Why do people fear to criticize Islam?

Islam in Germany

Stefan Weidner

To person

Born in 1967; Islamic scholar, journalist and translator; he is editor-in-chief of the dialogue magazine \ "Art & Thought / Fikrun wa Fann \" published by the Goethe-Institut in Arabic, Persian and English; Author of: Manual for the clash of civilizations. Why Islam is a challenge, Frankfurt / M. 2008. [email protected]

The article tries to explain both the attractiveness and the theoretical aporias of the criticism of Islam in order to ask about the possibilities of a factual discussion of problematic aspects of Islam.


The situation is deadlocked, and with every contribution to the subject it gets worse: the so-called Islam critics and their opponents are irreconcilable; a dialogue in which reasonable arguments from one side could osmotically switch over to the other is completely replaced by confrontation. This impression is reinforced by the tendency, especially in the visual media, to select the guests of their talk shows as antagonistically as possible, instead of being interested in gaining knowledge or a possible consensus. The perception is solidified due to the simple self-organization, networking and publication possibilities of interested, often radical groups on the Internet. The conversation about Islam is not conducted from the middle, but from the margins: there only seems to be an either / or, an for or against, where each side is concerned with the ever smaller, indecisive or indifferent To pull part of the population on his side.

This largely artificial bipolarity creates unnecessary divisions and poisons the atmosphere. At numerous lecture events on the subject throughout Germany, I regularly experience the vehemence with which the different groups in the audience react to one another and sometimes also to the lecturer. Above all, however, this bipolarity cannot be justified from the matter itself, Islam and Muslims in Europe. It should be clear to every thoughtful observer that when it comes to questions of Islam there must be tenable reasons for positions between the two extremes; that with a mere either / or, aspects worth considering must inevitably be neglected; that a reasonable and justifiable middle position (it does not have to lie in the statistical center of the opinions themselves) can be defensible precisely when the centrifugal forces seek to discredit it. This contribution will probably not escape the prevailing antagonism. The attempt to collect arguments against the extremes was nevertheless made.