HomeArticles“Islam is fascist” vs “Islam is compassion” [english subtitles]
“Islam is fascist” vs “Islam is compassion” [english subtitles]
December 9, 2019
In Iraq and Syria people with different beliefs are being butchered by savage holy warriors in the name of Allah. They are perverting Islam into its opposite some people say. No, Islam is at its very core violent and contains fascistic traits, says Hamed Abdel-Samad. The political scientist is our guest today. He is facing criticism by Mouhamar Khorchide, our second guest. He is Islamic theologian, teaching in Münster and is claiming the exact opposite: Islam is compassion and this premises a compassionate God. Mr. Abdel-Samad, what in God’s name gives you the idea that Islam has fascist traits? [Abdel-Samad]: We have to ask ourselves, what does fascism actually mean? How do we define fascism? In my view fascism is a political religion, not only a political ideology. An ideology that divides the world into good and bad, friend and enemy. An ideology that poisons its followers with ressentiments and hate against people of different opinion and belief An ideology pursuing world domination. An ideology which is anti-semitic and assuming the own ‘chosenness’. And Islam is doing all of this. [host] And you are connecting all of this to Islam, as you did in your book “Islamic fascism”. Comparisons to fascism are frowned-upon especially in Germany. You are living in Germany. [Abdel-Samad] Especially in Germany it’s important to make this comparison. Especially in Germany people know what it means when a group is placing itself above humanity and thinks everyone else is inferior to this group, morally and as human being. When a group dehumanises people and treats them as subhuman. If a group like this gets their way we will experience scenarios that Germany has seen already between 1933 and 1945. Also in Syria and Iraq we are experiencing the exactly same scenarios. Because a group with a similar ideology treats their enemies as subhuman And approves of their total annihilation. [host] World domination, dividing into good and bad… What is your answer to this accusation? [Khorchide] First of all… There are Muslims and there is the Islamic Tradition and both are involved in a process of interacting with each other. This is how a narrative is created. This is also how tradition is being created. Because us Muslims are so different from each other. We are living in different contexts, we are creating different traditions and different narratives about Islam. If you ask a Syrian Muslim what Islam means to him, in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia, in Australia, here in Switzerland or in Germany You will get many different answers and all of this is Islam. This kind of spectrum. [host] That means there is not only one Islam. I’m hearing the professor in these word, one who makes distinctions. You are teaching in Münster, are the head of the center of Islam theology. Beside you is sitting the political scientist and writer, who has also studied languages. What is your answer to the fascism accusation? [Khorchide] Because we have so many different understandings of Islam there’s also this kind of understanding we are seeing in Iraq right now. Produced by the so called “Islamic State” And looking at this ideology we find some congruities with what Mr. Abdel-Samad is saying. What’s important is that we make a difference between the narratives, between the Islamic traditions. Do we generalise and claim that Islam is a certain way or do we see the different narratives, the different stories about Islam some Muslims are representing which might be called dangerous. If we have to use the term ‘fascism’ is another topic. It’s always difficult to project certain terms from one context into another. We can legitimately criticise certain interpretations of Islam. But we also have to make distinctions. [host] So you would say a comparison between fascism and the Islam of the IS is justified but the rest is generalisation. [Abdel-Samad] Yes. We talked about fascism before. Now let’s talk about Islam. About the core part of Islam. It’s the Quran. The prophet. And his tradition. [Khorchide] And the tradition of the scholars. [Hamed-Abdel] And the tradition of the scholars. But I’m more talking about the core part. The part that is beyond dispute. It’s the prophet as role model. And it’s the Quran. A book giving guidance to Muslims not only spiritual guidance, also conduct guidance. In the biography of the Prophet we can read that he has exiled all infidels – Jews and Christians – from the Arabian Peninsula. and established Islam. We can read that he gave orders to behead – orders to behead – 600 defenseless jews. Whose wives and children have been enslaved. The people of ISIS take