The 21st-century Counterjihad movement came late to the game. The work that we do today was anticipated more than twenty years ago by Karl Binswanger, a German scholar and expert on the Ottoman Empire. In a ground-breaking essay published in 1990, Dr. Binswanger analyzed the parallel Turkish society that was then emerging in German cities.
Andrew Bostom has commissioned a translation of this important work. The full text is below, preceded by Dr. Bostom’s introduction.
An Introduction to Karl Binswanger
By Andrew G. Bostom
Karl Binswanger was born in 1947, and studied at the University of Munich where he received a Ph.D in 1977 for the thesis, Investigations on the Status of Non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire of the 16th Century, With a New Definition of the Concept “Dhimma”, a pioneering analysis of dhimmitude under Ottoman rule. He was a research fellow at the Institut fur Geschichte und Kultur des Nahen Ostens, Munich, from 1978-1980, and subsequently analyzed Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, Syria, and within Germany itself.
Binswanger’s seminal 1977 study examined the discriminatory and degrading conditions imposed upon non-Muslim “dhimmis” — predominantly Christians — subjugated under the Ottoman Turkish sharia in the 16th century. His analysis elucidated the key role played by the creation of Muslim “satellite” colonies during the Islamization of these vanquished Christian societies:
Geographic integrity is shattered by implanting Islamic nuclei.; The sectarian reference point of Dhimmi communities is removed, and further sectarian pruning occurs according to Islamic standards. The autonomy of Dhimmis is reduced to an insubstantial thing… They are driven out the moment that Islamic nuclei appear in the area. Dhimmis’ possession of their churches is granted. These are closed or razed the as soon as a mosque is established in their neighborhood…Regulations in the social area…demoralize the individual: [they] are consciously instituted for their degradation. The social environment of the Dhimmis is characterized by fear, uncertainty and degradation.
During 1990, Binswanger published three remarkably prescient essays on the (primarily Turkish) Muslim immigrant community of Germany. Binswanger opens his 1990 essay, “Islamic Fundamentalism in the German Federal Republic: Development, Inventory, Prospects,” with this ominous illustration:
”We reject reform and modernization. We will keep fighting until a godly order is established!” This quotation is not from Cemalettin Kaplan, the “Khomeini of Cologne”, but rather from Kadir Baran, the West German national vice-chairman of the “Idealist Associations” [“Idealistenvereine”], in other words, from a ‘Grey Wolf”. [u]ntil the Autumn of 1987 the federation’s ideology was purely nationalistic, chauvinistically Turkish. This is symptomatic of a development that one can observe among Turks in the Federal Republic of Germany, too, since Khomeini’s victory over the Shah: Islamic fundamentalism is on the march…
He then demonstrates how the strident re-affirmation of Islamic identity within Germany’s Turkish immigrant population engendered, “…an increasingly intense demonization of the culture, legal and social order of the host society: the image of Germans as enemies.” Central to this disturbing process was the inculcation of validating Islamic (i.e., Koranic) motifs which promote hostility to non-Muslims. Arguably the most accomplished (and easily the most unapologetic) scholar of how the Ottoman Turks progressively imposed the sharia on non-Muslims, Binswanger became alarmed by the obvious modern parallels to that phenomenon he observed in the behaviors of their contemporary Turkish descendants in Germany.
Twenty-one years later, the author and veteran television journalist Joachim Wagner published his analysis of the parallel Sharia-based Islamic “legal” system burgeoning in Germany, entitled Richter ohne Gesetz (“Judges without Laws”). Wagner’s alarming investigation — summarized in English during a two-part Der Spiegel series — demonstrates how what he terms “Islamic shadow justice” undermines Germany’s Western constitutional legal system, ultimately abrogating even German criminal law. Joachim Wagner’s contemporary study has lead him to conclude that even the ostensibly limited application of Sharia arbitration within Germany’s Muslim community nullifies the state’s Western conception of legal justice.
The problem starts when the arbitrators force the justice system out of the picture, especially in the case of criminal offenses. At that point they undermine the state… Islamic conflict resolution in particular, as I’ve experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It’s often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family.
All of Wagner’s findings and conclusions were anticipated two decades earlier in Karl Binswanger’s remarkably prescient essay from 1990, “Islamic Fundamentalism in the German Federal Republic: Development, Inventory, Prospects,” reproduced below.
