10 years after the attacks of 9/11, süddeutsche online interviewed Lamya Kaddor, a scholar of Islamic studies of Syrian origins and actively involved in introducing Islamic education in German public schools. Kaddor talked about her fear of Al Qaida, Islamophobia, and what Muslims could contribute to improve inter-faith dialogue. In light of the many questions about Islam, Al Qaida, and terrorism that currently dominate many of her conversations, Kaddor stresses that Islam itself does not justify the acts of religious terrorists and that she, as a Muslim, is as afraid of terrorist acts as anyone else. Kaddor also notes that the events of 9/11 have significantly contributed to feelings of Islamophobia, which now reaches all levels of German (and European) society. It is this general sense of prejudice against Muslims that allows people such as Thilo Sarrazin (with his controversial book published in the fall of 2010 (as reported)) to construct Muslims more generally as scapegoats for current social circumstances. She then criticizes that, since 9/11, many Muslims are simply reduced to their religion and not recognised for who they actually are. According to Kaddor, it is now important to address these issues and fears and improve inter-faith interaction and dialogue. To achieve this, it is vital for Muslims to openly condemn acts of terror in their communities, as remaining silent can be misunderstood.
6 April 2011
In a piece for Qantara, Lamya Kaddor, scholar of Islamic studies in Germany, vividly explains why the Islamic veil in her opinion is no longer required in contemporary Germany and how it has become obsolete over time. She writes that the original purpose mentioned in the Quran (33:59), i.e. that the veil protects women from male desire, is no longer relevant today. Instead, wearing a headscarf may only expose the woman to harm in the form of discrimination. A well-functioning legal system is the modern day equivalent of social rules on protection of the individual.
In the course of her discussion, Kaddor gives a variety of evidence why the headscarf no longer serves its original purpose, ranging from the fact that the sight of hair no longer is a sexual stimulous per se and that a moral life does not depend on head covering to regretting the often very male perspective of Quran exegesis.
Liberal German Muslims have announced their plans to found a new association to voice the concerns of those who do not feel represented by the current largely conservative associations. Lamya Kaddor, a feminist and strong critic of Islam, but a “liberal believing Muslim” herself, is one of the spokespersons of the initiative, which aims to incorporate Muslims, who see themselves based in Germany and represent a contemporary Islam. Independence from Islamic countries will be as important as a historical and enlightened interpretation of the Quran.
Lamya Kaddor, a prominent teacher of Islamic education, has published a book on her interpretation of a contemporary German Islam. The book with the title Muslimisch — Weiblich — Deutsch! (Muslim, Female, German!), subtitled “My path to a contemporary Islam”, comes at a time of strong debate in Germany on whether and how to criticise Islam.
By blending personal recollections, theological reflections, and political pleas, she formulates her vision of an Islam that befits modern German society. She investigates why most German Muslims have not yet arrived at such a modern and enlightened understanding of their religion and lists the obstacles she feels are preventing them from doing so.
German-language Islam instruction for Muslim schoolchildren helps with integration and the development of language skills. Now the culture ministers of Germany’s states want to introduce the subject for all students. Lamya Kaddor was out sick for two weeks, but when she returned, the boys and girls in her class greeted the teacher as if she had been gone a year. “Ms. Kaddor, you’re back!” Umut, Ebru, Sibel and G_l_in all shouted in unison. “Look, Ms. Kaddor, I was in the tanning booth and I have a sunburn on my nose,” “Ms. Kaddor, please come here, Mario and Onur …” Kaddor, 29, could pass as the older sister of the girls who place their arms around her outside during break. Few teachers at the Gl_ckauf Public School in the western German city of Dinslaken-Lohberg near Essen are so popular among students, even among boys going through puberty, with their baseball caps pulled deep down over their faces. “It’s because she’s one of us,” a boy named H_seyin explains proudly. Beate Lakotta