the Prophet as role model. We can read in the Quran that God, whom you are calling passionate, has given 25 direct orders to kill infidels to his followers. Direct orders to kill. “Kill them. Behead them. Mutilate them.” You can not say this has nothing to do with Islam. Or the people of ISIS have not understood the Quran. They are taking their legitimisation directly from the biography of the Prophet and from the Quran. [Khorchide] It’s correct what he is saying… [host] Is it correct? The story about Mohammed? And that we can read it in the Quran? [Khorchide] It is correct that we have this core – the Quran and the statements of the Prophet But how the 4th caliph, the Imam Ali has said, “The Quran does not talk The people make it talk.” And the people are speaking through the Quran. That means we have the Quran, we have the prophetic traditions, we have narrations. The question is how do we interpret it. What am I taking out of the Quran. I’m giving you a provoking example. Mr. Abdel-Samad has touched on this briefly: The year 627. We are finding in the biography of the Prophet of Ibn Ishaq that indeed there has been a jewish tribe, Banu Quarayza, who have committed treason in a war between the Prophet and Meccans. There has been a treaty between the Prophet and this jewish tribe. They have violated the treaty and fought alongside the Meccans against the Prophet. Consequently there have been created various narratives: What has he done to them? In Ibn Ishak you will find numbers between 400 and not only 600. Up to 900 people he has allegedly killed in one day. Not only people who have been partaking in the war. If you read about this incident in the prophetic tradition, the Sunnah, the words of al-Buchari and Muslim They don’t mention any numbers and according to them only the warriors have been killed. And another version of the story: A book, it’s called Kitab al-amwal, with an authentic transmission. And it is speaking about only 40 involved warriors who have been slaughtered. We have different numbers: 40 – 400 – 600 – 700, up to 900 people who have been allegedly murdered in one day. The question is: Why are there that many different narratives? It is known that Ibn-Ishak was tending to glorify the biography of the Prophet. The more the Prophet has killed the stronger, more virile and powerful he is. Apropos, the same goes for the sexuality of the Prophet: Reportedly 30 times more virility than the ordinary mortal. Why did people say that back then? Because they were thinking they are doing the Prophet a favour if …. [host] …the blow him out of proportion. Why are you ignoring this tradition? [Khorchide] Well, it’s exactly what I was saying. It happens when someone picks out only one narrative. [Abdel-Samad] Ibn-Ishak is not only ‘one narrative’. It is THE book which is telling the story of the Prophet. Acknowledged by every single Islamic Scholar as THE story of the Prophet. Has never been attacked by the theologians. [Khorchide] He was. Imam Malik even called him a liar. But we are never talking about this. And this is where you are completely right. We have to look at these topics in a critical way, for example at Ibn Ishaq who has written his biography about the Prophet 200 years after his life. You can imagine how many elements slipped in in all that time. We have to look at him objectively. Ibn Ishaq did not drop out of the sky. And we Muslim have to look at him in a critical way and ask ourselves if his words are set in stone or are there different narratives we have to promote. A last sentence about this topic: Why does a ISIS person pick out a certain narrative? They are even angry if they hear the narrative about the 40 warriors. He prefers the 900 as a prove of Muhammed’s strenght. He wants do identify with a strong Muhammed. One who has killed a lot of people. And why am I taking the other narrative, in Münster, where I teach my students? [Abdel-Samad] I can tell you. I tell you why these people choose certain narratives. They are comparing these narratives of the prophetic tradition with the Quran. And it does coincide. There are 206 passages about war and violence and murder in the Quran where the God, whom you are calling passionate, is being called a warrior who is fighting alongside the Muslims. He is telling the Prophet: You did not kill them. Allah has killed them. You did not throw the spear. Allah has. God himself is acting as warrior alongside a group against another group, people he has allegedly created himself. The ISIS people are picking up on that and are noticing: There is no difference. How can Muhammed create a passionate religion when it is being reported that in the last 8 years of his life he has lead 80 to 90 wars. That means every month a new war. Every month a new war. How can such a