“Islamischer Fundamentalismus in der Bundesrepublik. Entwicklung-Bestandsaufnahme-Ausblick” [“Islamic Fundamentalism in the German Federal Republic: Development, Inventory, Prospects”], pp. 38-54, published in Im Namen Allahs. Islamische Gruppen und der Fundamentalismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Koln, 1990
Islamic Fundamentalism in the German Federal Republic
Development — Inventory — Prospects
by Karl Binswanger
“We reject reform and modernization. We will keep fighting until a godly order is established!”
This quotation is not from Cemalettin Kaplan, the “Khomeini of Cologne”, but rather from Kadir Baran, the West German national vice-chairman of the “Idealist Associations” [“Idealistenvereine”], in other words, from a “Grey Wolf”. This is symptomatic of a development that one can observe among Turks in the Federal Republic of Germany too since Khomeini’s victory over the Shah: Islamic fundamentalism is on the march — even among those who were once called “Fascists”.
Yet this phenomenon has not come about by chance. Starting in the 1970’s it was preceded by a trend toward self-organization of the Turkish migrant workers that had little to do with Islamic fundamentalism. After Khomeini’s victory this trend intensified, and the autonomous organizations discovered Islam as their true ideology. What is sociologically remarkable here is the fact that the penchant for self-organization increases with the duration of residence in the Federal Republic.
Ever since the beginning of the workers’ migration into the Federal Republic, Turks have joined local associations here, which at first served to promote social life. At the street level they appeared as coffee houses in which board games (such as Tavla) and cards were played, and in addition most of them had a modest library at their disposal. Only a few of these associations ran a prayer room.
Since the early 1970’s a threefold metamorphosis of these recreational clubs can be observed:
- a substantial reorientation turning them into associations with a religious emphasis and an increase in mosque construction,
- their consolidation in umbrella groups, and
- the politicization of the latter (not least importantly as a repercussion of conditions in Turkey resembling civil war).
Essentially these are the points that make up fundamentalism of the Turks in Germany. This development accelerated and intensified in the 1980’s: an increase in the number of umbrella groups joined by the hitherto exclusively local associations — thus a consolidation process (cf. the Chronology in Table 1), also in the way in which Islam increased in importance as a factor in the discovery and preservation of their identity. Several criteria indicate this:
- the rapidly increasing number of purely religious member-associations with a simultaneous dwindling of Nationalist member-groups,
- an ideological pivoting of the segment that split off from the Idealists and now preaches ideas that are more Islamic than Nationalist,
- the rapid construction at the federal level [staatlich] of the DITIB [acronym for the Turkish-Islamic Union of Institute for Religion], which “bought up” associations that previously had not yet belonged to one of the autonomous umbrella groups,
- the broadening of the spectrum of the activities of the associations to areas traditionally dealt with by social services for foreigners,
- radicalization, which can be proved at the organizational level for instance by the founding of the Union [the DITIB in 1984?] by Cemalettin Kaplan (“Khomeini of Cologne”), and the qualitative change from “everyday Islam” to letter-of-the-law fundamentalism,
- the increasing politicization of the work of these associations, which no longer has anything to do with the slogan “equality of religion and politics” but rather extends to associations presenting their own party tickets for German foreigners’ commissions, and even to public recommendations to cast votes for a party in the homeland, and thus is a clear acknowledgment of its affinity to a specific political party in Turkey,
- an increasingly intense demonization of the culture, legal and social order of the host society: the image of Germans as enemies.
