by Hugh Fitzgerald
In Germany, these past weeks, we have been treated to a back-and-forth among politicians about Islam and whether it should be considered “part of Germany.” Some say yes and some say no. Angela Merkel, doing her imitation of Molly Bloom, keeps saying “yes I mean yes I said yes” to Muslim migrants, and has stirringly claimed for several years that “wir schaffen das” — “We Can Do This” — meaning we Germans can successfully integrate more than a million Muslim migrants. Even though she has stopped repeating that particular phrase (no doubt sensing it sounds ridiculously pollyannish in light of current problems), her “yesses” to the question of whether islam is part of Germany have continued.
Many, however, are not convinced. Horst Seehofer, the Minister of the Interior and Heimat [Homeland], a member of Merkel’s own cabinet, and also an important member of the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union, has declared with a certitude to match that of Merkel, that “Islam is not part of Germany.” He went on to say, according to the report from Deutsche Welle, that certain “Christian-inspired aspects are part of daily life and culture in Germany, naming examples such as shops being closed on Sundays and public holidays that correspond to church holidays like Easter, Pentecost and Christmas.” Sunday closures and official observance of church holidays are surely not the most important evidence he could have adduced of Germany’s deep connection to Christianity, but they have the advantage of being easily grasped in a way that appeals to history, theology, and political theory are not.
Seehofer also hastened to add that while Islam is not “part of Germany,” people who practice Islam are, of course, part of Germany: “The Muslims who live with us obviously belong to Germany,” he noted, adding that “false consideration for others clearly does not mean we give up our country-specific traditions and customs.” To which one is tempted to say: Not so fast. The “Muslims who live with us” do not obviously belong to Germany. They are in Germany, in great numbers — an additional one million since 2015 alone, thanks to Madame Merkel — but do not necessarily belong to, or are part of, Germany in any significant sense. The texts and teachings of Islam teach murderous hostility to the Kuffar, and the ability of Muslims to integrate into German society depends mostly on whether they are able to reject, rather than take to heart, the hostility toward Infidels that is everywhere in the Qur’an. There are 109 verses in the Qur’an commanding Jihad warfare against the Infidels. How many Muslims can reject that inculcated hostility? And how many Muslims in Germany will continue to regard Muhammad as “the Perfect Man” and “Model of Conduct,” worthy of their emulation, even though he consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was nine years old, was pleased when his followers murdered people who had criticized or mocked him, and praised the use of deception (“war is deceit”), and of terror (“I have been made victorious through terror”)? Should Muslims be considered a welcome “part of Germany” if they believe those jihad verses, take Muhammad’s praise of terror and deception to heart, and demonstrate contempt and hatred of Infidels, summed up in Qur’an 98:6, which describes them as “the most vile of creatures”? Finally, and this ought to be a special concern of Germans, what do they think of the dozens of horrific antisemitic verses in the Qur’an, such as these compiled by Robert Spencer:
The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.”
Shouldn’t these hate-filled texts and teachings of Islam lead to legitimate doubts, and forebodings, about just how Muslims can possibly be “part of Germany” if they are now the chief carriers of antisemitism, the pathological condition that decent Germans, for obvious reasons, are most concerned to keep out of their country?
Angela Merkel, in her retort to Seehofer, insisted yet again, and without more, that “Islam is part of Germany.” But what does this mean? The statement that “Islam is part of Germany” is a religio-politico-cultural claim. In what sense is it true? Islam has not shaped or contributed to German values, laws, customs, understandings, nor to the political system, nor have Muslims left any mark on German culture — its literature, its music, its art, its film. Islam has left no mark on German philosophy. The dismal treatment of women in Islam, the ferocious punishments for homosexuals, the hatred of non-Muslims that the Qur’an commands — all this is part of Islam but not (save for that Hitlerian interlude), if Germans have their say and way, part of Germany.
Muslims — not Islam — are “part of Germany” only in the most obvious and least meaningful sense: they are physically present, and apparently, if Merkel and her supporters have their way, will not be subject to deportation even if it turns out, as seems likely, that 90% of those who claimed refugee status as “Syrians” fleeing a war zone, were not Syrians at all, and even if many of those Muslim “refugees” claiming to be “children” have turned out to be men in their twenties. The disruption, expense, and physical insecurity that Muslim migrants have caused both non-Muslim indigenous Germans, and non-Muslim immigrants too, is likely to continue, as long as most Germans are more afraid of being thought “racists” and “islamophobes” than they are fearful of the increasing menace, of the Muslim presence in Germany.
