POLITICAL PAGE

March 2006

The fourfold menace by Islam

INTRODUCTION

For many years the topic of “Islam” was limited in the west to the question of immigration and the integration of immigrants. We did feel the strangeness of the foreigners, yet we forced ourselves to a tolerant smile. We called the strange an “enrichment” and the whole thing was named multi-culti. The political left parties took the lead in that and the political right parties did not dare to contradict. They were afraid of being accused as being hostile and who would have opened a door for the big speeches of the right extremists. So for many years, more than 3 million Muslims – 1.9 million from Turkey – immigrated to Germany and no one considered how this would go on politically and where it would lead to. The only warnings were heard from the “right wing” in form of protests and repeated speeches.

Another political difficulty specifically in Germany was the fact that the “Fathers of the basic law constitution” with the Nazi times in mind wanted Germany to be a safe place for all politically persecuted people in the future. They created a very liberal right of asylum compared to many other countries in Europe. Over the years more and more people came because of the poverty in their countries and what the post war generation did not take into account was that when these people said “asylum” they had to be accepted. The abuse they could also not foresee was that even professional tout gangs would develop that robbed the poor of their last money to bring them to Germany in an adventurous way. So a new law for immigration became necessary. And only within this basic reflection arose the question: How do we integrate foreigners? What actually is integration? And where should they integrate to i.e. what is “German” as the leading culture of this country?

This was in October 2000. It took fifty-five years after the war for the political centre (CDU) to have the courage to say also to the foreigners that wanted to stay here what values applied.

“German leading culture” means for all

•  the keeping of the law

•  standing on the values of the basic law constitution

•  respect for the German culture (that originated in the classical Antiquity in Christianity and in the Enlightenment

•  and knowledge of the German language.

For more than 50 years the Germans did not dare to define themselves. Multi-culti was in reality the varnishing of a state of distress. If you do not know who you are and what you are worth, you tend to easily assimilate. But this tolerance is a lack of a point of view and not magnanimity; it is a weakness, not a strength. The more this leading culture became visible the more the differences towards other cultures were felt. Also to Islam as a religion.

Just that – and that was noticed all of a sudden – that was not an interesting meeting of cultures during 3 nice weeks of holidays in Turkey, but by now these were strongly established Islamic subcultures right in the heart of our big cities. Of course the members of the same language group moved together and the Germans moved away. That is how big Turkish quarters came to be in which – and that had to be recognized with astonishment – in no way the basic law constitution applied, but Islamic right with the oppression of women, compulsory marriages, murders for the honour of the family, etc. Quarters into which our police dared not enter just like that. All this was only realized and published in the last few years. The German society woke up amazedly rubbed its eyes. What – and that is Germany? What kind of people are they the Muslims?

To the astonishment suddenly horror and fear of “them” was added. The consequences of the terror attacks via suicidal bombers first in New York, then in Madrid and then in London, plus the attacks on Bali and Djerba – all of them with a Muslim motivation, raised a basic question concerning the essence of this religion.

They tried to appease and explain: Islam is a peaceful religion, only Islamists were dangerous, those had totally misunderstood Islam and the Doctrine of the Prophet. Besides, those were only a few.

We would have liked to believe them. But the development taught us something different. Last January the President of Iran expressed in public that the Holocaust was only a fairy tale of the west (a statement that causes criminal law consequences) and that the State of Israel had to be eliminated of the map and if you thought a Jewish State was necessary, it could be established in Germany or in Austria.

The world was shocked. So much ignorance and impertinence, so much lack of education and rudeness had only been heard from the ultra right extremists, but the head of a State to come out with such a statement was hard to believe. Angela Merkel said in Israel that Ahmadinedschad had stepped over a “red line” with that statement. The world public altogether contradicted the President and stood behind Israel and its right to exist.

Then on January 25, the Hamas won the free elections in the Palestinian Territories – a terror organization that has killed hundreds of Israelis and that holds the same thesis in front of Israel´ s front door. Of course Iran supports the Hamas.

