“The Hard Core of Islamophobia Is Racist”: Interview with Heiner Bielefeldt

The Catholic theologian and philosopher Heiner Bielefeldt talks in this interview about legitimate criticism of religion on the one hand and racist Islamophobia on the other hand. Bielefeldt claims that as long Islam is in line with the German Basic Law – and theologically figures out how to do so – there should be no conflict within the German society. Criticism may be uttered in a robust, even satirical way, but the limit is reached when the discussion comes to a point of simple defamation and marginalization.

Heiner Bielefeldt is the former director of the state-funded German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin. In September 2009, he assumed the very first German chair for Human Rights and Human Rights Policy at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. On this subject he has already published, among other things, a book entitled “Muslime im säkularen Rechtsstaat – Integrationschancen durch Religionsfreiheit” (Muslims in the Secular State Governed by the Rule of Law: Opportunities for Integration through Religious Freedom).

What Works Against Forced Marriages?

BERLIN – As part of the Integration Summit, Chancellor Merkel and the Ministry of the Interior invited experts to give testimony on forced marriages to the family committee in the Bundestag. Heiner Bielefeldt, director of the German Institute for Human Rights, was one of many who argued that forced marriage is not a typically Islamic practice.