The haunting memory of the Nazi murders of European Jews has made Germans hypersensitive about “racism.” They have, however, chosen the very worst way to make amends to the murdered Jews, by admitting into their country several million Muslims, who are today’s most virulent carriers of antisemitism. Not a political figure, but the couturier Karl Lagerfeld, on French television in November 2017, put his finger on the problem. Evoking guilt for the Holocaust as the impetus for Merkel to invite unlimited numbers of Muslim asylum seekers into Germany during the migrant crisis, Lagerfeld said: “One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews and then bring millions of their worst enemies in their place.”
Michael Hesemann, a German historian, has also entered the lists, writing that “Islam always plays only one role in the 1700-year-old history of the Christian Occident: the role of the sword of Damocles which hung above us, the threat of barbarism against which one needed to unite and fight,” according to NRW Direst. “In this sense, Islam is not part of German history, but the defense against Islam!” For saying what three-quarters of Germans believe to be true — that “Islam is not part of Germany” — Hesemann has now been banned by Facebook. (Facebook’s most insidious behavior has to do not with its exploitation of private data for profit but with its role as censor of islamocritics, including Jihad Watch). Of course, if your mind is made up, and you insist on welcoming millions of Muslims into your midst, despite their being carriers of antisemitism, homophobia, misogyny, despite their declaring themselves to be “Syrian refugees” when they are neither “Syrians” nor “refugees,” because you believe, with Angela Merkel, that “we can do this” — that is, successfully resettle and integrate all these Muslims — then 1400 years of conflict between Islam and the Christian West are unlikely to convince you otherwise. Michael Hesemann bluntly stated a historical truth which the merkels of this world ignore, at all our peril: Islam is in a state of permanent war, though not necessarily of open hostilities, with all non-Muslims.
Those living in Europe, including the territory that we now call Germany, often lived in fear of Muslims, even if they were not near the front lines, because of the perceived constant pressure from the forces of aggressive Islam. In the west, the Islamic advance was stopped by Charles Martel at Poitiers, but it took more than 700 years of the Reconquista to completely end Islamic rule in Spain. In the east, between 780 and 1180 a series of Arab-Byzantine wars led initially to Arab Muslim victories, which were later undone, in the late 10th and early 11th centuries, by a string of Byzantine victories. Centuries later, the Ottoman Turks conquered both the Byzantine Christians and the Arab Muslims. Twice during this period, the Turks lay siege to Vienna, in 1529, at the height of Ottoman power, and again in 1683. Both times the Christians fought off the forces of Islam.
Meanwhile, Islamic corsairs based in North Africa attacked Christian ships in the Mediterranean, seizing cargo and kidnapping sailors. Muslim sailors also attacked and razed European coastal villages, up and down the coasts of Italy, France, and Spain, but also all the way up to Cornwall, Ireland, and in one celebrated raid, even Iceland, seizing both loot and villagers whom they took back to Muslim lands as slaves. Hesemann’s history holds up: Islam has been Christian Europe’s enemy for centuries, on land and sea.
The latest addition to this debate about Islam’s place, if any, in Germany, has been the interview given by Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of the Christian Social Union’s (CSU) parliamentary party, who instead of simply limiting himself to the claim that “Islam is not part of Germany” laid out what he thinks should be done from now on.
Speaking with Funke media group, Dobrindt said:
“Muslims who want to integrate into our society are part of our country, but Islam is not part of Germany.”
