Writer Ralph Giordano has renewed his statements critical of Islam in connection with the construction of a central mosque in Cologne. At the same time, Giordano defended himself in an interview with the ddp news agency on Tuesday against accusations that he was siding with radical right-wing forces with his opposition to the planned mosque.
"This claim is absurd, the opposite is true," Giordano said. Rather, he said, there is "an unholy alliance" of radical Muslim circles in Germany, which together with German right-wing extremists spread anti-Semitic propaganda and threaten or even attack Jewish people.Giordano accused politicians of "ignoring the will of the population, the majority of which is against the construction of the mosque". It is frightening that many people do not dare to show this publicly "because they are either afraid of being put in the extreme right-wing corner or of being threatened by Muslims". This is "a highly dangerous situation," the publicist warned.The Center for Turkish Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen conceded that Giordano's concerns about Islamist-motivated anti-Semitism in Germany were also justified. In addition, Giordano's services to a tolerant German society cannot be overestimated, "and in the past far beyond the fight against anti-Semitism," said spokesman Dirk Halm. "But if he now wants to make the right to freedom of religion dependent on the will of the majority of the German population and even wants protests against this right, he is, apparently out of fear of Islam, calling his own and the principles of the constitutional state into question," Halm said.
The interview in the wordingddp: Mr. Giordano, you are accused of siding with right-wing extremists, namely the "Pro Koln" initiative, in your opposition to the construction of a central mosque.
Giordano: This claim is absurd, the opposite is the case. "Pro Cologne" tried, after the controversy was published, to harness me to their political cart. What should connect me as a Holocaust survivor with these people?? These people, the local version of contemporary National Socialism, would, if they could, put me in the gas chamber. I have said this publicly and "Pro Cologne" has filed a criminal complaint against me.
ddp: Your discussion with Bekir Alboga, the dialog officer of the Turkish-Islamic Union Ditib, also caused controversy because you called burqa-wearing women "human penguins". Keep up this formulation?
Giordano: Of course, this word is not directed against the dignity of women, but against those who make sure that a woman is veiled from head to toe. As if the history of Islam until now was not a single institutionalized degradation of women! The indignation against it I feel as summit of the hypocrisy.
ddp: Nevertheless, your clear positioning has apparently irritated some people.
Giordano: Yes, because it was overdue. In the conversation with Alboga, I appealed to Cologne's mayor Fritz Schramma (CDU) and the city councillors to withdraw the building permit. Because a large mosque would be a wrong signal, because it would pretend a supposedly successful integration of Muslims. But integration has failed.
ddp: How does this manifest itself?
Giordano: Citizens encounter massive problems in everyday life with Muslims that play no role in public policy debate. Aggressive youths, for example, who threaten or rob other peers as gangs. Young women in migrant families are raped or murdered by family members to restore the supposed family honor. There are deep cultural divides, also because there has been no integration policy so far that defines the rules of the game for immigrants. I accuse the politicians of still hiding these things that lead to great anger among the population.
ddp: But there has been an Islam conference for a few months now where these problems are being addressed.
Giordano: It won't do much good if things go on as they are. I am not denouncing the Muslim minority in Germany when I warn that there are forces within it that use the liberal framework and tolerance of the Western world to impose their totalitarian ideas of state and society. These people want to undermine the liberal rules of the game and the constitutionality of the rule of law. I warn against forces that refuse simple cultural standards of the West like sports, swimming, sex education, coeducation, class trips. Standards that have been fought for for centuries. There are indeed forces that teach a strictly Sharia-oriented Islam, demand the strictest separation of the sexes – and all this in the name of anti-Western indoctrination. This is the only thing I have warned against, and against this background I have declared the construction of a central large mosque in Cologne and elsewhere to be a totally misguided project.
ddp: There are also secular Muslims in Germany. Giordano: My appeal is not directed against the mass of Muslims, but against the forces in our country that expressly do not want integration and wish for a creeping Islamization. And against these people should be acted more sharply than before. There is no alternative to peaceful integration, but where it does not take place, this must also be addressed. I find it frightening that many people do not dare to show this publicly, because they are afraid of either being put in the extreme right corner or being threatened by Muslims. The guilt complex from the Nazi era still has an effect today. ddp: Have you been threatened by Muslims?Giordano: I have already clearly received death threats by phone from Muslims. As a Jew in Germany, I do have some experience with this. But the ductus of hatred that I had to listen to shocked me. Especially since there is an unholy alliance of radical Muslim circles in Germany who, together with German right-wing extremists, spread their anti-Semitic propaganda and use modern communication techniques to do so.