Reflections on Islamism in Germany

January 14, 2021

Islamism continues to be a subject of much public discussion in Germany. On Monday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an interesting article under the title “The European Mission of Political Islam”. “Legalistic Islam” said this piece “is on the march in Germany. Its entry point is education. Its goal the establishment of a theocracy by peaceful means.”

The article discusses the tactics of Islamists in Germany – and by extension elsewhere in Europe. It argues that it is not just Islamist violence we should worry about. Instead, it’s the ideological drive to change European societies from the ground up. For the expanding networks of Islamists pushing this goal, violence is tactical. The problem, the authors suggest, is that political leaders too often see violence as the main problem; this is a mistake. As the German Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) the domestic intelligence and security agency) has warned, Islamists seek to transform society into one compliant with Islamic law. The BfV believe that this is a far greater threat in the long term than violent jihadism.

The article goes on to discuss the history of Islamist organisations in Europe and their construction of sophisticated but often concealed social networks. It identifies a number of individuals who play a key role. In addition, it warns that the federal government in Germany is failing to draw the right policy conclusions. Federal institutions continue to work with and even fund such networks. As a result, the authors claim that Islamists now have a significant presence within these institutions, NGOs, political parties and the education system. Islamists, they conclude, use the freedoms of democratic states and the rule of law. But they are not democrats. And their idea of law is not liberal.

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