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So Much for Euro-Islam
by Bassam Tibi
Bassam Tibi (picture) is a Syrian-born Muslim who moved to Germany, acquired German citizenship and became a professor of political science/international relations. He floated the concept of Euro-Islam, arguing that to become authentically European, Muslims in Europe had reform their understanding of their religion, abandoning concepts like sharia and the jihad. Now, in this interview he gave to the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung (my translation) he seems to admit that this was a forlorn hope.
Mr Tibi, when you look at the revolutions in North Africa, what predominates, concern or joy?
TIBI: In English they would say it's a mixed bag: hope and concern. The hope lies in the fact that large parts of the Arab population are on the streets, articulating their unhappiness without fear. My concern, however, is that the islamists, for example in Egypt, are already preparing to take power in the name of democratisation. The islamist movements are the only ones that know what they want. During the time of repression, they were the only opposition, working in the background and with their power bases in Europe: in Germany, Britain and the Scandinavian countries.
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