Muslim Voices — Tibi
0:00:06:>>MANAF BASHIR: Welcome to Muslim Voices. I'm your host, Manaf Bashir.
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0:00:12:>>MANAF BASHIR: A lot has been said about the idea of a clash of civilizations - a conflict in which the Christian West and the Muslim East fight for control of global affairs. It has been a controversial idea, with many thinking such a conflict is simplistic, others saying it's taking place as we speak. There is another clash of sorts taking place, but one less talked about - the clash within Islam itself. This one features Islamists who adhere to a very extreme form of political Islam and reformers who believe a more liberal version of Islam is needed. Among the liberals is Dr. Bassam Tibi. Tibi has spent decades studying Islam, Islamists, and the religion's relationship with the West. In Germany, he formulated the controversial concept of Euro Islam, a form of the faith that would retain Islamic duties and principles while incorporating the values of European society.
0:01:05:>>BASSAM TIBI: To talk about one monolithic Islam - it is stupidity, ignorance, and it could be also prejudice because you try to excite people and create fears about Islam, and this is not right. I'm against the propaganda of Islamists who use Islamophobia as an ideological and propaganda tool. But, in fact, there is something like Islamophobia. I acknowledge this. But I - one should beware of doing politics with it.
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0:01:43:>>BASSAM TIBI: Roughly conceptualizing, I can state there are four directions in contemporary Islam, yeah? First, Islamic orthodoxy. Islamic orthodoxy or Salafism is not fundamentalism - is not Islamism. And it is - when I read New York Times or other papers to see, they always - they use the terms Islamism and Salafism interchangeably, which is wrong - wrong - wrong. Salaf means, in Arabic, ancestors, and Salafism means you look at the time and the age of the Prophet as a model for the future. So you, Westerners - when you talk about utopia, you think about a better future designed in terms of future. We Muslims - when we think about the future, we think about the future in terms of the past. Then you have Islamism. Islamism is modern and I interviewed in my research in the past years 2,500 Islamists, and the 95% of them are people with modern education. Some of them know very little about Islam, but they are very staunch Islamists. And then the third direction is the Sufi Islam. These are ordinary Muslims who live Islam as a daily culture. These Muslims - they are tolerant and this is - Sufi Islam is beautiful Islam, yeah? And then you have modern Muslims who are not only - because Islamists are also modern, but they are modernizers. So modernizers or, say, reformers and also secularists, and I am among those. I am the leader of Euro Islam. I founded the concept of Euro Islam. And the competing person was Tariq Ramadan still. Mr. Ramadan speaks also of European Islam, but his understanding - European Islam is there when Europe become Islamic. So his agenda is Islamisation of Europe. My agenda is Europeanization of Islam - to make Islam European. And I am losing grounds for the favor of Mr. Ramadan - that means reform, secular - real modernizing Islam is losing grounds anywhere.
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0:04:00:>>BASSAM TIBI: Why we - I mean, people - secular Muslim - liberal muslims are losing grounds - there are a variety of reasons. Some are technical, some are related to psychology. The technical reasons is we do not have funds. Like, I mean, I am now in the United States. Imagine a person who has no funds when - who runs for president. So if you cannot finance the campaign, you are a loser if you are - even if you have the better agenda. We have no funds. We have nothing. We control no mosques. Our enemy, the Islamists - they control the mosques. They have funds. They have donors. They get money from outside Europe. The Islamists - they have infrastructure. They have donors. They have funds. They have power. And in between, they won the media, even in the United States. I have a problem in your country as a liberal Muslim. So in the media - like even the New York Times - The New York Times stopped to publish me and they published Tariq Ramadan, yeah? And so why? I do not understand the mindset of these people. And then - well they say these are the oppressed. I am oppressed too, yeah? But we get no support, not even from the West. In Germany, the government corners me and deals with the Islamists. I am pro-Western and pro-American, but the West is not helping us, yeah? West is helping the Islamists. And in their rhetoric, they speak about war on - war of ideas for democracy against Islamism. But, in fact, they support Islamism.
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0:05:42:>>MANAF BASHIR: Dr. Bassem Tibi is a professor of political science at Gottingen University in Germany and is currently the ADY Professor at Large at Cornell University. This has been Muslim Voices, a production of Voices and Visions in partnership with WFIU Public Media from Indiana University. Support for Muslim Voices comes from the Social Science Research Council. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or join a discussion on our website. Find us online at muslimvoices.org.
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