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Spiewak, Martin

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Die Zeit - Germany | 20/04/2007

Martin Spiewak on Germany's ignorance regarding Islam

Martin Spiewak complains that the discussion about Islam in Germany is mostly "vocal but naïve". "One would imagine researchers who for years have been producing one study after another; politicians who make informed decisions on this empirical basis. After all, Muslims have been living in Germany for 40 years now. The 'naturalisation of Islam' is regarded across the political spectrum as one of the greatest challenges in domestic policy. But the reality is different... The university scholars commissioned with this task - and in particular experts on Islam - have demonstrated little interest in the local form of Islam. The beliefs of the immigrants are regarded as backwards and intellectually wanting. Moreover, the Middle East experts see themselves more as philologists than social scientists... To put it in slightly drastic terms, they like their objects of research to be as old and as far away as possible. This is why Germany's experts on Islam have uncovered more about Sufi poets in ancient Persia than about prayer leaders in Germany."

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