“Islam humiliates women”: Interview with Necla Kelek

The Turkish-German sociologist Necla Kelek (52) is one of the most renowned critics of Islam in Germany. Her new book warns of playing Islam down (“Himmelsreise. Mein Streit mit den Wächtern des Islam” – Journey to heaven: My dispute with the guards of Islam”).

In this interview, she explains her view of German society and its strong sense of responsibility after World War II. This otherwise very important trait of not criticising other cultures has led to a reluctancy to criticise Islam, even when it appears in a discriminatory form. According to Kelek, who is very critical of Islamic culture, no other culture discriminates against women the way Islam does, and this can be derived from the Quran. She calls for a historic interpretation of the Quran, absolute equality of men and women and for an education of imams at state universities rather than religious institutions.

“Islam humiliates women”: Interview with Necla Kelek

The Turkish-German sociologist Necla Kelek (52) is one of the most renowned critics of Islam in Germany. Her new book warns of playing Islam down (“Himmelsreise. Mein Streit mit den Wächtern des Islam” – Journey to heaven: My dispute with the guards of Islam”).

In this interview, she explains her view of German society and its strong sense of responsibility after World War II. This otherwise very important trait of not criticizing other cultures has led to a reluctance to criticize Islam, even when it appears in a discriminatory form. According to Kelek, who is very critical of Islamic culture, no other culture discriminates against women the way Islam does, and this can be derived from the Quran. She calls for a historic interpretation of the Quran, absolute equality of men and women and for an education of imams at state universities rather than religious institutions.

Integration of Muslim citizens in Germany: a question of respect

A greater understanding of Islam and of Islamic culture on the part of the majority society is the key to successful integration of Muslim fellow citizens in Germany, explains Stephan J. Kramer, Secretary General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, at Qantara.de. Integration must be guided by the respect for one another and the respect for democracy.

Inaugural Spanish Muslim Fair to be held in Lavapies (Madrid)

From the 19th to the 21st of February, the first Spanish Muslim Fair will be celebrated in Lavapies, a neighborhood in Madrid. This event is promoted by the Muslim federation (FEME), the CISCOVA (Federation of Muslim Associations in Valencia) and the Halal Institute (an organization within the Muslim association Junta Islámica).The aim of the event is to increase the visibility of Muslims and Islamic culture in Spain. There are a lot of activities scheduled, including conferences, musical performances and food sampling. The fair will include 32 booths representing different Islamic entities and other associations and institutions that work in this field.

Al-Wasatiya Center soon to open in Moscow

An agreement to base a representative office of the International al-Wasatiya Center in Moscow to proliferate ideas of moderation in Islam was signed in Kuwait during the 5th session of the “Russia and the Islamic World” Strategic Vision Group.

The International al-Wasatiya Center was founded in Kuwait several years ago and is currently run by Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s apprentice Shaykh Isam Bashir. It has offices in a number of countries around the globe, including USA and Great Britain.

The agreement to open its branch office in Russia was previously reached in July 2009 during a meeting between the Islamic Culture, Science and Education Foundation (Russia) and First Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs and Wakfs Kuwait Adel al-Falyah (Kuwait).

Swastika at the Islamic Centre

Two minors are under investigation for the swastika that appeared December 3rd on the walls of the Centre for Islamic culture in Lendinara (Rovigo).

The act seems to be the consequence of a broil between Italian and Moroccan boys.
According to the security forces, the two investigated aren’t be part of a subversive group. The act should be defined, instead, as a “mere prank”.

Wilders visit to US college cut short

A question and answer session by Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders at a college in the United States was cut short on Tuesday after “the tone of the event began to turn ‘nasty’ and some of the several hundred students ‘began jeering’”.

Wilders visited Temple University in Philadelphia in order to screen his movie Fitna. Associated Press reports that Wilders’ “remarks were met by a mixture of applause and boos, and occasionally gasps — particularly when he stated that ‘our Western culture is far better than the Islamic culture and we should defend it.’” Wilders’ visit was supported by a student group identified as Temple University Purpose.

Controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders arrives in the UK

The far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders arrived in London after an immigration tribunal ruling overturned a ban on his visiting Britain. The Home Office said it was disappointed after the tribunal rejected its claim that his presence could “inflame community tensions and lead to interfaith violence”.

Geert Wilders expanded on his controversial views on Islam and described the decision to allow him into the country as a “victory for the freedom of speech”. At a press conference moved inside the Houses of Parliament because of fears for Wilders’s safety, the Freedom party leader said that Islamic culture was inferior to western cultures. He said he had “nothing against” Muslims, but had a problem with the “Islamification of our societies”. “I have a problem with the Islamic ideology, the Islamic culture, because I feel that the more Islam that we get in our societies the less freedom that we get.”

Wilders will, however, not be screening his film Fitna, which criticises the Quran as a “fascist book”, on this trip. The film had been intended to be shown at the House of Lords in February. He said he still intended to screen the film in the House of Lords in the future.

Karić: “Germany needs a domestic Islamic culture”

Enes Karić is the fifth Allianz guest professor for Islamic and Jewish Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich during the 2008-09 winter semester. The Bosnian professor comes from a culture in which Muslims, Jews and Christians traditionally live together as good neighbors.

Despite the experiences from the Balkan conflict, the peaceful interaction of different religions is part of the Koranic Studies professor’s everyday life. For that reason, Enes Karić is strongly promoting a domestic Islamic culture in Germany. As an optimist, researcher and former politician, he sees religious and cultural diversity primarily as a great enrichment from which all can benefit.

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A tale of tolerance for German Muslims

To Indonesian eyes, there does not seem to be anything special about the photos of soaring minarets and people praying in mosques currently on display in an auditorium in Paramadina University in South Jakarta. Indeed, they seem an everyday thing, much like what you’d see on any ordinary Friday or Islamic holiday. But the 60-odd shots of mosques and Islamic activities in a number of German cities taken by Stuttgart-based photographer Wilfried Dechau have a rather deeper story to tell.

Dechau’s work in the exhibition titled “Mosques in Germany” tries to convey a narrative of minorities, human rights, tolerance and conflict. “I embarked on this project without blinkers and without prejudice, motivated by an almost naive curiosity,” Dechau said of his work. Through his mostly architectural approach, the seasoned photographer, who has twice won the German Photo Book Award, captured images from Pforzheim, Penzberg, Manheim, Wolfsburg, Aachen, Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Stuttgart – all cities with large Muslim populations – during his two-month tour of the country. “All the positive experiences and encounters made my work into an affair of the heart,” he said. “This does not mean that I am about to become a Muslim. But we must talk to each other. That much I learned during those eight weeks.”

It is always intriguing to talk about minorities, a category that the some 3.5 million Muslims in Germany still fall into, despite forming the nation’s second largest religious group after Christians – especially given the Western country has a long history of Islamic culture that began from diplomatic ties dating back to Charlemagne and Caliph Harun al-Rashid in the 8th century. Until the 18th century, Islamic culture was for Europeans something of an exotic penchant from the Orient, documented in various forms of arts, from Karl May’s tales of the Ottoman Empire to a couple of architectural remnants of secular buildings constructed in the style of mosques, according to German magazine Der Spiegel. It was only recently that Germany had to create a different kind of understanding of the “exotic” culture because the Turkish and Kurdistan migrants who brought Islam closer to Germans back in the 1960s have planted deep roots in the country, while still holding on to their religious beliefs.

Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/04/11/a-tale-tolerance-german-muslims.html