Table I: Chronology of the founding of the most important associations
|1956:||Islamic Center in Geneva, Moslem Brotherhood (MB)|
|09/15/1973:||Union of Islamic Cultural Centers (IKZ), Cologne|
|11/03/1973:||Islamic Center in Munich / Islamic Community in Southern Germany (Moslem Brotherhood, MB)|
|11/22/1976:||AMGT [Union of the National Worldview in Europe] Cologne (under the code name “Turkish Union in Europe”, but already known within the Union as AMGT)|
|1978:||Islamic Federation / IZ Berlin (MB/AMGT)|
|06/18/1978:||Idealists (ADÜTDF), Frankfurt|
|06/29/1978:||Islamic Center in Aachen (MB)|
|09/21/1978:||Islamic Center in Cologne (MB)|
|08/23/1980:||Federation of Islamic Associations and Communities in the Federal State of Nordrhein-Westfalen (MB/AMGT)|
|06/20/1982:||Federation of Islamic Associations in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg (MB/AMGT)|
|12/23/1982:||Federation of Islamic Unions [sic, Vereinigungen] and Communities in Hessen (MB/AMGT)|
|12/05/1982:||Federation of Islamic Centers in Germany (MB), Cologne|
|12/19/1982:||Renaming of the AMGT camouflage organization “Turkish Union in Europe” as “Islamic Union in Europe”|
|04/05/1984:||Federation of Islamic Associations and Communities in the Federal State of Bavaria (MB/AMGT)|
|Kaplan splits off from the AMGT:|
|06/09/1984:||Islamic Union in Cologne (Kaplan)|
|11/25/1984:||Federation of Islamic Associations and Communities, Cologne (Kaplan)|
|05/20/1985:||Official founding of the AMGT under that name|
|October 1987:||The “Çelebi faction”, TIKDB, splits off from the “Idealists” (ADÜTDF), with a heavy emphasis on Islamic ideological themes.|
Who’s who in this scene?
The most important umbrella groups in alphabetical order by acronym (cf. also the overview on Table II):
ADÜTDF: The federation of the “Idealists” (popularly known as “Gray Wolves”) was founded on June 18, 1978, in Frankfurt. It was the European affiliate of the youth organization (“Idealists”) of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) of Alparslan Türkeş, or today of its successor party the MÇP. Former MHP party members hold key positions in the ADÜTDF, and they openly swear allegiance to Türkeş now as always as their “supreme leader” (başbuğ).
Until the Autumn of 1987 the federation’s ideology was purely nationalistic, chauvinistically Turkish. As a consequence of the loss of members to the religious associations over the course of the 1980’s and the splitting off of the “Çelebi wing” in 1987 (see TIKDB below), the ADÜTDF now started writing Islamic-fundamentalist slogans on its banner, as the introductory quotation demonstrates.
AMGT: The “National View Organization in Europe” was founded by Necmettin Erbakan’s National Welfare Party (MSP) as an offshoot of the youth organization “Akincilar” (roughly: “Blitzkrieg warriors”). At its foundation (November 22, 1976 in Cologne) the association called itself, according to its records, the “Turkish Union in Europe” and renamed itself on December 19, 1982, “Islamic Union in Europe”. In reports about the union in the daily newspaper Milli Gazete, however, and on its emblem the union bore the name of AMGT from 1977 on, also commonly in the abbreviated form, “Milli Görüş” (“National Worldview”). This is precisely the title of the programmatic book by Erbakan.
Not until May 20, 1985, did the Union register under its real name with the District Court in Cologne. (Since the defenders of the constitution adhered strictly to the letter of the union records, they did not even list the AMGT before that date.)
The important thing is that the Union was founded by a prominent Moslem brother, Yusuf Zeyn el-Abini, M.D., a native Iraqi, who at the same time was president of the Islamic Center in Cologne, and thus a member of the Moslem Brotherhood (cf. the article “Fundamentalisten-Filz”).
In this respect it is not surprising that the ideology of the AMGT is the same as that of the Moslem Brotherhood: Only a Qur’anic form of government is legitimate, Turkey too should become an Islamic republic.
DITIB: The “Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion” is the European affiliate of the national board [Präsidiums] for religious affairs in Ankara, and thus an institution of the Turkish Republic. It was created in 1984 in order to steal some of the thunder from the autonomous groups that were striving for a re-Islamization of Turkey.
The ideology of the DITIB is just as fundamentalist as that of the other associations — with one exception: As an institution of the Republic of Turkey, it of course cannot demand the abolition of the republican form of government.
IKZ: The Union of Islamic Cultural Centers, started in 1973 by ABIDIN (cf. above, AMGT), is a special case. It is not backed by any party but rather by the dervish order of the Süleymanli, which has members positioned in various parties in Turkey. The IKZ does not represent orthodox Sunni High Islam, but rather the mystical secret doctrine of the Süleymanli, who simply regard Muslims who do not belong to the order as unbelievers.
