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

Reading for Academia

Counting on Google Books – in „the chronicle of higher education“ is about the recently published google N-gramm viewer and its implications on the study of history of the humanities. The N-gramm viewer itself is a fantastic thing and will lend to many hours time spend over the coming Christmas holidays. (see an instant n-gramm of the published interest in Germany about Indonesia) The researchers website can be accessed here.

There are two interesting articles on language log on it.

As you see on the weekend I was near and in Munich and we made a wonderful trip to Neuschwanstein castle. More Fotos if you click on it.

„Reading for Academia“ weiterlesen

Fest des Fastenbrechens

Ab dem zweiten Tag des Fest des Fastenbrechens besucht man Freunde zuhause
Ab dem zweiten Tag des Fest des Fastenbrechens besucht man Freunde zuhause

Am 10.September war der wichtigste Feiertag der Muslime und da Bengkulu zu ca. 80% Muslimisch ist, ist es natürlich ein rießiger Feiertag hier bei uns.

Die ersten Tage feiern die meisten Leute bei sich zuhause mit ihren Familien, morgens geht man in die Moschee und betet, danach ist man etwas, das öffentliche Leben kommt fast vollständig zum erliegen, daher es gibt keinen ÖPNV, die Läden haben zu und generell ist es sehr ruhig. „Fest des Fastenbrechens“ weiterlesen

MTQN 23 in Bengkulu: National Koran reading competition

Contributions from all of Indonesias 33 Provinces
Contributions from all of Indonesias 33 Provinces

Starting at the 5th we have the big national Koran reading and reciting competition here in Bengkulu. MTQN.

Whilst I thord that a Koran reading competition would be a very pious and serious affair, here the people think of something else.

The big party - opend by the president
The big party - opend by the president

Around the stadium the opening ceremony took place, there is huge fair and you can buy clothes, sweets and lots of other things. It has more a country fair feeling or for the Freiburg people it feels more then the „Schalten und Walten“ with stands from the local farmers cooperative, and tourist office.

„MTQN 23 in Bengkulu: National Koran reading competition“ weiterlesen

My name is Khan – anschauen!

Yesterday evening I was in the cinema here in Bengkulu. Despite the small selection of films that are shown it is a good cinema and you can’t say anything badly about the price, we paied 15000 IDR (about 1,50 EUR) for our film.

We watched „My Name is Khan“. The experience from watching it in a majority muslim country, togehter with some muslim friends has to be much difficult from doing so in Germany. It reflects the fear of many young muslim, who fear they will be discriminated when they trave to the US or any other western country. And it is reminiscent of the fears many western people, who have never met any educated muslim or rather any muslim at all have. Simply because they don’t know about muslim traditions, regligion and their practice.

The movie will be on in Germany from June 10th.

Website of the Film and the German Website

Die Indonesier und der Islam

die große Moschee in Jakarta
die große Moschee in Jakarta Bild: wikipedia

Hier in Bengkulu gibt es eine katholische Kirche und in der ganzen Provinz 7000 Katholen. Daneben noch diverse Evangelische Kirchen unter anderem auch für das Volk der Batak, die hier auch eine große Minderheit sind.

Die Mehrheit hier und in Indonesian sind Muslime. Und da gbit es die unterschiedlichsten Ausgaben der Frömmigkeit. Von Leuten die mehrmals am Tag beten bis zu solchen die man nie beten sieht und auch nicht in die Moschee gehen. „Die Indonesier und der Islam“ weiterlesen