Why is Islam viewed as so dangerous
AfD program on Islam"The mind is very dangerous"
The parties' response to the AfD must be to address objective problems objectively and to find solutions based on the Basic Law, said the CDU politician. Formally, the AfD's texts are not open to attack, but the spirit is very dangerous. "At the AfD it has not yet been conclusively clarified whether the party is drifting into the radical right. With his statements, Gauland is already verbally building ahead," said Hintze.
The complete interview for reading:
Dirk-Oliver Heckmann: Peter Hintze from the CDU, Deputy President of the Bundestag, listened in. Good morning, Mr. Hintze.
Peter Hintze: Good morning, Mr. Heckmann.
Heckmann: Islam does not belong to Germany. In your opinion, how bad is this sentence, or is it not bad at all?
Hintze: Yes, I think it is very problematic. The AfD is a fear-mongering party whose creeping radicalization was revealed at the party congress and is also expressed in this sentence. First it was against the euro, then against the refugees, against Europe, now against Islam. And this sentence is extremely dangerous because it simply brings disputes and strife into the population, because it incites people and because it is here that it begins to cement prejudices that are there here and there. And the response of the parties, if I may say so too, of the democratic parties must be: We must address the objective problems. There are a lot of points of contact, and the AfD takes up that. For example ...
Heckmann: We'll get to that in a moment, Mr. Hintze. Let's not put everything in the first answer right away. They say this statement is extremely dangerous. I'll read you a sentence that reads: "Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and therefore does not belong to Germany." Do you know who said that?
Hintze: No. It may be that it was someone from the democratic spectrum.
Heckmann: Yes, that was Volker Kauder, in 2012. That wasn't that long ago.
Hintze: I already suspected that it was him. The point is just this: the real difference is the context. At the AfD, the statements are in a context - I have just mentioned a few other examples - that clearly have a different political approach and that deal with existing problems, which we will talk about in a moment, which of course also exist in relation to Islam. deal with them purely in a polemic manner and not tackle them in a constitutional sense. That is the big difference. The party's entire approach to scare the population and stir up prejudice is what I consider dangerous here.
Heckmann: Volker Kauder could also be accused of that four years ago. This accusation has also been made. But let's get to another question. The AfD is fully committed to the subject of Islam. Are you actually annoyed that you left the issue to the AfD? Because the tendencies towards Islamism, towards Muslim parallel societies too, have apparently been overslept for years.
Hintze: I don't think you can say that. That was recognized and worked on years ago. I just want to give you a few examples. As Federal Minister of Education, Annette Schavan said at the time that we have to see that we also have Islamic theology at German universities so that there can be a conversation between tradition and the present. With it through the university theology also the question, how can such a 1400 year old belief also speak in today's reality and how can the questions of the present of modernity be connected with the questions of belief of tradition. That was already an approach. There are a lot of approaches that can be done in schools here. This was originally done through native-speaking Turkish lessons, then also through an Islamic lesson, where the children are informed and at the same time learn what the values and beliefs are here in Germany. A lot has already been done. Nevertheless - and you just interrupted me, but that was your right - there are of course objective problems that exist. And it is the task of politics to take people's questions and worries seriously, to address these objective problems and then to find solutions here on the basis of our Basic Law.
Heckmann: Taking the problems seriously and tackling the problems, that's what the AfD says of itself, that it does. She also says that she picks up on the mood in the population, not stirs it up, but takes it up. Should the other parties do the same, as I have to mention Volker Kauder again in the context, who recently demanded that the mosques should be monitored?
