Islam Professor Converts from Believer to Non-Believer

05 October 2008

By Dr. Sami Alrabaa October 05 2008

Passages that incite to violence, hatred, and discrimination against women in the Koran and Sunnah must be removed, or viewed in their historic context if Islam and Muslims want to be accepted by the world community.

The German media reported early September 2008 that the German Professor Sven (Muhammad) Kalisch, a Muslim convert, who teaches Islam theology at Münster University, Germany, doubts it very much that Muhammad, the Prophet of Muslims “has ever existed.”

In a public lecture at Bielefeld University, Germany, (27.7.2008), Kalisch laid out his latest position about Islam and the Koran. He said that either Muhammad was a fictitious figure that never existed, or someone like him had existed and later was declared a prophet after his death.

It is good that an Islam expert has dared say that at a time when everybody is intimidated to criticize Islam and its symbols. Almost two years ago though, Kalisch thought and lectured differently. In another public lecture also at Bielefeld University (16.3.2006) he defended Al Shri’a as the law of God. As I confronted him with atrocious passages from the Koran inciting to violence, hatred, and discrimination against women, (check Islam is a violent Faith) he started stuttering and did not know what to say.

Obviously, Kalisch has drastically changed over the past two years, from a dogmatic (convert) Muslim to a “liberal” one. What happened? We do not know. But one thing is clear. Now for many fanatic Muslims, Kalisch is a heretic and apostate. And most certainly one of those grand muftis in the Muslim world will issue a fatwa urging “pious” Muslims to kill Kalisch.

In an interview with the German daily Taz (29.12.2004) Kalisch was asked why he converted to Islam. He answered, “because rationality prevails in Islam”. “Rationality”!? This is laughable. The Koran and the Sunnah are replete with threats, fear, hatred, violence, and discrimination against non-Muslims and women. The word “Islam” means “submission”.

Kalisch’s students are also stunned how the man has changed. On condition of anonymity, one of those students told me, “I don’t know what happened to Professor Kalisch. He used to defend every word in the Koran, even archaic and obsolete things. Now he is rejecting them, and demanding that Islam be reformed. He even said, Islam needs a Martin Luther.”

Kalisch’s students, who in one year will be released to teach Islam at schools, are split between those who follow a moderate course of Islam and those who follow a dogmatic one. Lamya Kaddor, Kalisch’s assistant is still teaching a dogmatic course of Islam.

Ms. Kaddor is indeed popular among her Muslim students (the majority of which are native Turks or Arabs) at the University of Münster and at the Glückauf Pubic School in Western German city of Dinslacken-Lohberg near Essen, as Speigel Online claims on March 14, 2008, and that is so for one simple reason, which Der Spiegel did not mention.

Kaddor repeats ad nauseam in front of her students that the whole world is afraid of Islam because it has the stronger arguments, and sooner or later the Muslim Caliphate, the Muslim empire is coming and will prevail all over the world. Therefore, rejoice!

According to the Turkish Daily Zaman, Kalisch rejected Kaddor’s doctorate dissertation because it was full of plagiarism. Kalisch also accuses his assistant of having peculated huge amounts of research money.

A moderate student of Kalisch told me that the majority of his colleagues would teach a dogmatic variety of Islam.

The Ministry of Education in NRW, the German federal state which commissioned Kalisch to train Islam teachers for schools has been presented a general outline of an Islam course at the NRW schools. The details were left out.

Ayub Axel Köhler, the Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany and some of Kalisch students insist that Islam teachers at German schools must teach the Koran and the Sunnah as they are: “They are word of Allah.”

Wolfgang Borgfeld, who after converting to Islam changed his name to Muhammad Siddiq, established an association he called “The House of Islam” in the south of Frankfurt. The “House”, which used to be a hotel and harbours several halls for seminars and conferences, is financed by the Saudis and Kuwaitis. It is, however, largely a Koran school without any official control.

Recently I visited “The House of Islam” and Mr. Siddiq was delighted to show me his school and meet his students. I was curious and wanted to know what the students (8 – 18 years old) have learned. I asked a 16 year old girl why she was wearing a headscarf . She said she was proud of it because with it she is fulfilling the commandment of Allah. I asked a 15 year old student what Jihad meant. His answer: “It is fighting for Islam to prevail.” I asked further, also with weapons? “If need be, yes.” He heftily replied.

Siddiq’s House has around 60 students. One third of them are converts. And they are quite zealous about Islam. Uta Rasche wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine (September 1, 2004), “The number of those who converted to Islam (in Germany) is between 13,000 and 60,000, according to estimates. In any case, they make up only a small share of Germany’s more than 3 million Muslims.

But many converts have a very special story. Often they are extremely attached to their religion—and sometimes, they are particularly dangerous. They want to prove to themselves and their new fellow worshipers that they take their conversion seriously and therefore have a strong desire to demonstrate their religious commitment.”

Rasche also says, “Certainly, not every visit to an Islamic school produces an extremist, and naturally, not every convert becomes a terrorist. But when Islamic fundamentalists are looking for people in Germany whom they can use for their purposes, young converts have proven to be an ideal target group: They are enthusiastic, want to prove themselves, have severed all their ties and left their western circle of friends behind for the sake of the Muslim community. And there are decisive practical advantages: They have a German passport, can travel without restrictions within Europe, often speak good English and do not look suspicious at all.”

Gudrun Krämer, an Islam Professor at Berlin University (FU) rushed all of a sudden to support Professor Kalisch that the Muslim leader, Muhammad “maybe never existed”. She claimed that she had thought of that and came to the same conclusion. If that were the case, why did she then defend the fictitious Koran in most of her published articles and books?

For instance, she tries to justify the Koran discriminating against women as witnesses. She argues that the testimony of a woman is half as valid as that of a man, according to the Koran, because when women get their menstruation they do not think and remember clearly. Besides, she added, women were illiterate. The truth of the matter is the vast majority of men were also illiterate during the rise of Islam.

In fact, Krämer is not the only relativist among Islam experts in the West. So far, none of these experts has had the courage to criticize the Koran and the Sunnah which preach violence, hatred, and discrimination against women and followers of other faiths.

George Stauth, another Islam relativist, defends Islamism as a reaction to Western colonialism and modern consumerism. Stauth adds, Islamism is a “protest movement” against corruption and despotism in the Muslim world.

This might be the case, but the Islamists, who are inciting to violence, hatred, and discrimination against women inspired by the Koran and Sunnah, are the least qualified to change the status quo situation. If Islamists took over, they would replace the evil by a worse one. They simply reject political and religious pluralism. They reject the others completely.

In any case, we Muslims have the right to practice our religion like followers of other faiths do. But at same time we must skip all those passages in the Koran and Sunnah which preach commandments against human rights, freeze them, or discuss them in their own historic context. Followers of other religions have already done that; the Christians, the Jews, and the others.

Whether the Prophet Muhammad existed or not is insignificant. Islam, however, is a fact of life. But if we, Muslims want to be accepted by the world community, then we must renounce violence, hatred and discrimination against women. We must accept the other faiths as they accept us.

The way up to all that seems to be quite long and thorny. Both peace-loving Westerners and Muslims must work on reaching that aim. Preaching relativism and being fearful to spell out the bitter truth would only strengthen the Islamists and their destructive ideology. There must the fight against extremism and fanaticism begin.

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