Islamic theology at German universities: A space for doubts and questions

Germany’s Science Council has proposed anchoring Islamic theology at the German universities – rightly and fortunately so, writes Matthias Drobinski for Qantara.de. In the juncture of religion and science Islam has the chance to win back the ability for reflection and self-restriction that the faith once had.

The author argues that Islam has forgotten and abandoned its own tradition of enlightenment. It threatens to become a religion of obedience to the letter of the law, in which Islamist thinkers have an increasing say. They transport an archaic, pre-Enlightenment image of the faith – and at the same time a very modern one. Many a young woman converting to the strictest possible form of Islam in Germany today does so because she likes its clear structures, its close and warming community, because she cannot find her way in a society in which every individual has to assemble her own life; the headscarf or the chador do not tip the scales here. The conflict over an enlightened Islam is thus not simply a conflict between the past and modern society – it is a conflict over the future of religiosity.