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Press review: Extremism and Radicalization

Photo: Panthermedia.net - Harald Richter
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With regard to the several headlines on this topic in recent german newspaper articles, we want to take the opportunity and gather Mathias Rohes statements on radicalization and Islamist extremism. Many have questions in mind like: Why is Islam so prone to violence? What does Sharia mean? And which conclusions can be drawn from the recent violent events?

In different interviews (topic talk at BR alpha , BR 24 and Bavarian Broadcasting), Mathias Rohe, Director of the Erlangen Center for Islam and Law in Europe, commented on these questions.

“Every religion has the potential to be violent”, Rohe said. “This also applies to Islam”. Since a couple of decades, one could observe the intolerant Wahhabism as practiced in Saudi Arabia. This interpretation of Islam was refusing every muslim and non-muslim belief that differed from the Wahhabist perspective. “The so-called Islamic State is a product of this extremist propaganda”, the Islamic scholar and lawyer states.

But how Islamic is the “Islamic State”, which legitimizes its actions and existence through the religion of Islam? “Objectively, some aspects of the ideology can also be found in other interpretations of Islam”. Religion is important for the IS, but it is not the only factor.

Mathias Rohe calls for solidarity with the many peaceful muslims living in Germany. However, the muslim communities in Germany would have to accept, that Islam – just like every other religion – has a violent potential. “We need counter narratives against the radicals, for example via solid Islamic religious education.”