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Können Islamisten Liberale sein?


Der türkische Kolumnist Mustafa Akyol (Hürriyet, Star), stellt in der New York Times die Frage der Zeit:

Even the ultra-Orthodox Salafis now have deputies sitting in the Egyptian Parliament, thanks to the ballots that they, until very recently, denounced as heresy.

For those concerned about extremism in the Middle East, this is good news. It was the exclusion and suppression of Islamists by secular tyrants that originally bred extremism. (Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s leading ideologue, was a veteran of Hosni Mubarak’s torture chambers.) Islamists will become only more moderate when they are not oppressed, and only more pragmatic as they face the responsibility of governing.

But there is another reason for concern: What if elected Islamist parties impose laws that curb individual freedoms — like banning alcohol or executing converts — all with popular support? What if democracy does not serve liberty?


Die drängendste Frage, so Akyol, sei nicht, ob Islam mit Demokratie vereinbar ist – sondern mit Liberalismus – mit einer freiheitlichen Ordnung, in der die Rechte der Individuen garantiert sind:

The real debate, therefore, is whether Islam is compatible with liberalism.

The main bone of contention is whether Islamic injunctions are legal or moral categories. When Muslims say Islam commands daily prayers or bans alcohol, are they talking about public obligations that will be enforced by the state or personal ones that will be judged by God?

Akyol zitiert das ambivalente  Beispiel der Türkei, in der die AKP lange Zeit viel für die Verbesserung der Rechtsstaatlichkeit getan hat. Nun aber scheint sie immer stärker den Staat, den sie beherrscht, als Werkzeug zu begreifen, der Gesellschaft die eigenen Werte aufzuzwingen.

Darum gebe es auch in der Türkei, meint Akyol, „reasons to worry that illiberal democracy could emerge. For Turkey still suffers from a paranoid nationalism that abhors minority rights, a heavy-handed judiciary designed to protect the state rather than its citizens, and an intolerant political culture that regards any criticism as an attack and sees provocative ideas as criminal.

These obstacles to liberal democracy are unrelated to religion though; they are the legacy of years of secular but authoritarian politics. But the A.K.P., which has been in power for almost a decade and has introduced important liberal reforms, has lately let its progressivism wane. The party has absorbed some of the traditional illiberalism of the establishment in Ankara, the capital, that it now fully dominates. It has not been too Islamic; it is just proving to be too Turkish.“

Die Herausforderung der AKP, darin gewissermaßen die Avantgarde der islamisch geprägten Parteien, die in der Region nun an die Macht kommen, besteht darin, den Staat nicht als Instrument der tugendhaften Volksmassage zu betrachten. Sie müsse die bürgerlichen Freiheiten verteidigen, darin eingeschlossen die „Möglichkeit zur Sünde“, statt die Staatsgewalt zur Verbreitung ihrer Werte zu benutzen.

And as new questions about religion and public life emerge — Should schools promote Islam? Should alcohol sales be restricted? Should the state instruct private TV channels to uphold “moral values”? — the government must protect civil liberties, including the “freedom to sin,” and constrain those who seek to use state power to impose their values on others.