According to the Syrian-German philosopher Bassam Tibi (1) there is a major difference between islamism and islam, which is currently manifesting itself so dominantly on the world stage. The first is a fourteen hundred year old religious-cultural tradition, the second is a political religion that has disconnected itself from tradition for the purpose of creating a new World order based on a totalitarian ideology.
Contrary to what Dutch politician Geert Wilders and islam-critics like Robert Spencer belief, the islamic religion itself is not a totalitarian ideology, though many westerners have this impression since the political islam, starting with the foundation of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt 1928, is gaining influence in the islamic world and the west.
The AKP of Erdogan also has its roots in this movement, which becomes more apparent every year with the policy of the ‘great leader’ of Turkey, who is not just stimulating a ‘conservative-islamic’ revival, but who has his mind set on the resurrection of the old Ottoman Empire, reestablishing the borders of a once mighty civilization, followed by an expansion to the continent of Europe. By reaching out to Turks in the ‘diaspora’, by stimulating them to have more children by offering them all sorts of financial benefits and directly influencing their voting-behaviour (with personal mail to voters in Germany and the Netherlands advising them to vote AKP) (2), Erdogan is operating in the field of political-religious indoctrination. Journalists in Turkey who criticise his policy can no longer do their work safely, since they risk being jailed on the accusation of ‘terrorism’ or espionage. They also risk being beaten up by people sympathising with Erdogan’s politics. Critical newspapers have been brought under the control of the gouvernment and their websites are taken down. More and more Erdogan is turning into a despotic leader, with political opponents saying ‘the word democracy is not in his vocabulary’.
The so-called ‘long arm of Ankara’ has become more threatening now then in the past, where it represented mostly Turkish-nationalist influence. The Turkish state-islam Dinayet was a product of Kemal Atatürk, who wished for a strong separation of church and state in Turkey. Another Turkish organisation that is active in Europe, Milli Görus, used to be the ideological opponent of Dinayet, but since the rise to power of the very religious Erdogan, the two have been growing closer. A consequence for Europe, is that Turkish influence in the diaspora will become more religious in character, or to state it more precisely, wil be a nationalistic-religious infiltration, rooted in political islam. Exactly how threatening that is for Europe with its plural society en secular values has been explained for many years by Bassam Tibi and in his book of 2012 Islamism and Islam he pays special attention to the AKP of Erdogan.
The Hamas Charter
Tibi warns that politicians and policymakers should not be fooled by the fenomenon that so-called ‘moderate’ islamists sometimes participate in elections, pretending to embrace the democratic values that support them. When we read the manifests that are the foundation of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, or the Hamas-charter (3) from the movement currently in power in Gaza, which is very similar in content (as is the ideology of the political party of Erdogan), will soon discover that democracy for these organisations is merely a means to an end. The real goal is the domination of an islamic World order (nizam islami) that wil eventually replace secular values.
Tibi emphasizes he is not talking about mainstream-islam, which he describes as ‘islamic tradition’ (with different law schools, science, art, culture, mysticism, philosophy), but the political islam that wants to force ‘Divine rule’ upon the World, with no respect for ‘human creations’ such as democracy, secularism en human rights. The most extreme examples of this ideology are al-Qaeda, ISIL(Islamic State), al Shabaab and others that manifest themselves in a bloody and brutal way by terrorist-attacks to reach their goals, but non-violent islamists (who are greater in number) also have a totalitairian outcome envisioned, and for that purpose engage in ‘doublespeak’. They seem to adjust to a secular system of democratic principles and plural values, but their ultimate goal is to abolish it. For example, before entering government, Turkisch Prime Minister Erdogan said: "Democracy is like a train. We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want."
