Right at the beginning of his book “Operation Allah – How Political Islam Wants to Undermine Our Democracy,” the Arabic-Israeli psychologist Ahmad Mansour, one of the most profound experts on the Islamic scene, explains that he must disappoint those who seriously believe that all Muslims are there a danger per se. But he must also disappoint those who accuse him of making Islam bad.
It’s more than a casual tip from a man who, among other things, advises the police, works in schools and has led countless workshops. He hits the core message of his book. It is necessary because critical discussions on certain points of Islam often quickly degenerate into black-and-white thinking.
Mansour, who has long been a German citizen, is often the target of these discussions – and has been confronted with death threats for years.
Mansour, who accompanies families of radicalized young people, positions himself between these poles. He constantly points out that the Muslims do not exist. His focus is on those Muslims who belong to political Islam.
He, who belonged to the radical Muslim Brotherhood as a youth, wants to draw attention to the extent to which democracy can be endangered. For him, infiltration means a long process, at the end of which there could be problems that are difficult to get a grip on.
Mansour defines political Islam as follows: ideologies that understand religion not only spiritually, but add a political dimension by seeking system change.
The goal is a state and social order in which government is governed by the provisions of the religious laws of Islam, Sharia.
It is the way of thinking that represents a patriarchal image of women, rejects sexual self-determination of women from the ground up, describes non-Muslims as unbelievers and immediately describes criticism of such points as a general attack on Islam.
A way of thinking that describes democracy as Islamophobic and teaches values in ultra-conservative Koran and language schools that have little to do with Western ideas of tolerance.
Representatives of this political Islam, according to Mansour, use the structures of democracy to spread, in the police, in politics, in science, in the media, in integration and social work.
Mansour breaks this down in detail. The consideration of politicians for the Islamic organization DITIB, for example. DITIB is the extended arm of Turkish President Erdogan, but DITIB is still considered a partner in discussions and negotiations.
And because the representatives of political Islam do not of course officially represent any radical theses, they are regarded as contacts for politicians and the media. A mistake from Mansour’s point of view. There is no universal mouthpiece for Muslims.
And according to Mansour, political Islam, which cultivates the victim role of Muslims, cleverly exploits another point. Criticism of Islam’s radical way of thinking is often immediately interpreted as racism or Islamophobia or xenophobia. Mansour complains that nobody wants to be exposed to this accusation.
Muslim women who are oppressed receive little attention
It is indeed striking that in society the fight for women’s rights and sexual self-determination and tolerance is being waged intensively and loudly on the one hand, while at the same time one group tends to go unnoticed: those Muslim women and girls who can only dream of self-determination and tolerance .
They are not allowed to have sex before marriage, they are often not allowed to fall in love with the people they really like, many are forced to wear headscarves because of family or community pressure otherwise.
Many teachers observe that Muslim schoolgirls are being watched by their brothers in the schoolyard. It all takes place below the radar. Most Muslims, Mansour also says, “have nothing to do with political Islam”.
But a minority is vocal, influential and – a threat to democracy. “That’s exactly why,” he writes, “it is so important to recognize the problem, to name it clearly and in a differentiated manner, and to take countermeasures as a society as a whole.”