Table II: Who’s Who (as of December 1988)
|Abbrev||Group name||Address||Ideology||Parent group or cross-reference|
|ADÜTDF||Avrupa Demokratik Ülkücü Dernekleri Federasyonu, (Türk-Federasyon for short), Federation of Turkish-Democratic Idealist Associations in Europe||Türk-Federasyon, Münchener Str. 21, 6000 Frankfurt 1, 0 69/23 60 43||nationalist and Islamic||Türkes MÇP, (see text)|
|Avrupa Milli Görüs Teskilatlari (Milli Görüs for short), Union of the National Worldview in Europe||AMGT, Merheimer Str. 229, 5000 Köln 60, 02 21/72 83 60||totally Islamic (“no separation between state and religion”)||Erbakan’s RP (cf. text), strong affinity to the Moslem Brotherhood in the Federal Republic of Germany|
|DITIB||Diyanet Isleri Türk-Islam Birligi, Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion||DITIB, Venloerstr. 160, 5000 Köln 30, 02 21/51 38 49||orthodox Sunni High Islam — but with no claim to theocracy||Board for Religious Affairs, Ankara (DIYANET, cf. text)|
|IKZ||Avrupa Islam Kültür Merkezieri Birligi, Union of Islamic Cultural Centers in Europe||Verband der Islamischen Kulturzentren, Vogelsanger Str. 290, 5000 Cologne 30, 02 21/54 20 98||heterodox mystic dervish order with arcane doctrine; wants theocracy in Turkey||Order of the Süleymanli in Turkey|
|(Kaplan)||“Islamic Union of Cologne (and vicinity)”, “Union of Islamic Associations and Communities”, etc.||(the most recent:), Islamische Union, Köln e. V., Neusser Str. 95, 5000 Köln 1, 02 21/73 27 22||extreme fundamentalist, seeks an Islamic revolution in Turkey after the Iranian example||AMGT, Iran, to some extent MB|
|TIKDB||Türk-Islam Dernekleri Birligi (Türk-Islam Birligi for short), Union of Turkish-Islamic Associations||Türk-Islam Birligi, Mainzer Landstr. 94, 6000 Frankfurt 1, 0 69/74 82 72||split off from the ADÜTDF in 1987; increasingly passes itself off as Islamic||parts of Özal’s ruling party ANAP|
Kaplan: Cemalettin Kaplan, the “Khomeini of Cologne”, was originally from the governmental administration for religion in Turkey — like a lot of AMGT officials, incidentally. After the coup on September 12, 1980, he settled in the German Federal Republic (like today’s AMGT officials), was for a time in the AMGT on the “Board for Missions and [Sharia?] Law [Rechtsleitung]”, until he founded his own association (which continuously changes its name). It is unclear whether Kaplan’s association is a splinter group from or just a radical wing of the AMGT. Throughout Europe the association is organized exactly according to the same scheme as the AMGT. Kaplan promotes an Islamic revolution in Turkey modeled after Iran’s, sends audio and video cassettes back home as Khomeini formerly did, calling for the downfall of the regime. From time to time Radio Teheran grants him a program of his own that is broadcast in Turkey. In any event, the “split” by the radical Kaplan has one advantage: Since he has been around, the guardians of the Constitution hardly pay any attention to the AMGT, which is now tame in comparison.
TIKDB: In October 1987, under the former president of the ADÜTDF (see above), Serdar Musa Çelebi, about half of the local associations of the ADÜTDF split off and formed the TIKDB. The former leader of the pack of the “Gray Wolves” had recognized in time that Turkish nationalism is out, and since then he has vocally promoted Islam as a constitutive element of Turkish identity [Türkentum]. At the congress where it was officially founded in Koblenz on May 21, 1988, he was honored in a surprising way: seven representatives from Özal’s ruling party, the ANAP, had traveled specifically for the event, among them Özal’s chief advisor Mustafa Taşar.
A revealing indicator of the increasing attractiveness of an Islamist [= fundamentalist Islamic] ideology is the development of the number of registered members (see Table III):
Table III: Potential spread of Turkish umbrella groups in the German Federal Republic
(Registered members of the central organizations in thousands)
DITIB: (Instead of number of members, only the number of local branches is available)
Founded 1984, in 1987 — 520 local branches; in 1988 — 640 local branches
[captions on chart, from the top down]
[at solid line]: Approximate value, all religious associations + DITIB
[at dotted line]: (by AMGT’s own reports)
Total number of Fundamentalists
(for purposes of comparison: Nationalists ADÜTDF)
Between 1981 and 1987 the total number of members in associations with a strictly religious orientation rose from 15,000 (AMGT + IKZ) to 44,000 (AMGT + IKZ + KAPLAN + TIKDB; we do not take into account here AMGT’s own claim to over 60,000 members).