Dobrindt was careful not to say that all the Muslims in Germany are by that fact alone “part of Germany,” but that only those “Muslims who want to integrate into our society are part of our country.” Those who “want to integrate” would, by that very definition, not want to take over Germany, and to transform it, by imposing Islamic laws and customs, but desire rather to become a part of the country as it is. That is what “integration” into a host country means. True integration would require Muslims to support freedom of speech and belief, which are basic rights for Germans, and to oppose any punishment for blasphemy and apostasy. It would require them to ignore the 109 verses in the Qur’an that command jihad warfare, and the verses explicitly calling for them to “strike terror” in the hearts of the Infidels. It would require them to oppose, rather than, as the Qur’an does, to promote antisemitism. It would require them to accept full equality for women, and to practice tolerance toward homosexuals. As for those Muslim immigrants who do not wish to, or are unable to, integrate, they are not part of the country and, though this is not said explicitly by Dobrindt, he clearly thinks they ought to be removed.
“Islam ‘has no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it has nothing in common with our Judeo-Christian heritage.’”
The burden of proof is on those who claim Islam does have “cultural roots in Germany.” Muslims, in the form of Turkish Gastarbeiter (Guest-workers) only began coming to Germany in the 1960s. That’s far too short a time to plant and cultivate “cultural roots’” in German soil. Sharia, the legal system of Islam, in its system of criminal punishments (hudud), by comparison with Western legal systems, remains barbaric. It treats as deserving of capital punishment many practices which are not punished at all under the Western criminal codes, such as adultery, apostasy, and blasphemy. The sources of the Sharia are the Qur’an and Sunnah, that is, the faith itself, while the Western legal codes today are secular, based on man-made legislation although, of course, Christianity has helped to shape the views of those legislators.
“Islam ‘doesn’t culturally shape our country’ and ‘it should not’ be culturally influential in Germany.”
Islam has had no discernible effect historically on the laws, customs, values, understandings of Germans. But the presence of so many of its adherents has rightly alarmed many Germans, though not, of course, Chancellor Merkel. The freedom of speech and religion, equality of the sexes, tolerance for homosexuality — all of this remains unaffected so far in Germany. Nor has Islam as yet “culturally shaped” Germany in its art, literature, music, film, or in any other form of artistic expression. Much of German (Western) art — that which depicts living creatures, such as portraits, or statues — is forbidden, haram, in Islam. But those paintings and statues are still on display all over Germany, and still being made by German artists.
German writers need not worry for now about censorship by, or on behalf of Muslims. That’s because they are doing such a good job of censoring themselves. Major publishers are generally unwilling to publish islamocritics. One exception was the publication, four years ago, of a truth-telling book, Thilo Sarrazin’s Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany Abolishes Itself), which struck a nerve in the German public, and provoked a salutary debate. Sarrazin wrote that Islamic immigrants threatened Germany’s freedom and prosperity because Muslim migrants were unwilling to integrate and relied overwhelmingly on welfare benefits. Nothing he said was false. That was all the more reason for the media to try to keep it from being read, by denouncing it as “nonsense,” “racist,” “islamophobic.” Thankfully,and despite that campaign, Sarrain’s book sold more than two million copies.
German journalism is, when it comes to covering Islam, in a parlous state. The German media — print, television, and online journalism — is overwhelmingly under the control of Defenders of the Faith, that faith being Islam. Soon we can expect the last Internet redoubts of islamocriticism to be closed down by Facebook and Twitter and other social media giants that believe they have a duty to censor “hate speech,” which nowadays, for them, mainly means any speech critical of Islam.
As to music, there is a debate within Islam as to whether it is haram or halal, with some Muslims claiming that all music is forbidden, while others insist that only musical instruments are forbidden, and still others believe that music, with instruments, can be allowed, but it must be islamically acceptable in its lyrics, and in the deportment of its singers.
Films should be censored, Muslims believe, as to content (nothing sexually explicit, nothing that might show non-Muslims, especially Jews, in a favorable light, nothing making fun of, or the slightest bit critical of, any aspect of Islam). So far neither German music nor film has had to change to meet Muslim strictures, but what will happen as the percentage of the German population that is Muslim increases, as it inevitably will?
“No Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries.”
This is a plain statement of fact. In the Western democratic condition, the legitimacy of any government depends on how well it represents the will of the people expressed, however imperfectly, through elections. In Islam, the legitimacy of any government depends on how well it expresses the will of Allah, as revealed in the immutable Qur’an. A ruler, even if a despot, should be obeyed as long as he is a good Muslim.
Dobrindt also defended a plan to dramatically limit refugee family reunifications, saying:
“Refugees should return to their home countries whenever this is possible. Family reunifications can also take place in pacified home regions and not only in Germany.”
