“There is a Real Fear of Radical Imams” (Der Spiegel, 11/28/05)

The recent riots across France have raised new questions about the integration of immigrants into European society. Muslims have faced particular scrutiny following terrorist attacks in Spain and Britain. SPIEGEL ONLINE interviewed Jytte Klausen, the author of a new book looking at the challenges from the perspective of European Muslim leaders. […]

SPIEGEL: Some countries, like Germany, are already taking steps to foster the growth of a so-called “Euro-Islam” and you mention in the conclusion to the book that you believe this European Islam is emerging. How would you characterize it?

Klausen: The revolutionary new Islam is what is called Islam of the Book, and it is based very much on an individual’s own readings of the Koran, on each person sitting down as part of a prayer group and figuring out what Islam means to them. Usually there is no imam, and everybody has the same relationship to Islam because they can all read the text. That is already the Islam of Europe, the Islam of the next generation, the inter-ethnic Islam. It is all about a textual reading of the Koran, in local languages, and there are broad variations of interpretation, everything from neo-orthodox understandings where people say: “I must wear the hijab, because that’s what the book tells me.” Other groups say: “There is nothing in the Koran which tells women they must wear a hijab, only that both men and women should be dressed modestly.” I think what is important is that when European governments step in and try and resolve issues around Islam, that they are attuned to this diversity, that they do not just work with traditionalists, because if they do, then we are going to short-change that new thinking which is going on and which should be stimulated and encouraged.

What’s important is that if you recognize the bases of Western Civilization you can Reform Islam so that it conforms to them.

Non-Christian clerics urge the Kirk to push religious teaching in schools (EDDIE BARNES, 11/27/05, Scotland on Sunday)

HINDU and Muslim leaders are urging the Kirk to boost religious teaching in schools in order to counter the “secular society”.

David Lacy, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said senior clerics from other faiths were now telling him to offer a more “strident” view of Christian beliefs, in order to provide young people with more moral teaching.

The non-Christian leaders added that the Kirk had been “too concerned” with being inclusive at the expense of laying down its own beliefs in schools.

The surprising calls come with religious communities preparing to mark Scottish Inter Faith Week from today, in which the links between the country’s main faiths will be celebrated.

Their leaders will present the Scottish Parliament with a framed compilation of quotes from their respective scriptures which support the values engraved on the Scottish Mace.

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