The development of the governmental DITIB cannot be reckoned in numbers of members, because its statutes provide only for legal persons (i.e. specific local associations); yet the increase alone in the number of local associations that have joined the DITIB, or were founded by it, is impressive: the central branch in Cologne was not founded until July 1984; in late 1988 the DITIB president Osman Nuri Gürsoy declared in the newspaper Türkiye Gazetesi (December 8, 1988) that 640 local associations belonged to the DITIB in the Federal Republic of Germany alone. That is approximately the same as the number of local associations of the autonomous unions.
The concern here is with orders of magnitude and illustrating a development: If the number of certified members in the autonomous umbrella groups (44,000) is added to the same number that are supposedly in the DITIB, then 88,000 Turks in the Federal Republic of Germany are registered members of a religious association (as of the end of 1988) as opposed to merely 15,000 in the year 1981. Consequently in 1988 every seventh adult male Turkish worker in the Federal Republic of Germany was organized in a religious association; in 1981 it was only one out of every 43.
Activities of the Associations
This rapid growth has little to do with increased piety; the associations offer practical help in several departments of life, in competition with German offers — in keeping, moreover, with the reasoning that assimilation is to be prevented thereby. The most important services, which all the unions listed here have provided only for a few years now, are:
- special kindergartens (with boys and girls separate and no contact with German children);
- special youth organizations with group lessons, campgrounds and ideological training;
- special sports leagues, whereby it is striking that martial arts are promoted almost exclusively (kung fu, Tae-kwon-do, boxing) and swimming is declared a “military exercise” (crossing rivers);
- special student unions, in which only members are accepted, or through which new members are supposed to be gained;
- women’s leagues and self-help groups as an alternative to German initiatives such as “Frauen helfen Frauen” [“Women Helping Women”]: the task of these women’s branches is instruction in Islamic family ethics, which ultimately also propagates and strengthens the priority of the patriarchy. Another purpose of the women’s groups is explicitly mission work among German women.
- Legal and social counseling. The main area of this service for years now has been counsel and legal support in attempts to establish Islamic traditions contrary to German regulations currently in force. Examples of this are: recognition of passport photos of women in headscarves, the exemption of girls from school sports, and in individual cases also the question of legal recognition for a wife who has been married only in front of an imam as a second wife who can also draw a survivor’s pension (this has been granted in a few cases by German courts).
- Special offices of the union for yearly payroll tax audits, all sorts of applications and translations by certified interpreters who are members of the union. Fees are not charged here.
- Vocational-technical courses: besides instruction in craftsmen’s trades (often in collaboration with the local labor office or chamber of commerce — the forerunner in this is the DITIB) the AMGT introduced a new course in December 1988: training for journalists and photographers; the course lasts three months.
- The AMGT plans its own labor union for Muslim Turks in the Federal Republic of Germany; it was supposedly founded as an offshoot of the Turkish union Hak-Iş, the personnel of which are closely connected with Erbakan’s Welfare Party (RP).
- Political participation: in elections to foreigners’ boards in the local communities, the umbrella groups set up their own lists; in recent years most of these candidates successfully won seats on those governing bodies, earning more votes than Turks who were on a mixed list (e.g. lists of the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund [German League of Labor Unions]).
- Business: At least the top-ranking officials of the umbrella groups (with the exception of the DITIB) run firms; the spectrum ranges from import-export via grocery chains and video production to banks and insurance agencies. (Cf. the essay “Ökonomische Basis”.)
In this way a confessionally [religiously] defined, isolated economic and social system develops within German society — a “parallel society”.
With regard to the ideology of these unions, we intend to discuss only two areas, namely their attitude toward Turkey and their attitude toward German society; the first because of its relevance to foreign policy concerns — a few unions from time to time encumber relations between the two countries — and the second because of its relevance to domestic and social policy; integration/assimilation is rejected all the more vehemently, the cruder the image drawn of Germans as the enemy.
