Sunday, January 11, 2015

“Islam ist Barmherzigkeit. Grundzüge einer modernen Religion” : the case of Mouhanad Khorchide

We were treated to a very long laudatory article about Mouhanad Khorchide in the New York Times yesterday but the article mentioned not one thing about the controversies surrounding him.  Let me summarize key things that are not mentioned in the long article of the times.  Khorchide was studying sociology in Vienna and then said that he did a survey of Muslim teachers in Germany and found that they all (based on a stupid survey--you can find it and read the questions) anti-democratic and fanatical and that he alone can teach democracy in and for Islam.  The German state took notice and he was immediately awarded a chair at the University of Münster.  They then created a center for him to supervise the teachers of Islam in Germany and beyond.  The entire Muslim community in Germany and beyond were outrage: that this man was being imposed on them.  They even said that the man had no qualification in the subject of religious studies.  So what did he do? He added a claim that he got a degree in religious studies from Beirut (from the Uza`i school, and it has as much credibility and authority in religious studies as much as King Saud University has in religious studies).  He then started preaching "Islam-is-love" message which had little connection to the principles of Islam, not that I object to the love teaching.  But there is nothing new or original in his book Islam ist Barmherzigkeit. Grundzüge einer modernen Religion: I and others noticed that he really summarizes the writings of the sophisticated Syrian writer, Muhammad Shahrur.  Worse, he always claims that he is original and that he is shaking Muslims--of course, there is nothing original about him and no one really knows who he is--sadly I have to follow all sorts of such developments and have to read people like that.  He is now the Fouad Ajami of Islam in German media.  Look what the Times said: "He teaches, for instance, that “since the ninth century, the spirit of the Muslim world has been restrictive” — and that “the relationship between God and the individual is a loving one,” which he said shocked Muslims “raised only to fear God.” " What? There is a whole body of poetry by Sufis about love between the believer and God. And he is hardly shocking Muslims when no one knows who he is.  It says in the article that he was praised by the German president and Al-Azhar: the first is true and the second is a claim only known to himself.