person establish a society who is talking about compassion? You know which kind of compassion I’m finding in the Quran? I also read your book about it. The compassion in the Quran and in the prophetic tradition is the compassion of the Muslims among themselves. That’s what the Quran says. Muhammed and his companions are compassionate to each other. And tough towards the infidels. That’s the difference. Of course – and I know I am overdrawing it – the National Socialists have been compassionate witch each other. Hitler was kind towards his dog. He has had friendships and humane sides. But towards the others the National Socialists have been inhumane and towards their enemies the Muslims have been ruthless. Not only in Muhammed’s lifetime but throughout the traditional history. [host] But isn’t this a very fundamentalistic view you are having there? You pick out one part of the tradition. Are you comparing Muhammed with Hitler? [Abdel-Samad] You can’t really compare a person of the 7th century with a person of the 20th century. But Muhammed and his commandments have not stayed in the 7th century. They are here. And are claiming to participate in a political way to implement their concepts not only in the Islamic world but in the whole world. And that’s why I have to apply the standards of the 21th century on Muhammed and the Quran. One can make a deal if one really wants to have a reformation. But if one does not apply contemporary standards on the Prophet consequentially the Prophet may not intrude in the 21. century. [host] Suddenly you are talking about tradition. [Abdel-Samad] Yes, of course. We are sitting here and we don’t know who Muhammed really was. What remains are the scripts. How these scripts are being perceived and implemented in the Islamic history. And how the Prophet as role model is being perceived. What the ISIS people are doing is nothing else than living this wide-spread and widely acknowledged tradition. I went to school in Egypt. And I have learned contents which are concurring with the ideology of ISIS. The fact that we both have lived in civilisation is allowing us to distance ourselves to a certain degree. We are objecting against cutting off hands, against beheadings, … But all of these things have been there in Islam. The fact that there are a lot of kind Muslims does not mean that the Islamic teachings are kind. It’s a blessing that the majority of Muslims does not implement Islam in this way. [host] You’re involving yourself in contradictions. There exist different traditions and interpretations… You are talking about ‘Islamic fascism’. Isn’t this the wrong title? Should it not be called ‘Islamist fascism’? [Abdel-Samad] No. Of course the basis of my book is a comparison between the islamist movements and fascistic movement. Both have been born in the same epoch, born in the 1920s. The islamist movements in Egypt and India took the fascism as role model. As well as the ‘Führer’ principle. The ‘chosenness’. The dream of world domination. Of course they were influencing each other. But the Islamism is not a new phenomena in the Islamic world. Islamism is as old as the Islamic history itself. The modern Islamists have not been the first ones to strive for world domination. It was the demand of Islam since its beginning. Why else would the Islam have spread to Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Andalusia? What were they doing there? This was expansion. This expansion stems from the Quran which tells the prophet to enforce Islam and to defeat all other religions. This is what Muhammed and his companions were doing. And this is what happened in the wars of conquests after him. And this is also what the ISIS people are planning to do in Iraq. To claim that all of this has nothing to do with Islam or that it is a false interpretation is wrong. It is the heart of Islam. The raison d’etre of Islam. [host] That’s a lot of accusations. You have mentioned it you have Egyptian roots. You have been born in Lebanon, grown up in Saudi Arabia, studied sociology in Vienna and are living in Germany. Two different backgrounds. Two Muslims who are arguing. You wrote a book called “Islam is compassion”. How can you claim this considering this source material? [Abdel-Samad] If Mr. Abdel-Samad is comparing Muhammed with Hitler I ask which Muhammed? You said it yourself we have different narrations. The first biography about the Prophet’s life was written 200 years after his death. There are so many not only different but contradictory narratives about the Prophet. The question is: Why is a person choosing, a theologian, a group a certain interpretation? We are focusing to much on abstract matter here, we should be focusing on the people as well. And look at these people who are interacting with the Islamic