Attitude toward Turkey
By its very nature as a state organization of secularized Turkey, the DITIB cannot call for a theocratic government in that republic. The other unions demand the Islamization of Turkey, with varying but increasing vehemence (cf. the box “Statements about Turkey”).
[shaded box:] Statements about Turkey
Turkey should become an Islamic republic:
For the ADÜTDF:
“As Turkish-Islamic idealists we guide our lives by the Qur’an, the tradition of the Prophet, the consensus of the scholars, and arguments from analogy. We reject reform and the modernization of the faith. We will continue to fight until a godly order is established.”
For the IKZ:
“It is a fight against disbelief, a battle for God. For the good of Suleymanism everything is permissible. Do not hesitate to lie and slander if the situation requires it. We are in a war, and in war everything is permissible.”
“Sovereignty is found solely and exclusively with God.”
For the AMGT:
“The constitution of the Muslims is the exalted Qur’an. It acquired the force of law in the seventh century. This constitution was established by Allah. It is valid until the Last Day. All other constitutions are a rebellion against God and a form of disbelief.”
Slogans at an AMGT demonstration:
- “Down with all political systems outside of Islam!”
- “An Islamic Turkey will be founded.”
- “Today Iran, tomorrow Turkey.”
- “Power belongs to Allah alone, to the Prophet and to believers.”
- “We will crush the skull of anyone who opposes Sharia law.”
Çelebi for TIKDB:
“The Turkish national concept is one hundred percent national; its source is Islam; Islam defines its borders. We want to be servants of Allah.” [end of shaded box]
Attitude toward the host society
In this regard all the unions exhibit an astounding congruence in their ideology, which ultimately is derived from the Qur’an. The centerpiece of its preaching about the distance to be maintained from the “unbelievers” consists of three verses from the Qur’an, variations on which appear in publications, addresses and on the banners of all unions, either literally or in paraphrases and allusions. The significant thing is that in all the unions (including the DITIB) these verses are always central to the discussion about models of integration.
Sura 5, verse 51 of the Qur’an prescribes :
“You believers! Do not take Jews and Christians as friends. They are friends with each other (but not with you). When one of you joins them, he belongs to them (and no longer to the community of believers).”
“To join them” is interpreted today, however, as external adaptation to the European way of life (including New Year’s celebrations) and any form of integration/assimilation (cf. the box “Statements about the host society”).
Besides this purely normative prohibition of amicable dealings with “unbelievers”, two other Qur’an verses are frequently cited, which give a reason for keeping one’s distance (and therefore in the case of Turkish migrant workers: self-isolation):
[shaded box:] Statements about the host society
For the ADÜTDF:
“As Turks we want to win further concessions to our way of life, dignity and identity. This is what we mean by ‘integration’.”
For the AMGT:
“Europeans are atheists and idolaters, usurers, capitalists, socialists, Zionists, Communists and imperialists, always horny and drunk, adulterous and materialistic. They have sold themselves to the devil.
“They are agents and spies. They can appear as doctors, nurses, wise teachers or trade unionists, but they are all enemies of Islam.”
For DITIB, from the Handbook for Guest Workers:
“As soon as someone is far from his family, alone in a foreign land and has no one who could help him, and has to stay in the hospital or has landed in jail, then the missionaries see this as their opportunity.
“The missionaries strive to win the hearts of people in their immediate surroundings; that is why they give them presents and show them hospitality, e.g. they provide them with all sorts of good food, sweets and cake… They help the children of working families with their homework, they provide housing for the homeless, they give them advice when they go shopping and send flowers to the sick, give children’s clothing to newborns, and many other things. In that way they try to mislead non-Christian workers into Christianity. The Christian world from time immemorial has been the relentless persecutor of Islam.”
For the IKZ:
- “We are a noble and aristocratic nation that has carried the flags of Islam for a thousand years. Thank God we are Muslims. That is why we will not assimilate in Germany — as the Poles once did.”
- “Anyone who behaves like another nation, adopts its customs and celebrates its holidays, does not belong to this nation.”
- “Every believer must know that the religions of other nations are empty and false and their members are unbelievers. Islam is the only right-believing religion.” [end of shaded box]
- “Jews and Christians will not be happy with you as long as you do not follow their profession of faith” (Sura 2, verse 120).
