Annette Schavan says: “There are warmongers who embrace religion. But that does not mean that religion promotes war. Religion has the great power to bring peace.” It doesn’t seem to occur to her that there is not a single unified entity called “religion,” or that different religions actually teach different values. She assumes that whatever is labeled “religion” teaches peace, and that anyone who commits violence in the name of “religion” must be importing his violent impulses from elsewhere, not deriving them from the teachings of “religion.”
She also says: “People are upset by the numerous attacks and wonder, ‘Should we equate these images of violence with Islam?’ One gets the impression that Islam is part of the problem. But that’s not true. It must become clear that it is part of the solution.” That is a fine assertion, but that’s all it is. Where have we ever actually seen Islam be part of the solution? Our expectations have become so low; if Islam were really a Religion of Peace that had been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, we could realistically expect to see a genuine mass Muslim movement against jihad terror comprising a significant segment of the Muslim population worldwide, dedicated to an honest reinterpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah so as to mitigate their capacity to incite violence. Instead, there is an avalanche of pro-forma Muslim condemnations of terror by groups such as CAIR, which has ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, plus just a handful of Muslim individuals and groups who actually take a stand against jihad activity in all its forms, but have no significant following among Muslims. Many of the latter group, moreover, also deny that there is anything in the Islamic texts that needs reforming.
So we have yet to see Islam be “part of the solution,” but Annette Schavan and her colleagues are betting the future of Europe on the hope that it will “become” part of that solution, any day now.
“Germany’s Vatican ambassador: ‘Islam is part of the solution,'” DW, January 17, 2016:
Germany’s ambassador to the Vatican, Annette Schavan, still sees religion as a peacemaker, despite wars and terrorism. In an interview with DW, she calls for more interfaith dialogue and respect between all religions.
Deutsche Welle: After the New Year’s Eve harassment incidents in Cologne, a highly charged atmosphere with regard to migrants has developed in Germany. How do people in Rome assess the events in Germany?
Annette Schavan: The Vatican knows about all the new attempts to exploit religion as a justification for violence. Germany is viewed as a country that does a lot for refugees. The pope has explicitly commended this in his New Year’s speech.
Can religion today still serve as a peacemaker or has it already become a driving force behind wars?
There are warmongers who embrace religion. But that does not mean that religion promotes war. Religion has the great power to bring peace. People are upset by the numerous attacks and wonder, “Should we equate these images of violence with Islam?” One gets the impression that Islam is part of the problem. But that’s not true. It must become clear that it is part of the solution.
The pope has called on all Christians to take in refugees. In the current situation, does that sound like utopian neighborly love?
Germany has set an excellent example with its “culture of welcome,” which is still not a thing of the past. Of course, many people are anxious. That is exactly what the terrorists want. They do not want a culture of welcome for refugees. One of the things the refugees are fleeing is the terrorists. If we consider integration and welcoming culture to be utopian, then the terrorists have achieved a great deal….
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