tradition. Why are they screening? Why is a ISIS supporter choosing a certain interpretation? And why am I choosing another one? The verses in the Quran we mentioned before – which are indeed addressing violent conflicts – how do we read them? As imperatives? Ahistorical? Like this God is giving orders for all following ages? To kill infidels wherever you find them? Or do we consider the historical context. We need to contextualise all these verses and come to the conclusion that these imperatives are not universal commandments for all time but only for this certain historical context. This is what we have to focus on and discuss about. [host] So you are something like reformist theologian, who is trying to not interpret the Quran as something set in stone and interpret it in the light of contemporary times. But where are you taking the “Islam is compassion” part from? [Khorchide] I start with something crucial. My basis for this statement is that compassion is a character attribute of God. What do I mean by that? It’s an eternal attribute. There is no opposite to this kind of attribute. God is not sometimes compassionate and sometimes cruel. His is compassionate all the way. And every other description of God in the Quran, for example the ‘punishing God’ is part of his compassion. That’s what I mean when I’m talking about a theology of compassion. [host] And your reasons for this thinking are in the Quran? [Khorchide] Of course. Why does the Quran always start the surah with the formula “In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful” Obviously this God wants to communicate “Before you read on always have in mind I am the Merciful” He says that his punishment strikes certain persons but his compassion encompasses everything. It means he relativises his punishment but turn his compassion into something absolute. That means I can not choose certain things and dismiss those I don’t like. The compassion is absolute. Only the punishing God is the relative God. If God’s compassion is absolute it encompasses every person, no matter if believing or unbelieving. That’s my thesis and that’s my basis on which I claim that Islam is compassion. [host] And you are writing: “Mohammed spreads fear among his enemies and plants the seed of intolerance into the heart of Islam” in your book “The islamic fascism”. Are you completely blocking out these traditions? [Abdel-Samad] No. I’m supporting historisation and critical interpretation of the Quran. But it’s amusing. When I’m talking about islamic fascism I’m asked: “Which kind of Islam are you even talking about?” But when you are saying: “Islam is compassion” nobody is asking which kind of Islam you mean. Obviously the passages of war in the Quran are to be understood in a historical way. Those were concrete situations of war, between Muslims and unbelievers and these orders to kill are referring to this time. But also the compassion. And the parts about peace are also to be be understood in a historical way and not valid for all time. When the Quran says “If they offer you to make peace then take that offer” … It was strategy! Two years later this has been abolished and Mohammed has made war on those people. Those people he had made peace with two years before. When the Muslims have been a minority in Mecca all of those passionate passages have been present. Because in the situation of being a minority from the awareness of being persecuted it’s wonderfully easy to be tolerant and open. Thankful for diversity. Muhammed has told the unbeliveing in a meccan surah: “For you your religion, for me my religion.” Later when he went to Medina and sought approximation to the Jews he said that there’s no force in religion. Of course we can find that in the Quran. But those passages are early passages. When Muhammed has not yet had an army. When he had an army all of these things were gone. Then the Quran had to be enforced. Then he went to Mecca and reconquered it. [Khorchide] How did he reconquer it? [Abdel-Samad] With a 10 000-strong army. The people have seen the torches from far away and were afraid and unable to do anything. [Khorchide] And what has he done to them? [Abdel-Samad] He destroyed their idols. [Khorchide] I mean the people. [Abdel-Samad] He killed Ibn Khatal (?) because he did not accept his return to Mecca. They came to Muhammed and told him: “Ibn Khatal doesn’t want to” then he said “Kill him”. Then they responded: “He is taking refuge in Kaaba.” Where a person must not kill another one. “Kill him, even if he clutches Kaaba.” This is Mohammed. As long as he was a minority he supported diversity. When he came back there was no more diversity. He destroyed their idols. That was their religion. No matter what he said before “For you your religion, for me my religion” [Khorchide] One