Islam and Democracy

Last Monday I moderated the session on „Islam and Democracy“ in the course on political theory here at the University of Education. The entire Seminar is lead by Prof. Dr. Burth.

When I posted on Facebook, about the preparations for the session,  some people already were very passionate about the subject. And it let to a pile of angry and controversial comments. Now as we have done the session and had some very interesting discussions in there as well, I feel I should write a little bit about it here as well.

I don’t think I can claim to speak authoritatively on that subject, as I had just a short glimpse into this area of study. However it was very interesting and I would hope that my fellow students here at the Politics and the new Islamic studies department, will think about it further and more thorough then I could.

For the discussion I prepared a paper wit the following points:

  1. Islam is compatible with democracy as much as Catholicism is compatible with democracy. The Koran can be interpreted so that it reads compatible with democracy or being compatible with a religious dictatorship.
  2. Islam does not equal Islam, there are enormous differences in religious practice, socio-economic Conditions, national background and interpretation of the scripture.
  3. Nation is still a valid framework for interpretation
  4. There are enormous differences in between Islamic, islamist or islam-inspired parties across the board
  5. Islamist is a invalid shortening for grouping parties. As Christiandemocract is a shortening when you look at the CDU, CVP or the American Republican Party.
  6. For us as students of politics and teachers we should try to create a „Islamic democracy pedagogy“

As a conclusion what do I think? Yes Islam is compatible with democracy, if you want that, as Catholicism is compatible with democracy. But as Catholicism it can be used as an ideological framework to justify oppression and authoritarianism; Islam can be used. However we here in the west have to invest much more time and efforts in trying to understand it. The issue will stay with us, especially with the Arab Spring.

„Islam and Democracy“ weiterlesen

The singing policeman

The video that made him famous:

First Brigadier (etwa Hauptgefreiter) Norman Kamaru, more about him on Inside Indonesia.

See how he is performing

Unfortunatly the GEMA has blocked these videos in Germany!

and this seems to be the first real purposefully produced video clip of him singing:

Who knew that indonesian policeman could be that good at signing indian songs?

On the way home

Today I leave for Germany, via Abu Dhabi to see a friend who is working there as a firefighter. With one eye I’m crying to leave Indonesia with the other I’m looking forward to see my home again.

Dubai become a little scary, when you read this article. From the British Independant.


Heiraten sind ein wichtiger Teil im Leben der Indonesier. Demnach ist eine Hochzeit ein viel größeres Ereignis als bei uns in Deutschland. Neben Freunden und Verwandten, kommen auch immer zahlreiche Arbeitskollegen und die Nachbarn. Soviel Menschen, dass oft die Straße vor dem Haus der Hochzeiter (meist eines der Elternhäuser, da man bis zur Hochzeit bei den Eltern wohnt) mit einem Zelt blockiert wird in dem alle sitzen können.

„Heiraten“ weiterlesen

Facebook Sprech / Bahasa Facebook

Eine der für mich nach wievor am unverständlichsten Spielarten des Indonesischen ist die SMS und Facebook Sprache. Da die meisten Leute hier kein Laptop besitzen, sondern nur ein Handy sind diese nahezu gleich. Problem bei beiden ist, das nahezu alle Wörter verkürzt werden und man sich selbst durch lautes vorlesen dazu denken muß was die Leute meinen. Leider ist das bei mir nur sehr selten erfolgreich. Anbei ein paar Beispiele…

Bengkulu Tourism

Repeatedly Friends ask me if there are any tourist attractions in Bengkulu. Well there are not a lot, and certainly we cannot compete with Cities like Bandung or even places like Lombok. But here we go:

Fort Malborough

is one of the surviving structures stemming from the time Bengkulu and all of south Sumatra was in the hands of the British. And during its best times was as large as Fort Georg ein Madras. Recently it has undergone some renovatiosn due to the visit of SBJ (mostly repainted)

„Bengkulu Tourism“ weiterlesen


Gamelan ist die traditionelle Musik Javas und Balis, hier auf Sumatra habe ich noch kein Gamelan Konzert erlebt. Es sollte aber jeder Indonesien Besucher wirklich versuchen einmal ein Konzert, die es z.B. im Kration in Yogyakarta umsonst zu hören gibt, zu besuchen. Allgemein wird die javanesische Gamelanmusis als ruhiger und weniger interessant als die Balinesische beschrieben.