Hintze: I think Volker Kauder is one of the most important representatives of religious freedom in Germany and worldwide. He is known for that and he performs. But now I want to go into your question. What objective problems are there and what makes people restless? One is the global phenomenon of Islamist terrorism, which here and there also has small and very small support groups here in Germany. And of course that makes people nervous. And when, as with me in Wuppertal, a self-appointed Sharia police suddenly appear, then it worries the population. That is very clear and understandable. Second, of course, one notices, even when living together, that many families still have very patriarchal structures that are not necessarily compatible with our family image. We have to talk about this too, it is talked about. Thirdly, the issue of inequality for women or the question of equality for women naturally play a very important role. Here, too, there is a religious imprint where we say no, that is not our understanding. And of course New Year's Eve in Cologne was another shock, because it was a small part, but a very violent part here, that committed attacks, that people got a shock, so that the danger of generalizing that was easy is great. But the difference between the AfD and the democratic parties is this: We negotiate on the level of our constitutional state, our constitution, our convictions. And they negotiate it on a purely polemical level, make a mixture of it, scare people, stir up prejudices. And that's the huge danger. You have to say one thing about the sentence that Islam does not belong to Germany. The people who live here, after all four, five, six million Muslims, have their home here and we have to defend that together. And they also have the right to practice their religion according to the Basic Law. And we have to defend that. And whoever questions that is just dangerous.
Heckmann: Well The AfD says it is not questioning that. The Muslims who live in Germany should be allowed to practice their faith. Alexander Gauland has just said that again to us on Deutschlandfunk. And of course the party would also reject the fact that the AfD is not a democratic party.
Hintze: Difference between text and context in the AfD
Hintze: No, watch out. Then I want to explain it again. The difference, the real difference, is this: Of course, the AfD addresses issues that concern many people. And that seems to get caught. But what is dangerous is this difference between inner and outer truth. The external truth, the truth that is expressed, is always such that care is always taken to ensure that the closeness to the right-wing extremists is not too great, although the whole catalog of topics is completely identical to the right-wing extremists in our country, including the non-democrats totally covers. You see that the texts are edited in such a way that they cannot be formally attacked properly. That is tactical behavior. But the mind that assumes it is very dangerous. And this difference has to be pointed out between the text and the context that exists here.
Heckmann: Yes exactly. That's a good keyword, right-hand demarcation or right-hand demarcation that may not be there. Marcus Pretzell, the chairman of the AfD in North Rhine-Westphalia and a member of the European Parliament, has now announced that he wants to join the faction in the European Parliament, which also includes the right-wing extremist Front National. In your opinion, where is the AfD headed?
Hintze: Yeah, that's the big question. So far we have seen various steps towards radicalization. The clearest signal of radicalization was that Mr Lucke, an economic liberal who founded and created the party, left it with many of his friends. That was the first push. Then there are now the disputes about Thuringia, Saarland and others. The question, if Mr Pretzell's second step threatens to go to a radical right-wing group, is of course also an open signal. I would say that the question of the AfD has not yet been finally decided whether it will slide completely into right-wing extremism, but there is a risk.
Heckmann: Although Mr Gauland just said here on Deutschlandfunk that he would have problems with the National Front as right-wing extremists.
Hintze: Creeping radicalization in the AfD
Hintze: You see, that's another example. These are all preparatory actions according to the motto, when it comes to that. It is well known that he was originally against doing anything with them. But he is now preparing to say verbally, if that happens, well, it's not that bad. And that's what I call creeping radicalization. And there is the danger in this party and that is where the Democrats are called upon to point it out. On the other hand, there are also the many voters who do not want to vote for a right-wing extremist party, but who are worried about certain questions of internal security, but also questions about how the religions deal with each other, so that they too picks up and appeals.
Heckmann: Mr Hintze, right-wing extremists massively disrupted a performance by Justice Minister Heiko Maas in Zwickau yesterday. He had to leave the place under police protection. The process was applauded at the AfD party conference in Stuttgart. What does that say about the climate in Germany?
Hintze: It is a really harrowing process. I saw it on television yesterday, how Maas was being harassed by right-wing extremists. Many people will have seen that too. To applaud something like that, I would say that the mask falls off your face and you can see an ugly grimace behind it. And that's also a warning sign.
Heckmann: The Deputy President of the Bundestag Peter Hintze was that of the CDU. Thank you for your time, Mr. Hintze.
Hintze: May I help you.
Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt statements made by its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.
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