sentence. When Muhammad went to Mecca he was really on the pinnacle of his military power. Shortly before his death. Indeed, 10 000 went into Mecca, the enemies immediately surrendered. They realized they didn’t stand a chance. Who were these Meccans? It was people who tortured Muslims for decades. They asked him: “What will happen to me” and he asked them “What do you think what I will do to you?” What does this story tell us? There’s only one version of this story by this way. He told them that like prophet Joseph has forgiven his siblings he will forgive them as well. “You are all free to go.” [Abdel-Samad] This passage is not in the Islamic tradition. It exists as a story. Tell me, you as an Islamic scholar, tell me is this in Bukhari? Is this in Ibn Ishaq? It is a narration, which has many… [host] Let’s hear the end of the story before. [Abdel-Samad] This is one narration. This is really arbitrary. You’re picking out one passage which is NOT in the tradition. It’s nowhere to find in the tradition. [host] Let him finish the story. [Abdel-Samd] It’s not in the tradition. [Khorchide] The question is… He just let the Meccans go. He has not slaughtered them. [Abdel-Samad] Not true. Not true. Have there been other religions beside Islam after this? [Khorchide] There is no narration that Muhammad would have slaughtered everyone in Mecca. Even if he had the strength. Especially when he had the strength. But the question: Why is one citing one single person – there’s only one narrative – one single person who has been killed? [Abdel-Samad] 40 not one. [Khorchide] While many, 10 000 were allowed to live. Why are you talking one narrative and blocking out every other? It’s the exactly same problem we have with the extremists. They too are blocking out the narrative of Mohammed’s forgiveness in Mecca. And his attempt of a constructive coexistence. And that’s my criticism. [host] So you are talking about a limitation of violence and you are talking about a cruel prophet. [Abdel-Samad] They had to convert to Islam! They had to convert to Islam. [Khorchide] I’m giving you another example. It’s also to be found in Mr. Abdel-Samad’s book. A very good example. Abraham. He is saying that Abraham was also a fascist, because he has received the order of slaughtering his son. And he obeyed. [host] As explanation, this is also a narration of the Old Testament where he offered his son as sacrifice. [Khorchide] Yes. A Jewish-Christian narration. [host] And in the last moment he sacrificed an animal instead. [Khorchide] How do we deal with this story? It’s one interpretation to say it’s about blind obedience. About submission before a commanding God. A God who says: “Just do it.” But there’s another interpretation. This God wanted to tell him that it’s not about slaughtering your son and that’s why I put a ram – or whatever – in his place to demonstrate a break with this old tradition. [Abdel-Samad] That’s the Christian theory. That’s the Christian interpretation what you just explained. This is the Christian interpretation and I’m acknowledging it as well. It was a break with the tradition of human sacrifice. But in the Quran…. Just name one single interpreter of the Quran who understands the story in this way. No. They tend to interpret the narration as the rule of obeying God’s commands without questioning the moral content of the command. We have a father and we have son. The father receives a command from God. In the Quran it’s not only a dream like in the Bible. But a command: “Kill your son”. [Khorchide] On the contrary. In the Quran it’s a dream. [Abdel-Samad] Kill your son. He said kill your son. And he goes and wants to kill him. And then the animal sacrifice appears. And Abraham is being lauded for obeying in Quran! This represents this primal fascistic idea. One should execute commands when the Führer expresses them. Without paying attention to moral and questioning the humanitarianism. Because the Führer says so. Abraham has been lauded for trying to kill his son. [Khorchide] That’s one interpretation. We have 800 students in Münster. We are reading it in a different way. We interpret it as break with the tradition of human sacrifice. By the way this tradition has sadly been continued. It’s a long story. With Muhammad’s father. He was the tenth male child of his parents and he should be sacrificed. It was common practice that children have been sacrificed for God and that’s where the narration comes in and presents a break with this tradition. Indeed it always comes back to the question of how we read these passages. It’s not so much about the question what exactly is written in the Quran. The written text is static. How can we get dynamic into it? By reading it and interpreting it. The question is how we read it. It’s about