Next shock: How is the Peace Process in the Near East to go on under such circumstances?

Then all of a sudden the caricatures mocking Mohammed and Islam appeared from Denmark. An outcry went through the Islamic world. From Indonesia to Nigeria and North Africa roaring multitudes went on the streets extremely ready for violence. But it got clearer from day to day: these are not just a few Islamists, in this case the West is being confronted with Islam – as a religion and as a culture – which is not differentiated in Islam. In the West this separation between religion and culture, between the church and the state took place with the French Revolution, so the West is repeatedly speechless at this phenomenon: Islam as an incomprehensibly different culture that evidently hates us.

On this background the political conflict with Iran concerning their own atomic programme naturally gains an explosive effect. This would be a threatening situation for the peace in the world should Ahmadinedschad let nuclear deeds follow his words and eliminate Israel with an atomic attack.

This nuclear discussion is not specific for Islam – North Korea represents the same risk – but yet it is ascribed to Islam because of the man's remarks who is now directing the atomic fight. In a long run the world peace is mostly endangered by the outcome of this dispute.

For decades there was only a loose “meeting of the cultures” between the West and Islam in the age of the multi-culti euphoria. But now the encounter has changed to a tangible reality of a menace. We have entered a new phase where Islam classifies “the West” as “Christian” – whether it suits us or not and the West classifies “Islam” as a “dangerous offender” and draws consequences right into the encounter with Muslims in this country.

Thank God this is not a “war of the cultures” in a military sense (the Iraq war had a totally different motivation!), but still there has been an awakening in the Western European culture and a questioning “WE” have to reply to this Islam. The recent growing interest in religion within our culture, for the last few years also in the Christian Faith is once more being reinforced by the encounter with Islam. What do we want? What are the attributes that form our identity?

I think a “contest of the cultures” in an intellectual sense has started and will increase in the next years; it is most likely to have such an influence on our culture to transform it for a defence and a missionary offensiveness.

The martially armed conflicts of Christianity with Islam in the Crusades and in the fight over Vienna as it was invaded in 1529 and 1683 have flamed up again and it has not yet been decided how this fight – that this time is being performed mentally and spiritually – will end. This depends on the intellectual, religious, cultural and human potentials that both sides bring into this dispute. It depends on how fast Christianity can reopen its spiritual resources and translate them into an “attack of love”. And here each one is compelled.

Getting back to the topical and summing it up the encounter is momentarily happening on four sectors:

•  in the terrorizing of our European countries

•  in the verbal attacks of the Iranian President against Israel and the election of the terrorist organization Hamas

•  in the fight over the caricatures that burst out worldwide

•  in the discussion about the Iranian nuclear programme.

Of all these 4 areas of encounter only the first point can be dealt with in detail in this edition as space is limited. Part of point 2 has already been discussed in February. The representation of the other points depends on the current international situation.

The terrorist menace

INFORMATION

After September 11, 2001 many people thought it was necessary to watch out for educated young men from Arabic Islamic countries to protect oneself from terrorists. The shocking thing about the attacks of London was the realization that the assassins were young Muslims who were born in the country, so they were English. So how could they protect themselves effectively? The riots in some big French cities last year were also initiated by Muslim youngsters born in the country, forgotten by society and shoved off into ghettos and therewith expressed their frustration and their hatred.

Elmar Theveßen, editor of the TV channel ZDF and expert for terrorism, says in an interview with the magazine “pro”: “The number of young Muslims who left Western Europe to march to the war in Iraq has increased. Some of them return prepared to become active over here.”

In October 2005 rowohlt published Theveßen's book “Terror alarm – Germany and the Islamic menace” in which he writes that even though there has not been an attack in our country yet, Germany is also in the cross wire of the terrorists. The news services speak of (far) more than 100 activists prepared for violence among us. An attack is just a question of time, not if, but when.

