New Book on the History of Germany’s Islamist Scene

22.07.2011

In his book “Eine Moschee in Deutschland” (A mosque in Germany), which is based on research conducted for a TV documentary on the rise of political Islam in the West, historian Stefan Meinig offers an analysis of the emergence of political Islam in Germany. Meinig traces the rise of Islamist networks in Germany back to the Nazi period and reconstructs their development through the Cold War until the 9/11 attacks in the US. One of Meinig’s claims is that the Islamist scene in Germany was systematically nurtured by intelligence services, starting with Soviet Muslims who were recruited by the Nazis to fight alongside the Germans against the Russians. According to Meinig’s research, after 1945, German officials encouraged former Soviet Muslims to support German interests and prevented them from collaborating with the Americans; they also helped founding the first Muslim association in Germany in 1953. While Meinig claims that major threads of political Islam in Germany then came together in a mosque in Munich, which also has strong connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, reviewers have criticized that these claims seem a bit far-fetched at times. Nevertheless, the book offers a comprehensive overview of the development of Islamist networks in Germany.

“The Radicalization of Diasporas and Terrorism”

Throughout history, diasporic communities have been susceptible to a variety of forms of radicalization. Indeed, even in the pre-Christian era, ethnic and religious diasporas were prone to religious and separatist radicalization. Since the end of the Cold War, ethnonationalism has continued to fuel radicalization within some diasporic communities. With respect to contemporary global terrorism, militant Islamism, and in particular, its Salafist-Jihadist variant, serves as the most important ideational source of radicalization within diasporas in Western Europe and North America. Within the global North, this radicalization has frequently pitted the political desirability of relatively liberal immigration politics against the core requirements of internal security.

© 2009 Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich

Army missed red flags surrounding Major Hasan

The army and officers at Walter Reed Hospital apparently missed warning signs of radicalization in Major Hasan, according to a military review concluded on Friday.

“It is clear that as a department, we have not done enough to adapt to the evolving domestic-internal security threat to American troops and military facilities that has emerged over the past decade. In this area, as in so many others, the department is burdened by 20th century processes and attitudes, mostly rooted in the Cold War,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the press.

The army has an idea of who missed what, and intends to take action against the individuals and hold them responsible for lapses in judgment on Hasan’s behavior.

Communication breakdowns in the FBI and Pentagon also led to a failure to act upon Major Hasan’s contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been implicated as a player in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s radicalization case as well.

CAIR: sinister Muslim stereotype fades

Muslim voices are finally being heard by and from Hollywood, and it’s in Tinseltown’s best interest to listen.

Negative stereotypes of Muslim characters date to at least the black-and-white era, but by the 1990s and the end of the Cold War, one-dimensional Muslim terrorist characters were the generic “bad guy” in countless movies and television shows. Nearly a decade later, Hollywood seems to be changing its tune toward Muslims and Arabs.

Note: Parts of this summary were taken directly from the USA Today blog post.

Comment of Bruce Anderson: We are destroying the very values which could save us in our battle against Islam

In 1683, a Turkish army reached the suburbs of Vienna. The outcome trembled in the balance until Jan Sobieski of Poland arrived with his army, threw back the Ottomans and finally freed western Europe from the threat of Muslim domination, thus completing the work begun by Charles Martel at Poitiers in 732. Or did he? Today, there are plenty of Europeans who would say: “Charles Martel, Jan Sobieski, you are needed at this hour.” There are widespread fears that Muslim immigrants, reinforced by political pressure and, ultimately, by terrorism, will succeed where Islamic armies failed and change irrevocably the character of European civilisation. I was in Vienna for a conference on post-Christian Europe and resurgent Islam. The history of all important cities is a duet for grandeur and original sin but, even by those standards, Vienna is a masterpiece of complexity and ambivalence. An imperial city which has diminished into the capital of a gem_tlich little republic, it was the nursery for so many of the glories of German culture – and for so much of the foulness of mid-20th century German history. So it was an appropriate setting for a pessimistic agenda. In contemporary Britain, there are many grounds for anxiety. Even so, we cannot rival the continental Europeans when it comes to pessimism. Our home-grown product is shallow and pallid in comparison to the length, depth and sophistication of its continental rival. This is hardly surprising. The pessimism of the European mainland is the product of shattered hopes and a failed century. The first half of the 20th century was the most disastrous epoch in history. The Channel spared us from the worst of the ravages and savageries, but those whose nations experienced them or inflicted them can be forgiven for their distrust of the human condition. After such knowledge, what forgiveness, especially as recent events have added fresh inspissation to the gloom. By 1990, it seemed as if whatever brute or blackguard made the world had decided to forgive mankind for the 20th century. The Cold War was won. George Bush celebrated a new world order. Francis Fukuyama announced the end of history. But history disagreed.

Is It War? The presidential candidates on terrorism

FOR SIX years President Bush has told Americans they face a “long war” against a global Islamic terrorist movement that, like the Cold War, will challenge a generation. A crucial if so far understated issue of the presidential campaign is whether that sweeping vision of U.S. national security will survive past January 2009. For the most part, the Republican candidates agree with Mr. Bush about the dimensions and centrality of the Islamic extremist threat. Most of the Democrats do not. From that ideological difference flow contrasting practical approaches to Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, as well as differences in the weight the next president may give to other foreign policy challenges.

Spain Hosts conference to discuss Islamophobia

An international two-day event presented by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) went underway in Cordoba to discuss Islamophobia. The goals of the event included thorough discussions on intolerance and discrimination related to unemployment, education, and housing. Delegations from 56 nations attended the conference, highlighting a sharp rise in Islamophobia since the end of the Cold War – long before the September 11, 2001 attacks.