Is the use of violence legitimized by Islamic Law? Is the Koran calling for the murder of non-believers? And what is the “Islamization of the Occident” all about? These are the questions that Mathias Rohe, founding director of the EZIRE, is concerned with in a new Focus series. In “Faktencheck Islam” Rohe deconstructs myths and half-truths that are said to be broadcast especially by supporters of right-wing political parties and groups such as Pegida.
In the first part of the series, Rohe discusses the killing of non-believers in the Koran. The Islamic Studies scholar clarifies that there are in fact some ‘clumsy passages’ in the Koran that could be interpreted as a call for violence against non-Muslims. In these cases, it is up to individual interpretation. However, Rohe emphasizes that most Muslims interpret these text passages within the historical context of wars against the pagan Meccans and do not relate them to today. The mentioned passages were mainly to be understood as stories about the violent conflicts than as a call to kill in the name of religion. Furthermore, Rohe stresses that there far more passages in the Koran in which respect towards other religions, especially Christianity and Judaism, are emphasized.
The second part of the series focuses exclusively on the accusations, brought on by Pegida supporters, that Muslim migrants “islamized the Occident”. Rohe emphasizes how ‘unreliable’ und ‘unfair’ these fears are. These ‘horror-statistics’ were lacking any basis. The birth rate of Muslim migrants adapted to its surroundings after only a few generations. Aside from that, accusations like these suggested that there was a homogenous Muslim group, which was not the case.
The potential violence of Sharia law is Rohe’s point of focus in part three of the series. First, he straightens out the assumption that the Sharia is a uniform text of law. There was not ‘one Sharia’, Rohe explains, which meant it could not be generally judged to be ‘bloody’. However, Rohe acknowledges that certain texts of the Islamic law have potential to be interpreted as legitimizing violence. This potential of Islam was a problem, which had to be faced, but also existed in other religions. However, many Muslims, as the Islamic Studies scholar explains, cared very little for a life that accurately followed the teachings of the scribe, but rather followed a ‘moral-ethical’ interpretation of Islam. This meant, that Sharia was not considered to be a set system of rules, but synonymous with certain virtues. Moreover, there were entire denominations of Islam, Alevism for example, that do not consider Sharia Law as obligatory.