Theveßen points out that the training of motivated young Muslims does not take place in training centres anymore, nowadays the worldwide terror trains its people via internet. This takes place by intelligently hidden messages.

In the 70ies Germany suffered a series of terrorism. The RAF in those days (lead by Andreas Bader and Ulrike Meinhoff) yet only aimed at exponents of politics, justice, economy and finances. But not at the population. Moreover the terrorist usually survived his attack.

With the present terrorism it is different. The present terrorism deliberately chooses places were many people gather to kill as many as possible and cause a bloodshed. He also does not survive his attack, but makes himself a living bomb. The terrorist commits murder by suicide. Inevitably there are crowds in many places. That is why the assassins of Madrid and London consciously chose trains at rush hour. It is impossible for the police to protect all these “soft targets” and terrorists proceed on that. Germany is especially endangered in the time of the world championship.

What can the government do? Eventually there is an anti-terror-Folder, naturally there is the protection of important buildings (“Security of objects”) and persons. The internet is being searched through, telephone calls will be tapped and recorded. People who have become suspicious will be “shadowed” 24 hours. The problem is that the police is not allowed to grab them, even if the shadowed person's intentions are known, because an intention is not yet a crime. Our Law still has noticeable gaps. What's more, in the Federal Republic of Germany there is a typical German wrangling over competences between the authorities of the confederation and the federal states.

BACKGROUNDS

1. It is a narrow, a very narrow ridge between the legitimate rights of the citizens for protection against encroachments of the state apparatus against the individual, (our democratic constitutional system guarantees that) and the restriction of this freedom and the rights to protect this citizen from criminals: the civil liberty or the citizens' protection – that's the question the legislator is always confronted with.

How can a democratic liberal society defend itself against criminals who aim at destroying it? Like every being – when it is attacked for death or life demonstrates other patterns of behaviour to survive, so the social being of our democracy needs to change its behaviour to survive the threat it is facing. This implies that all members align in the defence and for the time being totally concentrate on the enemy. This restriction of normal life – style for the sake of survival depends upon the degree the threat is realized. The ones who need to judge on that are the secret service / police, the Minister of the Interior and the cabinet and parliament. But they are all dependent on the cooperation of the citizens: in alert observation, in passing on information, in the willingness to accept certain (!) restrictions of civil liberty and especially in the continual prayer for God's heavenly protection through his angels over our land. Christians need to learn here to pray in authority and to use their prayer in power against the “powers of darkness”.

2. It does not help to arrest the terrorists, it is much more necessary to address the target group of the young men in Muslim ghettos and distinctly improve their living conditions.

Theveßen explicitly points out to that. He also points out that the willingness for dialogue is continually sinking among young Muslims in Germany. This extends the personnel potential of terror. So the increasing endeavours of the Federal Government for promoting programmes to further the integration lead to exactly the right direction. The young men, be they in Germany, Palestine or in Iraq who plunge into death as living bombs are almost always such who do not have much or even nothing to expect of this life. Give them a hope and a perspective and they will change their minds about “this issue”.

3. Every new terrorist billow starts by breaking a valid taboo that has not been questioned up to now. The RAF broke the taboo of kidnapping and murdering high-ranking personalities – what was not heard of before. There had always been tyrannical murders, but the calculating ideological cold blood was new. To use a civil airplane full of passengers as a weapon and drill it into a skyscraper had been an unthinkable thought until September 11, 2001, a taboo. A rule of civilization broke that day. During World War II in the fight between the USA and Japan there were the feared Japanese “Kamikaze flyers” who plunged themselves with their airplanes as living bombs into American ships. This happened during the war. But for this method to be used as a permanent means within civilization, that people see themselves as bombs and that they aim at killing as many innocent civilians as possible, that again is a breaking of a taboo of civilized humanity. Considering these experiences during the last few years it is understandable that there is a fear that these people who are able to do anything should never get the opportunity to get at fissionable atomic material, at biological germs (bacteria, virus or at chemical warfare agents). That is also one of the reasons why the confederation of states is struggling with Iran and its atomic programme as Iran is known for supporting terrorist networks. Picturing terrorists without any taboos possessed ABC – weapons makes one's blood freeze in the veins.

