Interview with Prof. Dr. Rohe: Political Islam, Traditionalist Muslims and Mutual Understanding

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What is ‘Political Islam’? How does it differ from traditionalist Muslims? What impact do those ideologies have on Muslim communities, how does the coexistence of different views work and how can there be a greater understanding?

Prof. Dr. Matthias Rohe in an interview for the magazine FAU-Alexander.

Rohe is not only a jurist, he´s also a cultural scientist. Amongst other things, he is a member of the circle of experts on Islamophobia and part of the documentation office Political Islam, where he contributes his legal expertise as well as his cultural studies expertise. In the interview, he explains the term Political Islam to the readers. The first thing to know is that the term itself was not clearly defined yet and there was an ongoing controversial discussion about it. For Rohe, Political Islam is “a religious ideology that claims a political claim to power” (Rohe, 2021).

Political Islam thus created social pressure. This precisely was the difference from traditionalist Muslims. Because Political Islam permissed to live a lifestyle such as a patriarchal gender image – as long as this lifestyle was not imposed on others. In the interview, Rohe talks about the influence of the above-mentioned ideologies on Muslim communities, the Sharia and the discomfort it caused in many non-Muslims, and the different ways of living out the faith.

Finally, he talks about the question of understanding each other a little bit more.

Rohe emphasizes that the more people met and got to know each other, the tensions between each other would abate and they could get closer to one another. It was clear that living together and getting to know each other could not solve all conflicts, but it could lead to mutual acceptance. What this was going to take? Self-reflection on all sides and fair dealing with each other, answers Rohe.


You can read the full interview here.