us. Why do you read it how you do? Why do salafists read it in another way? I’m sure if salafists would watch this they would be very angry about me and would support your view. [host] So salafists take it literally. [Khorchide] Not only literal, but in the sense of a commanding God. That’s the problem with salafists. And their imagination about God in general. A God that becomes offended when people are not obedient. And I always say that this is not God. This is an inferior creature, it’s not God. [host] So you interpret the story as a sign for the end of human sacrifice. [Khorchide] It is an ethical announcement that we shall end this practice. [host] And their are theologians who interpret it in another way. [Khorchide] Many. [Abdel-Samad] It’s okay that there are various and different interpretations. But what kind of God is this who is giving the people direct orders to kill and is relying on humans not to take it too seriously? God speaks in the Quran… And actually that’s the main problem. Not the actual text in the Quran but the attitude of Muslims towards the Quran. They treat it as the unadulterated direct word from God to the people. God has chosen to Muslims to give them his last words, his manifesto in a way. That is the problem. When Muslims read “Kill the infidels” or “behead them”, “mutilate them” “cut off their legs”, “smash their fingers”, “their necks” …. What kind of God is this who says in the 4th sura “…and hit them”, meaning their wives. In case their wives are insubordinate the Muslims shall “hit” them And he relies on intelligent theologians 1400 years later and says: “Well, it doesn’t really mean to hit them but maybe …. nudge them” All of this is actually absurd. A religion of passion would make clear announcements. Jesus for example said: “Love your enemy” and you can’t…. [host] But we just learned that we shouldn’t pick out single verses out of the Quran and take them out of their context… Nevertheless these passages exist… “Hit your wives” How do you deal with them? [Khorchide] I see it in context. How were the times back then? The most commonly used mean for solving conflicts was violence. [host] In a patriarchal society. [Khorchide] In a very patriarchal archaic society. Now the 4th sura of Quran says there are other kinds of mediation. Talk to each other, do this, do that… Violence is the last resort. Of course for our contemporary times knowing the Human Rights we ask why it’s still in the Quran. But keep in mind it’s a book created in the 7th century where violence was the most commonly used method That violence is actually put to the last place has been a very progressive, a revolutionary step a step of Enlightenment for these times. [Abdel-Samad] It has nothing to do with Enlightenment when a God tells a man … – when the mean FEARS that the women could be insubordinate, not when she actually is insubordinate, but when the man fears this – to hit her. Why does God – the Merciful – need this? And why do intelligent people of the 21th century who read Kant and Rousseau, who are long past the Age of Enlightenment have to sit at this table and mess around with this verse and call it progressive for back then. Why do we need the Quran as moral role model at all? [Khorchide] Wait, we are mixing up the different levels… You are completely right. From our modern perspective we are objecting against those passages. Also against many passages in the Old and New Testament. [Abdel-Samad] How do we object? [Khorchide] We object by asking why these passages even exist? By asking what kind of God this is? But that’s what we say today, in the 21th century. In the 7th century, you and I, we would not have said that. We would not have been far enough to reflect about this. [host] You just explained it: There’s mediation, there’s the conversation, then the violence. It was progress back then. But you are arguing as fundamentalist as those you are criticising. [Abdel-Samad] No, no. [host] At the end of his explanations you always go back and say: “No, it’s violent”. [Abdel-Samad] What I’m saying is that the passages of violence should be seen in historical context. And the wonderful tolerant passages as well. They have not been composed by Muhammad for all times but situation-related. And this is what I’m saying. This is disqualifying the Quran. It’s a moral book that people of the 21th century are using as foundation for our moral moral conduct. There are other books, more modern books, the Declaration of Human Rights comes before the Quran for me. And this is what I’m expecting of a enlightened theologian. The message that we already have something like the Declaration of Human Rights. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We don’t have to fiddle about with the Quran. [host] I see you have a very different approach on the Quran. But now let’s get back to Abraham. The progenitor of the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims. You write that the fascism is related with the monotheism in a way. Do you see the Christianity, the Judaism as fascist as well? [Abdel-Samad] Christianity and Judaism surely have characteristics akin to fascism. Characteristics they have worked on with self-reflection and the Enlightenment. and broke away from it. There are Christian and Jewish fundamentalists who are still support these fascist traits. Every absolutism has traits akin to fascism. Every ideology which is exclusivistic, meaning excluding others, has traits akin to fascism. But Judaism and Christianity have learned in the course of centuries to look at their own tradition in a rational way. Of course there are passages of violence in the Bible. But those are no orders to kill directly sent from God to the believers. Those passages are describing violent situations. Nowadays most Christians know that the Old Testament has not been directly sent from God to a prophet but has been worked on and written by people in the course of time. And the modern age, the Enlightenment has made it possible that people were able to distance themselves from their tradition. And this distance is necessary to relativise the scripts… [host] So Islam has been stuck in time, before Enlightenment happened. [Khorchide] It’s problematic if one is expecting that the Quran gives moral instructions and criticises them at the same time. The Quran is primarily not a book of ethics but a book about spirituality. God is presenting himself. He tries to have a spiritual relation to the people. That people get to know him. That’s the purpose of the Quran. We also have reason. It’s an old discussion in the Islamic tradition whether reason is creating the good and the bad. I think we are expecting too much of the Quran if we think it has to offer detailed instructions for every thing. That’s what the extremists are expecting. The Quran gives you general instructions. He is not offended but worried when we interpret the Quran in a misanthropic way. Also if we take a look into the future and ask ourselves: “Which kind of Islam are we striving after?” Which kind of interpretation of Islam do we want to have? I don’t allow this kind of blackmail. We have a serious problem with Islam. We can not be silent and say that Islam is the religion of peace and compassion and everything else we are seeing are only phantoms. Everything we are seeing currently has to do with Islam. We have to realise what our problems are. We have to designate them clearly. [host] I’m not blackmailing you. But there are 4 million Muslims in Germany, 400 000 in Switzerland. Many of them feel offended by your words. [Abdel-Samad] Why? When I am criticising the thoughts of a person I am not violating their dignity. [host] Many of them are not or not very religious. [Abdel-Samad] And I’m not criticising those who are not or not very religious but Muslims are killing, stoning women, taking their girls out of swimming class in the name of their religion. [host] An absolute minority. [Abdel-Samad] The majority is irrelevant if it is inactive. The National Socialists have been a minority as well. But when they were at the helm only they alone were in charge. In Mossul there are living 2 million Muslims who are “normal”, the majority. What are they doing against 10.000 ISIS fighters? Nothing! The majority of Muslims is not relevant when they are not reacting against those excesses. You can hide yourself away in your bedroom and say “Islam is the religion of peace”. But if you are allowing that people are enforcing all those things in the name of Islam and not react against it…. You say Muslims are angry at me and say I’m insulting them. But if they are insulted by me and not insulted by ISIS then they are part of the problem. [Abdel-Samad] But the modern times are helping us to distance ourselves from this. [Abdel-Samad] I have learned the whole Quran by heart as a child. And I was supposed to become an Imam like my father, a preacher. And eventually I started to feel a bit overwhelmed with this task It was too big for me. I am a normal person with weaknesses and guilty pleasures and I would like to live my guilty pleasures. But the religion is seeing these guilty pleasures as sin. And their remedy, their way of redemption is to atone, to stick to the commandments, etc. Islam is giving you an unbelievably big catalogue of behaviour. Inside of me there was an individualist. Somebody who was curious, who wanted to live different, who wanted to rebel against these rules. Do apostates have to be killed in Islam? Is one allowed to deny God in Islam? [Khorchide] Well, of course. [Abdel-Samad] “Of course”?