4. Seeing that, there is a gradual increasing understanding in the West for Israel's defence reactions as they are permanently confronted with this terror over life and death, concerning individual assassins as well as whole states.

5. The Islamist terror forces the Islamic associations in Europe more and more to a clear positioning. If they keep emphasizing the verbal difference between Islamic and Islamistic and they themselves object to terror as a means of Islam, then a German society also expects of them to do actions of demarcation: demonstrations, admonishing guards, protest letters. The Germans expect of Muslims with a German passport to at least take a stand in the question: Are you first and foremost a German citizen of this country with its values or a Muslim, a disciple of the Prophet, who in the Koran has commanded the Dschihad against the unbelievers with the goal of subjecting all peoples under Islam?

6. Without a spiritual counter offensive of the Christians in this country or even on this continent, Europe will hardly be able to withstand the assault of Islam this time. It takes:

•  Christians with convictions and a winning life-style

•  Christians who won't let anyone tell them to keep silent towards Muslims

•  Combined measures of integration by the state and the church

•  Faith that God can also convert Muslims, especially the endangered young men.

PRAYER is necessary

•  Worshipping the Trinity. What a privilege to know HIM, who loves all men, whom we can entrust ourselves to as children do with their father. Muslims don't have all this. God is a distant God, whose character is not love and mercy, but omnipotence, who demands obedience and unquestioned devotion (“Islam”). Allah is severe and so are the believers.

•  Prayer for Muslims in our country, for those in our surrounding, that we might receive an imagination of love to say something kind to them, to give them something nice or even invite them over. God's blessing over them.

•  In every language of the world there are Bibles and parts of the Bible, the film about Jesus on video and DVD with Campus for Christ (P.O. Box 100 262, 35332 Gießen) and others. We should know more about Islam and make sure Muslims get to know more about Jesus.

•  Let us pray for the exposing of terrorist attacks

•  Let us pray that ways may be found for the Hamas government and the Government of Israel so the hatred between them and the fear doesn't increase immensely.

•  Let us repent before God for the offending caricatures from Denmark. True tolerance respectfully sets others free to be what they are and does not exalt itself in irony above the other one. Freedom of thought is a special good, but mocking always hurts. An apology is necessary, not for the freedom of the press, but for unrestrained abuse of this liberty. The Bible speaks of the tongue as a “little member”, but “how great a forest a little fire kindles” (James 3,5). Only by repenting before God and apologizing before men can this fire be put out. I can never “set off” the other's offence against mine.

•  Let us pray for a change of the government in Iran. This president has wished death to Israel, doing that he cursed the God of Israel. Even if he only said what many Muslims think, God deals with leaders differently than with the people.

Let us pray that another war may not develop and that a solution may be found in the discussion about a peaceful use of atomic power in Iran. Iran is evidently striving after the supremacy in the region through nuclear weapons.

•  Let us pray for the frustration and lack of perspective of many young Muslims

who are driven to all kinds of criminal activities. Let us pray for a chance for them to live.

•  Let us pray for protection in our country, especially during the World Championship from June 9 to July 9, for the millions coming, for the “soft targets” wherever.

•  Let us pray for laws adequate to the present menace, but knowingly leaving as much liberty as possible.

•  Let us pray for vigilant citizens, who are able to recognize dangers and report them and who are willing to accept restrictions where necessary.

•  Let us bring our supplication so that criminal people who no longer know taboos, never get hold of ABC - Material.

Ortwin Schweitzer

Sources: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (several); pro 1/2006; ARD Talkshow Sabine Christiansen on February 19 th , 2006; Reclams Schauspielführer.