Does Islam tolerate terrorism?

After attacks How German Muslims react to Islamist terror

The Berlin Imam Taha Sabri did not want to leave any doubt. Together with other Islamic representatives, he expressed himself in a press release entitled “Muslim women in Berlin condemn terror”: “It pains us and fills us with anger that monsters who have sown such suffering and fear refer to our faith and theirs justify blind violence with the religion of Islam. " In the interview he says: "We must now act united against this body of thought in our community. Such a declaration is a first step in this direction."

"It is something that affects every single Muslim"

Even if this beginning may come too late for some. In the past few weeks - unlike after previous attacks - all Muslim associations in Germany have spoken out. Right, emphasizes Mohamad Hajjaj, regional chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Berlin: "I think that you have to take a position both as a private person and as an association. Because in the end it is something that affects every individual Muslim."

(imago images / ZUMA Wire)France's Islam Debate
In the face of Islamist terror, there is heated discussion in France about how the secular principle can be enforced. New bans on headscarves and veils are up for debate.

But how can, what should the "correct" reaction of Muslims to Islamist terrorism look like? Are general condemnations of violence and terror, as published by DITIB and others on their websites after the recent attacks, sufficient?

There is a lot of discussion these days within the Muslim communities too. The often requested "distancing" is rejected by many. "One should distance oneself from something that one has not committed. What is that supposed to mean?" Asks a Twitter user under the pseudonym Ophorus. And another user named Abdelkarim says: "Requiring Muslims to distance themselves from an attack is like being put in the dock and saying, 'Now prove to us that you are not a terrorist."

"Distance" as a contested term

Pinar Cetin, chairman of the board of the Deutsche Islam Akademie and also a signatory of the declaration "Berlin Muslims Against Terror", is also struggling with the expectations that non-Muslims in particular are having of them these days.

"I have difficulties with the term distancing. Distance means that you have to have a certain closeness beforehand. I don't think that all Muslims have to distance themselves from any terrorist act, because nobody said that they had any closeness to it beforehand Has."

Pinar Cetin believes it is necessary to take a position - against all types of violence and terror. However, she refuses to distance herself.

Pinar Cetin is critical of the term "distancing" (Deutschlandradio / Engelbrecht)

"The perpetrators create a closeness to the outside world"

Murat Kayman, former DITIB coordinator and today one of the sharpest critics of the largest Sunni organization in Germany, disagrees.

"I understand this reflex that one does not want to distance oneself from something that is already far from one's self-image. But the perpetrators create a closeness to the outside world. They do not stay at a distance from other Muslims - as soon as they call Allahu Akbar, as soon as they meet give a religious outward appearance, in clothing or in behavior or in rituals. "

So the Muslim blogger and lawyer:

"I can't help it, but I can articulate outwardly that I don't allow this closeness, I won't tolerate it. Because if I don't oppose it, then there are two signals: First to society, that I don't consider this perceived closeness I feel problematic, and then in the direction of the perpetrators or their environment, that I allow this closeness as a Muslim. That I say, yes, you too are someone who has acted Muslim. And I oppose that. "

"These deeds have something to do with Islam"

Many association representatives are now doing the same. Imam Benjamin Idriz, chairman of the Munich Forum for Islam, declared that the "heinous acts" were "as un-Islamic as they were inhuman". Mohamad Hajjaj of the Central Council of Muslims in Berlin believes that a kind of verbal exclusion of the perpetrators is too easy for oneself: "These acts have something to do with Islam. They have something to do with a misunderstood religiosity, one of mine View according to a wrong understanding of Islam. But to say that this has nothing to do with Islam, of course, misjudges the reality. "

Murat Kayman calls for a cultural change from the Islamic associations (Picture Alliance / dpa / Horst Galuschka)

The Cologne blogger Murat Kayman goes even further. "It has something to do with us Muslims" is the title of an article he published shortly after the murder of the teacher Samuel Paty in Paris.

"The value of a life must not only be emphasized and touted in press releases in the face of death. The value of every person must be valued and respected - regardless of their gender, sexual identity, belief, ethnic origin And for me there are still many problematic building sites within the religious communities, where there are simply stories of inequality. And you have to deal with that. "

Do we need a culture change?

Murat Kayman believes that the major Muslim associations in particular have an obligation. Instead of hiding behind affected or outraged press releases, he calls on them to initiate a cultural change within their communities. Not because he claims they are promoting violent ideas. But because they let it happen too often.

"As long as you tolerate even this smallest overlap with the perpetrators in the world of thought, namely that there are people who are worth less than Muslims due to certain criteria, as long as you tolerate this overlap, even in your mind, without advocating violence, that is the foundation on which violence grows. And organized Muslims have to take a stand against this. Publicly. And I miss that. "

One thing is clear from the many voices that have been voicing their views on Islamist terror these days: silence has long ceased to be an option for the majority of German Muslims.

(Imago)Psychologist Mansour: "The middle is silent"
The psychologist Ahmad Mansour accuses the democratic center in Germany of avoiding uncomfortable debates on Islam. That was dangerous for the culture of debate, said Mansour in the Dlf.