- “You believers! Do not take as your confidants and intimate friends people who are outside your community. They never tire of causing disorder among you, and would like affliction to befall you. Their own statements make their hatred plain enough, but the hatred and wickedness that they secretly harbor within them are much worse” (Sura 3, verse 118).
Whereas the first verse supposes missionary intentions as a matter of principle, the second postulates a general hatred of Christians for the Muslims. However, since the Qur’an is for Muslims unquestionably God’s word, it is understandable that they look at their German-Christian surroundings through the lens of the Qur’an and keep their distance from their host society. The Qur’anic prohibition against friendly dealings with non-Muslims, the warning against their principled missionary intentions and their wickedness becomes in the ideology of the Turkish-Islamic unions in the Federal Republic of Germany nothing short of a conspiracy theory that is spread even by the governmental DITIB — which in many German places is thought to be “moderate”. Thus the corresponding quotations in the box “Statements about the host society” cannot be dismissed as extreme positions of a few splinter groups: The governmental DITIB traffics in them too, and they are based on the Qur’an.
Summary and prospect
A clearly hostile image of German society is developing and is being preached to more and more Turkish migrant workers. Simultaneously, however, all the umbrella groups reinforce the desire to stay permanently in the Federal Republic of Germany; this then is possible only if the resident Turkish populace walls itself off from the Germans to a great extent — otherwise it would run into a conflict of faith. The more they reduce their contact with the Germans, the more the Turks have to set up their own system — this explains the ever wider spectrum of union activities, whose declared goal is the “preservation of identity”. Through the spread of fundamentalism the recreational clubs of the past have moved into the self-isolation of an all-encompassing “parallel society”. It is a long way from the recreational clubs of the former bachelors, via the plain mosque unions when they began to bring a wife and a child later, to a closed society after politics took them under its care and the “Khomeini factor” reminded them that Islam is more than quiet prayer in your little room: namely an all-encompassing rule of life willed by God that forbids any adaptation to, any friendly or trusting relations with “infidels” on an equal footing. The expression of this change of consciousness (or new self-awareness) and of this heightened sense of worth is their self-isolation today, which for the religiously reawakened is a more authentic home than secularist Turkey.
Yet this is only a transitional stage, admittedly a necessary one, in order to reach the final goal of Islamic fundamentalism: finally to create for oneself a homeland in which one can accomplish Allah’s will.
This is evident in the final examination of a four-year AMGT course on the Qur’an and the “right” answer to it:
“Q. What day in the future would be in your opinion the holiest day?”
“A: Our happiest day would be the day on which the Islamic State is founded and the Muslims get their Caliph again.”
In the Turkish curriculum for religious instruction such lessons are lacking; Turkish fundamentalism needs exile in Germany.
|1.||NewspaperTürkiye Gazetesi, June 2, 1988.|
|2.||On this dynamic and its influence on assimilationcf. Karl Binswanger and Felhi Sipahioglu,Türkisch-islamische Vereine als Faktor deutsch-türkischer Koexistenz (Benediktbeuern: Riess, 1988), which also includes extensive details about the history, organizational structure, ideology and financing of the associations.|
|3.||Daily newspaperTercüman, May 23, 1988.|
|4.||In comparison to this, the Nationalists of the ADÜTDF with 5,000 members (which nevertheless meanwhile also claim to be fundamentalists) also become a negligible quantity, like the Turkish leftist-extremist scene as a whole, which between 1986 and 1987 shrank from 15,260 members to 10,950. The erosion continues;cf. Bundesministerium des Innern [Federal Ministry of Domestic Affairs], editor,Verfassungschutzbericht 87 (Bonn, 1988), 148.|
|5.||Additional quotations and references in Binswanger and Sipahioglu,Vereine, passim.|
|6.||See note 5.|
|7.||(Anonymous),“Was lernt man…” [“What is learned in a Qur’an school? Themes of a tendentious, extreme-Islamic curriculum,”] in Hans-Jürgen Brandt and Claus-Peter Haase, eds.,Begegnung mit Türken, Begegnung mit dem Islam [Encounter with Turks; Encounter with Islam], vol. IV/84 (Hamburg: EBV Rissen, 1984), 83-102, citation on p. 101, question 29.|