The leftists Kevin Kuhnert and Sascha Lobo, of all people, unanimously accuse the political left of being too quiet on the subject of Islamism, while they would always lapse into loud indignation on the subject of right-wing extremism. A replica.
Kevin Kuhnert, Juso leader and SPD vice president, has received much praise from conservatives for his call for the political left to end its silence on Islamism. In a guest article for the "Spiegel he wrote of the "unpleasantly conspicuous silence" and quoted the well-known right-wing accusation that the left-liberal camp secretly cuddles with Islamists. Whatever may have motivated Kevin Kuhnert to write his text, he is running astray with it.
The fact is that left-wing liberals are among the biggest enemies of the Islamists: They are in favor of feminism and stand up for equal rights for men and women, they demand equal rights for LGBTIQ, they are often critical of religion and question traditions, they push for self-determination and sing the praises of free thinking – in short, they represent everything that Islamists hate with an abysmal hatred.
Most Islamists are fundamentalists, and fundamentalists do not have a smooth transition to leftists, but to conservatives, which is why they are more likely to be found in conservative and not in leftist circles. Some Islamists even cooperate with right-wing extremists, with whom they share not only hostility toward Jews and basic fascist ideas.
Kuhnert and Lobo are right on one point
But without drifting off into a proseminar about political extremism: Kevin Kuhnert and, by the way, also the "Spiegel"-Columnist Sascha Lobo have made a partial observation that is correct in substance. "On a right-wing extremist murder" and, writes also Sascha Lobo "leftist indignation follows, an Islamist murder is followed by a quiet, leftist contrition".
Compared to Islamism, leftists are louder and more audible, at least when it comes to right-wing extremism. That’s right. The explanation for this is quite simple, obvious and plausible and has nothing to do with "disinterest" and "moral laziness to do. The fact that leftists cry out louder on the subject of right-wing radicalism is simply due to the fact that right-wing radicalism has been almost criminally trivialized for decades.
Blind to the right for a long time
Only since extremely short time (more exactly since the assassination of Walter Lubcke, the attacks of Christchurch, Halle or Hanau) we discuss loudly, broadly and openly in the society about right-wing radicalism, racism and anti-Semitism. The 1981 Oktoberfest attack in Munich was not officially classified as an act of right-wing extremist terrorism until July 2020. In 1993, Chancellor Helmut Kohl refused to attend the funeral service for the victims of the racist arson attack in Solingen; Helmut Kohl had "other important appointments, God knows", let government spokesman Dieter Vogel know at the time.
In the 2000s, the NSU was able to murder for years while the authorities focused their investigations on its "foreign Victims and their relatives focused. Even the 2016 attack on the Olympic shopping center in Munich was not classified as politically motivated until three years later because of the perpetrator’s right-wing extremist and racist views.
The state always saw the danger on the left
For most of the time since 1945, Germany has been run by conservative governments. The picture of the authorities’ blindness in the right eye was painted predominantly during the period of their political responsibility; I explicitly do not want to exclude the social liberal phase led by the SPD, especially under Helmut Schmidt. The state did not believe itself to be the focus of right-wing extremists – there were only minorities such as Jews or foreigners – but of left-wing extremists, who were thus summarily declared to be the greater danger.
A man like Thilo Sarrazin achieved a mega-giga-book success in this country with his views. The AfD moved into all state parliaments and the Bundestag. Pegida gathered on German streets. Until 2018, a man like Hans-Georg Maaben was president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Against such concentrated right-of-center power, demands from "leftists" have been made, to take right-wing extremism seriously, never had a chance.
Left-wing outrage was urgently needed
And one is really surprised about "left-wing indignation" on right-wing extremist violence? Without this "leftist outrage probably nothing or much less would have happened in this country. It probably contributed to the fact that, after all, 40 years after the Oktoberfest assassination, Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann and Prime Minister Markus Soder felt able to publicly admit to political mistakes made by their CSU icon Franz Josef Straub, because he had blamed the extreme right-wing "Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann" In 1980 and in the years thereafter "completely underestimated have.
Now, for a comparatively short time, we have been talking intensively about right-wing extremism (Islamism has been at the top of the agenda since 2001, left-wing extremism since the 1960s), and promptly voices are being raised everywhere that the topic should slowly be brought back to a simmer – Kevin Kuhnert and Sascha Lobo will or will not join this chorus.
Does the left really have a blind spot?
Up to this point, for argumentative reasons, I have left open the suspicion that there really would be such a loud silence on the part of the political left with regard to Islamism, as has been implied. Neither Kevin Kuhnert nor Sascha Lobo provide proof of whether this is actually the case. But they obviously experience it this way. That is fine and must be noted. But what is actually true about the right-wing narrative: leftists prefer to desist from Islamism for fear of being accused of Islamophobia?
On the one hand, Islamophobia is not only a phenomenon of the right, but can also be found among left-wing secularists and in the center. On the other hand, I personally hear a lot of leftists opposing Islamism, from the Left Party to the Greens to the SPD. The Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which is hated by right-wingers, is active in this field, as is the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, associations like Ufuq or the Liberal Islamic League (LIB e), which I co-founded.V). Experts like Claudia Dantschke are an important voice in the fight against Islamism.
When criticism of Islamism turns into Islamophobia
Maybe the outcry and the propaganda of the right-wingers and their keyword givers in the case of Islamist terror is so overwhelming that the left-wingers are just not perceived properly. Perhaps their possibly lower phonetic count is also due to the fact that they choose their words in a more differentiated and considered way precisely because of the implicit danger of discriminating against people?
Too often, the per se correct and important condemnation of Islamism on the conservative side takes on right-wing populist features. Too often, accusers hide behind their justified accusations of Islamist violence messages of Islamophobia, ethnic thinking, and rejection of immigration.
Deconstructing this, however, is left to the left with a clear conscience. And so, with Kevin Kuhnert and Sascha Lobo, one could ask the other way around, why the conservatives are so uncomfortably conspicuously silent when the threat of Islamism is used to exclude alleged "foreigners" to operate. Out of "disinterest"? Out of moral laziness?
Targeting Islamism more closely
The state structures for the fight against Islamism have been expanded over the past two decades, and quite rightly so, and they need to be expanded further. The deadly knife attack in Dresden and the bestial murder of French history teacher Samuel Paty have shown in a shocking way that Islamism is not dead.
- Opinion:Mohammed cartoons belong in the classroom
Against Islamism, there are finally various de-radicalization programs, conferences, research centers, government agencies, inter-ministerial cooperation, while on the subject of racism and right-wing extremism, we have to beg and plead with Horst Seehofer for months to get him to agree to something as self-evident as an objective study.
- Dresden knife attack:Suspected Islamist was observed on the day of the crime
- Content was Hitler parody:Court: Police chat was Hitler parody
- Another incident in Halle:Jewish community smeared with graffiti
Not to leave Islamism to the right is a completely correct demand of Kevin Kuhnert and Sascha Lobo. I have been promoting this myself for years. The alleged leftist appeasement toward Islamists, however, on closer inspection remains primarily a narrative of the right, and therefore one should think carefully about whether one wants to feed it further.
Lamya Kaddor is German with Syrian roots. In her column "Zwischentone" the Islamic scholar, Islamic religious educator and publicist analyzes the topics of Islam and migration for t-online. The views expressed in the guest article reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the t-online editorial team.