Will Europe ever become fully Muslim?
"The Islam Debate: Where Does Tolerance End?", "Excluding Islam, Integrating Muslims - Can That Work?", "Beethoven or Burqa". These are three more or less creative headlines under which a topic that was perceived as hot has recently been discussed in German talk shows.
"The power of the mosque", "Holy War in Europe" and of course: "Germany is abolishing itself" are three book titles that deal with the same topic. The total number of publications is in the thousands. Naturally, it is difficult to keep coming up with new headlines.
If you look honestly, all of these programs, books, essays, blogs and speeches fit under a single heading: "The Muslim Question". The topic has grown into a German and Western obsession at the beginning of the 21st century.
The basic statements of all these publications are straightforward and can be summarized very quickly: Muslim immigration to Germany and Europe threatens security and prosperity. Muslims do not fit into our state and our society. They take advantage of our social systems. They bring along a system of values that contradict ours and therefore form "parallel societies". They multiply quickly because the tasks of the Muslim woman are limited to giving birth. Islam is essential and has been linked to violence from the start. "And when you think all of this through to the end," then it becomes clear what the goal of this Muslim behavior is: the establishment of a "worldwide caliphate".
In the wake of the right-wing populists
Of course, the proponents of these theses have instructions for action ready. When asked "What to do?" do they have short, clear answers: Muslim immigration to Europe and Germany must be stopped, completely. Uncontrolled and illegal immigrants - the focus is on the disaster year 2015 - must be deported in as large numbers as possible. At all levels of politics, administration and justice it must be made clear to Muslims that they are not welcome in Europe.
These radical views are now widespread in German society. The "Alternative for Germany" and the "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West" are the vocal leaders. You're making the noise. The AfD has turned state parliaments and the Bundestag into stages for the discussion of the "Muslim question". The extreme nationalist party is successful.
It can be seen more than from rising poll numbers from the fact that all other parties adopt certain views and demands of the AfD: from the CSU / CDU to the FDP and SPD to the Greens and the Left. In order to slow down the rise of the nationalist AfD, the established ones for their part adopt nationalist positions, above all the ruling Union parties.
A huge change of mood is taking place in Germany. Opposition to Muslims is the engine. The problematic part of the immigrants is made up of the large group of Muslims ("the descendants of the Vietnamese workers from GDR times are not a problem"), as Thilo Sarrazin lectures. The retired SPD politician inspired the movement like no other. This summer, Sarrazin plans to follow up with a new book: "Hostile Takeover - How Islam Obstructs Progress and Threats Society".
To what extent the "Muslims" who immigrated to Germany represent a social collective at all is a legitimate question. There are many reasons against it. But that's not what it is all about here. Nor is the question of what role "Islam" plays in the formation of violent "jihadist" groups and their murderous activities. There are a number of publications, some of which are well researched, on both questions.
"Islam criticism" as a cultural code
The point here is that in present-day Germany the "criticism of Islam" is about to become a cultural code that more and more circles of the German upper and lower bourgeoisie, that is, the famous center of society, are agreeing to.
If you want to get an idea of this process, you should watch an appearance by Julia Klöckner on a talk show about the "Muslim question". When the CDU presidium member with the Rachel hairstyle from the American sitcom "Friends" discusses Muslim male dominance, one gets an idea of what a conformist rebellion could look like in Germany in the early 21st century.
Alternatively, you can mingle with the "possessing" audience at a reading by Thilo Sarrazin. Or reserve tickets for the crude theater adaptation of the subtle French novel "Soumission" (submission) at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. The taste variations are many, but the same "nerve" is always hit. And the audience is slowly but surely amassing a solid treasure trove of knowledge critical of Islam.
It's an old German obsession. In 1879, the historian Heinrich von Treitschke was happy about the "profound change in mood" that was going on among the German people. A flood of anti-Jewish writings "flooded the book market", he wrote in a famous article for the Prussian yearbooks entitled "Our Prospects". "Anti-Semite associations" come together, "the Jewish question is discussed" in excited meetings. The thinker from the upper class of the German Empire did not see "mob brutality" at work here, but rather attested to "the instinct of the masses" that he had recognized a "grave danger" for "German life".
Not enough with the fact that the Jews had already settled in Germany. More came from outside, "from the Polish cradle," as Treitschke wrote. His like-minded fellow Otto Böckel even located a "large vagina Judaeorum" east of the German border.
So at the end of the 19th century Germany was faced with the "Jewish question". Jews threatened to decompose the country, to initiate processes of putrefaction, to suck it out, to usurp rulership. On the other hand, you weren't allowed to say anything for a long time. The Jews dominated the press. But the Germans' instinct for survival awoke and took up the fight.
"Anti-Semitism" and "anti-Jewish opposition" were terms with positive connotations. These views enjoyed the blessing of objectivity and science. Scholars meticulously derived the essence of the "eternal Jew" from the Talmud. The Jews would use their legal equality, the emancipation, in order to subjugate the Germans in the end and reach for world domination, was warned a thousand times. The "Jewish question" was nourished by the Germans' certainty that they were falling victim to an overwhelming force against which one had to defend oneself.
The German bourgeoisie amassed "anti-Semitic knowledge", as the sociologist Jan Weyand put it. To be against the Jews was, after all, part of good manners in bourgeois society. Anti-Semitism became a cultural code, was part of "education". It was more closely connected with German nationalism than Islam will ever be with Germany in the wildest multi-cultural dreams.
Researchers like Wolfgang Benz and Micha Brumlik have already pointed out the parallels between German anti-Semitism of the 19th century and German criticism of Islam in the early 21st century. There are structural similarities. Many Germans are once again obsessed with overwhelming scenarios.
Where is this going? The orientalist Paul de Lagarde, whom Thomas Mann still considered one of the greatest Germans in 1918, meant the Jews when he wrote in 1887: "Trichinae and bacilli are not negotiated, trichinae and bacilli are not raised either, they become so quickly and so destroyed as thoroughly as possible. "
Where is the criticism of Islam leading?
It is undisputed that the Holocaust would not have been possible without many years of thought preparation. Where will the criticism of Islam lead? The Muslim question has to be resolved somehow. You know history won't repeat itself. Especially since the story prevents any open call for "annihilation". But we also know that where "the struggle for existence" breaks out, the very factual justifications and legitimations for mass murder are not far. Internal social cohesion does not tolerate any further Muslim immigration, according to the widespread creed.
An estimated 1,000 asylum seekers have drowned in the Mediterranean in the past few weeks. A reconnaissance plane and several ships that could have saved the people together were prevented from carrying out their mission by the European border guards. The question of guilt does not arise. The overwhelming majority of European citizens are convinced of the need for this approach.
© Qantara.de 2018
The author works as a television journalist for the ARD magazine Panorama.
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