Since most of the Muslim migrants who in the last six-seven years were admitted to Germany because they claimed to be “refugees” fleeing fighting in Syria and seeking asylum, it makes sense to have those “refugees” return to that country (Syria) once the fighting has ended or been greatly reduced. Now that the Islamic State has been crushed in both Syria and Iraq, and in addition, other fighting in Syria is now confined to a very small area — Assad’s forces have largely won — it should be possible, even without total pacification having been achieved, to send those “refugees” back to Syria, which is where so many of them claim to be from. And if these same refugees now admit that they actually came not from Syria but from other countries, that is even more reason to expel them, and send them back to their real countries of origin. In Iraq, another major supplier of asylum seekers to Europe, major hostilities have ended almost everywhere, with ISIS destroyed, the Kurds relatively quiescent, and the Sunni Arabs cowed by the Shi’a militias backed by Iran. Therefore, Iraqi “political refugees” should also be sent home to a pacified Iraq: Sunni Arabs to the Sunni-dominated north, Shi’a Arabs to the Shi’a-dominated south, and Kurds to Iraqi Kurdistan.
As for those Muslims who claim to be seeking asylum as “refugees” from such places as Morocco (which has sent large numbers to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands) and Tunisia, these are countries currently without internal strife. Those who choose to leave do so only as economic migrants.
There is, of course, one group of people in the Middle East who are genuine refugees and should be taken in by Germany and other Western states. These are the Middle Eastern Christians: the Chaldeans and Assyrians in Iraq, the Greek and Syrian Orthodox and Armenians in Syria, the Copts in Egypt. There are as yet no signs that these Christian refugees are being given the swift and favorable treatment they deserve in being granted asylum. Could it be that Western countries fear that privileging the Christians would only increase Muslim resentment against them at home? The resentment, or rather the extreme hostility toward Christians, can hardly get worse. But even if that hostility could get worse, that should not be a reason to keep Christians from escaping the clear and present dangers of living in Muslim lands.
Dobrindt suggests that the policy of “family reunification” as it is now practiced should end. Until now, “family reunification” has always involved bringing over many relatives of “refugees” who have been admitted to Western countries, to be “reunified” with a family member or members. One “refugee” might start a chain-migration, whereby 5 or 10 or 20 others, claiming to be relatives, are admitted as part of family reunification. There has been so much fraudulent exploitation of this policy by people who falsely claim to be related, that DNA testing is now being used, but not widely enough, to detect such fraud and deny many of these “family” claims. And even DNA testing will not detect false claims of marriage (with the records supposedly lost by some office in Syria, Iraq, or a dozen other places), and polygamous practices can make for a large “family.”
Dobrindt suggests that there is another way to further family reunification: instead of adding to the German state’s welfare and civilizational burden by admitting many supposed “relatives,” why not have the “asylum seeker” who is in Germany return home to be reunited with his family in the country he came from, instead of having all those claimed relatives arrive in Germany for family “reunification” and, of course, to settle in? How much easier to have one “refugee” return home from Germany rather than to have a dozen or more Muslim “relatives” move to Germany to be “reunified” with him or her.
Alexander Dobrindt makes eminent good sense. That’s why his proposals have little chance of being adopted by Angela Merkel. But that does not mean the German public, weary of Merkel’s obstinate insistence that “Islam is part of Germany,” can’t begin to openly discuss that question now that it has been raised by several senior political figures, including a member of her own cabinet. Horst Seehofer, Michael Hesemann, and Alexander Dobrindt remain steadfast, unwilling to agree with Merkel’s follies. What exactly is it, she and her ilk must repeatedly be asked, that makes Islam, or Muslims, “a part of Germany”? What German laws, customs, values, understandings, what modes of artistic expression, what philosophy, what political theory, make modern democratic Germany and immutable Islam the least bit compatible? Islam is not “part of Germany” even though Muslims are now “in Germany.” If the Seehofers and Hesemanns and Dobrindts and Sarrazins prevail over the Merkels while there is still time, Islam will never be “part of Germany” and more importantly, Germany will never be part of Dar al-Islam.
First published in Jihad Watch.