Engaging Political Islam:
An Option
for Europe‘s Centre Right?
Roland Freudenstein
Centre for European Studies
EDS Summer University 2010
Why engage?
National security/terrorism
Urban peace/de-radicalisation
International security
Teaming up against leftist
Political Islam?
Moderate Islam?
Muslim Democrats – like Christian
• Engagement
– Cooperate
– Dialogue
– Debate
What‘s in a term? (I)
Qur‘an – hadith (statements of the Prophet)
Sharia: Islamic law; halal - haram
Ulema (clergy) – imam (cleric)
Fatwah (ruling)
Qufr/Infidel (non-believer) – dhimmi
(monotheistic non-believer under Muslim
• Hijab – chador – niqab - burqa
Muslim Brotherhood
End of the Caliphate (WW I)
Founded 1928 by Hassan al-Banna - Sunni
Shaped by Sayeed Qutb since late 1940s
Egypt: al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun
Morocco: Party for Justice and Development
• Jordan: Islamic Action Front (IAF)
• Palestine: Hamas
Sayeed Qutb (1906-1966)
Muslim Brotherhood
• True Islam is lost in jahiliyyah
• Restore Islam by making qur‘an and sharia
system of governance
• Re-establish the Caliphate
• Against Arab nationalism (Ba‘athism)
• Against corrupt Arab elites (takfiri)
• Against the West, colonialism, decadence etc.
• Recently: Non-violence except Palestine, Syria
What‘s in a term? (II)
Jihad: Struggle – holy war
Taqiyyah: self-protective dissimulation
Ijtihad: Reasoning
Resistance and popular culture
Resistance and popular culture
Walid Phares
Irshad Manji
Icon: Tariq Ramadan
Quote: Tariq Ramadan
(On massacres of Christians in Nigeria):
„We need to consider the situation objectively
and bring a critical view as much to the
causes – global homogenisation and a
sometimes savage Westernisation – as to the
consequences – ethnic and religious
Icon: Mustafa Çeric
Quote: Mustafa Çeric
„Religious tolerance is clearly commanded
in our Holy Book:
God does not forbid you to deal kindly and
justly with those who have not declared war
on your religion or driven you out of your
homes (60:8)“
Icon: Abu Laban
Quotes: Abu Laban
• „If we discovered Islam was a threat to the
West, I would be the first to fight it.“ (2005)
• But: orchestrating anti-cartoon protests in DK
and Middle East (2005)
• „They accept the chador and Islamic
lifestyles. We, therefore, must pretend that
we accept their religion and individual
freedom. But this is impossible. Islam can
accept no one who does not adore Allah.“
Christopher Caldwell
Islamists in Europe: New European
Brothers (NEB)
• Most Muslim orgs in EU are not Islamist
• But: governments often talk to
participationist Islamists
• Union d‘organisations islamiques en France
• Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)
• Islamische Gesellschaft Deutschlands (IGD)
• Milli Görüş
Goals of the NEBs
• Preservation/creation of strong Islamic
identity among EU Muslims
• Participation in mainstream society
• Leader and official representative of Muslims
• Create, implant and expand ultra-orthodox
Muslim bloc
= against integration as we understand it
Implications of a Centre Right
• NEB positions directly clash with core
European values
• Mainstream Muslims would hardly
understand this
• Embarassment among non-Muslim
public (like multi-culturalist Left)
Lorenzo Vidino
in Europe
Other important authors
Alistair Crooke: Resistance
Tamim Ansari: Destiny Disrupted
Timothy Garton Ash: Facts are Subversive
Ian Buruma: Murder in Amsterdam
Gilles Kepel: The War for Muslim Minds
Paul Berman: Who‘s Afraid of Tariq
Ramadan? (article)
• Necla Kelek: Die fremde Braut
• Nick Cohen: What‘s Left?
• Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Infidel
• Muslim Democrats: cooperation
• Traditional Islamic parties:
• Islamists: debate
Time to respond
• Countering the narrative of the End of the
• Learn, learn and learn!
• Acknowledge immigration as a fact
• Avoid relativism
• Recognise friends (Muslim liberal democrats)
• Define enemies (Islamists)
• Choose the appropriate tools

Engaging Political Islam: An Option for Europe`s Centre