Ralph Giordano is one of the most outspoken critics of Islamic doctrine in Germany. Below is his open letter to President Wulff, as posted at Politically Incorrect and translated by JLH:
Open letter from Ralph Giordano to Christian Wulff
Dear Mr. President:
“There is no doubt that Christianity belongs in Germany; there is no doubt that Judaism belongs in Germany. That is our Judaeo-Christian heritage. But in the meantime, Islam also belongs in Germany.” This sentence in your address of October 3, made on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the re-unification, reveals in its sweeping generality such a disturbing ignorance of reality and premature blending of basically different systems, that it bids fair to render a person speechless.
I will not presume to offer you remedial instruction in history, but such a naïve equivalence of actual Islam with a wish-fulfillment, EU-conforming Islam is obvious here, that someone must object strenuously. Political and militant Islam is not capable of integration. Beyond that, Islam “in general” is problematic enough. As yet it has given no convincing answer to the question of whether it is compatible with freedom of expression, gender equality, pluralism, separation of church and state — in short, with democracy. A dark cloud hovering in the sky of the 21st century, which, by way of a completely failed immigration policy, directly touches the Federal Republic of Germany. In fact two entirely cultures, in two very different stages of development are in collision.
One is the Judaeo-Christian, where — after dark periods, followed by Renaissance, Enlightenment, bourgeois revolutions and their aftermath — the liberal pattern prevailed: a mighty leap forward. The other is the Islamic culture, which still today — after periods of cultural brilliance that could put the West to shame — with all its inner differentiations, displays a general patriarchal-archaic stagnation: obedience-oriented, inimical to secularism, fixated on inequality of the sexes, parental control and unquestioning deference to religious authorities. It is the collision of a culture which severely limits personal freedom and is guided by tradition and religion and another, which — after lengthy aberrations — has been formed as individualistic, primarily Christian and yet secular. Enormous obstacles rise up in this confrontation, and it is Muslims themselves who point them out.
The great Turkish writer Zafer Senocak, laying the scalpel on the sorest spot, says: “Hardly any Islamic ecclesiastic, let alone a devout lay person, is voluntarily in a position to see the central problem in the thinking process of the faith. They are not ready for a critical analysis of their own tradition, a merciless comparison of their faith with the realities of modern society.” Or the unflappable Abbas Baydoun, for many years the feature editor of the Lebanese daily newspaper “As-Safi,” who enters the similarly dangerous territory of unrestricted self-criticism: “Many among us seek excuses not to look in the mirror, in order to spare ourselves the sight of a fearful countenance, the countenance of another Islam, an Islam of isolation and indiscriminate violence, which bit by bit gains the upper hand and soon becomes our true face, as we steer for the high point of delusion.”
Mr. President, what are Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” to these solemn declarations? Here are Muslims putting an end to the practice of delegating responsibility for their own self-inflicted miseries and grievances to “Europe” or “the great Satan USA” or “the small Satan Israel.” Here, Muslims are pillorying the incapacity of the Islamic world for self reflection; here their own elite are named as the true originators of the crisis. And in the process, they express what no non-Muslim would dare to say: It is not immigration, but Islam that is the problem!
A huge portion of humanity, ripe for revolution — the “umma,” the entire Muslim community, as internally diverse as it is — is threatening to suffocate on its own culturally and religiously determined backwardness and immovability. An equally ominous exclamation can be added to that: the spooky, tinsel-town world of the oil billionaires, the grease spot in the chasm of a cynicism awash in money and gold — as Orham Pamuk says: “That cannot work out well.”
But in Germany, too, Mr. President, there are Muslim voices that respond with skepticism to your inclusion of the Islamic culture in the Judaeo-Christian. The Iranian theologian Hamideh Mohaghegni warns “that the internal Islamic clearances along the way to a Euro-Islam will take twenty or thirty years, and it would still be questionable whether it would prevail here or be overcome by traditional Islam.”
Another voice which urges that attention be paid to the opinion of the people and critically confronts Muslim societies and functionaries of the mosque organizations is the voice of Dr. Ezhar Cezairli, member of the German-Islam conference: “I find it understandable if people who are no part of the rightist scene are afraid of Islamization.” And further: “It is dangerous to the future of Germany that some politicians — through their ignorance of Islamic organizations — are in the process of surrendering the foundations of our enlightened society.”
This can go into the family albums of all those universal huggers, xenophilic one-eyes, social romantics, bleeding hearts on duty, and apostles of conciliation, whose pedagogy of coddling still takes the same line after Thilo Sarrazin, as if it were about a multicultural idyll that could be patched up with a some social-therapeutic actions.
Let there be no misunderstandings, Mr. President: It remains in the interest of our national honor to shield every immigrant, stranger, or foreigner from the plague of racism and its accomplices. At the same time, it is our civic duty to protect ourselves against tendencies, customs, habits, and traditions in the Turkish-Arab minority which, beyond lip service, are negative or even hostile toward the successes of freedom in the democratic republic and its constitutional government.
The decisive obstacles to integration come from the Muslim minority itself, even if you go on the assumption that most of them are peace-loving. It is still disturbing how quickly enormous protests can be organized in the Islamic world the minute Muslims feel insulted or under attack. How quiet it is in the local organizations and mosque groups, however, when, for example, three co-workers in a bible-printer’s in the Turkish town Malatya are massacred, nuns in Somalia are shot to death, and Christians in Pakistan, because of breaking a “blasphemy law,” await their execution in death cells. Icy silence…
The integration/immigration problem demands a fearless as well as a critical language.
Just where are we, that we are afraid of being labeled hostile to strangers or foreigners if we confess our own values? Just where are we, that we have to avoid calling a paternalistic culture — in which the individual is nothing while family and religious community is everything — hostile to integration? What is wrong with saying that in innumerable immigration cases the attraction is not work, but German federal welfare?
“But in the meantime, Islam also belongs in Germany” — really?
Please take note that it is not without danger to express doubts about that — I know what I am talking about. Islam does not know the critical method. Therefore criticism is equated with insult. Which does not mean that there are no critical Muslims.
I carry my contribution by their side, with brave women like Necla Kelek, Seyran Ates, Mina Ahadi, Ayaan Hirsi Ali — and all the other peaceful Muslims in the world.
A postscript to my motive: as a Holocaust survivor I know the difference between Hitler’s Germany and the Federal Republic. Its democracy is sacred to me, because only in it do I feel secure.
Therefore: Whoever lays hand on it is at my throat, whether Muslim, Christian or atheist.