With the AKP ruling Turey, it becomes harder every day for independent Turkish journalists to do their work. On october 1, 2015 a news anchor of Turkish CNN, Ahmet Hakan was beaten up by four men in front of his house, just weeks after prosecutors launched an investigation into the paper’s owner, Doğan Media Group, for alleged “terrorism propaganda“.(4) He is one of the few journalists in Turkey today remaining openly critical about Erdogan and his party. Great military parades that resemble those of fascist and communist leaders in recent history, must demonstrate unity under an islamist-nationalist leadership of Erdogan, slowly trying to transform Turkey in a kind of theocracy, which horrifies Turks who believe in a separation of church and state and freedom of speech. Turkey now gets another chance to negotiate EU-membership, not because it qualifies for it on reasonable grounds, but out of necessity, because Europe is unable to deal with a major refugeesproblem on its own. I personally would rather welcome two or three times the number of refugees now coming to Europe (under strict conditions for integration/ assimilation) then to have 80 million Turks join Europe under the flag of Erdogans’ religious madness. There exists a video showing one of Erdogan’s speeches delivered during his term as Istanbul’s Mayor, (1994-1998) where he says:
"You cannot be both secular and a Muslim! You will either be a Muslim, or secular! When both are together, they create reverse magnetism [i.e.they repel one another]. For them to exist together is not a possibility! Therefore, it is not possible for a person who says "I am a Muslim" to go on and say "I am secular, too." And why is that? Because Allah, the creator of the Muslim, has absolute power and rule!" (5)
There is no indication that Erdogan has since then changed his ideas on this topic, for he is currently surrounded by islamist advisers en reads mainly islamist newspapers. His advisor and foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu is also an islamist, with neo-Ottoman ambitions that have alarmed the Americans, especially by the ‘imperialistic tone’ of a 2010 speech he gave in Sarajevo where he stated ‘that the Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East were all better off when under Ottoman control or influence; peace and progress prevailed. Alas the region has been ravaged by division and war ever since.... However, now Turkey is back, ready to lead or even unite.’ Davutoglu: 'We will re-establish this (Ottoman) Balkan'."(6)
People who are still in doubt whether islamism, of which Erdogan’s AKP is also an offshoot, is really dangerous, should make study of the fenomenon of antisemitism in de World of islam today. Bassam Tibi differentiates between two sorts of antisemitism in his book Islamism and Islam, the traditonal judeophobia (problems Mohammed encountered by trying to make converts among the jewish tribes, and the reflection of his struggle in several Koran -and hadith-passages), and the modern antisemitism, that is often camouflaged as ‘antizionism’ (against zionist-politics) but in reality for most islamists a strong jew-hatred. A shocking fact that is still unknown to many people, is that the antisemitism of the Islamic Brotherhood, who is providing the ideological basis for islamist-movements around the globe, is rooted in -and modelled after the antisemitism of the nazi-party of Adolf Hitler.
The antisemitism of the islamists is older then the conflict between Israel and the people of Palestine, and rises far above political tensions in the region. The Islamic Brotherhood started twenty years before the founding of the state of Israel. ‘The antisemitism of the Brotherhood’, says Tibi, ‘is of a cosmic scale en represents a battle against the ‘Jew’ as eternally ‘evil’ looking for world domination. The ‘Jew’ invented both communism and capitalism, to keep the world devided and to gain worldwide control from ‘behind the curtains’, by using christians (‘crusaders’) and ‘secret societies’ as their proxies, for the purpose of preventing the islam to rule the world as the only true religon.
There are no moderate totalitarian thinkers
This great jewish conspiracy (naturally in cahoots with the Freemasons) is supposed to be the real reason why islam in modern times is going through a crisis. It has of course, nothing to do with the historical facts that tell us that the World of islam has fallen asleep in de field of science since 1500, resulting in a loss of militairy strength that changed the Ottoman Empire into colonial territory, under the rule of European nations. No, there must be a dark cosmic reason that is preventing the islam from ruling the world. Seyyed Qutb, the ideologist of the Islamic Brotherhood, wrote in his book ‘Our struggle with the jews’:
“This is an enduring war that will never end, because the Jews want no more and no less than to exterminate the religion of Islam…Since Islam subdued them they are unforgiving and fight furiously through conspriacies, intrigues, and also through proxies who act in the darkness against all that Islam incorporates.” (7)
The Islamic Brotherhood nowadays has renounced the violent behaviour from the past, but it never changed its ideological structure. Different islamist-movements who participate in elections to demonstrate a peaceful political strive, still maintain their armed militias to intimidate their political opponents.
Western political leaders
Throughout his work Tibi keeps reminding us that for islamists democracy is only a means to an end. To his annoyance he notices that western political leaders are opening their doors to ‘moderate’ islamists in the Middle East, Europe and the US, and this is a great strategic fault. There are no moderate totalitarian thinkers, although their appearance is often adapted to western leaders’ expectations, giving them politically correct answers. The constant use by islamists of the terms ‘islamophobia’, ‘islam-hatred’, xenophobia to defame islamcritics (including liberal muslims like Tibi) shows that in their world there is no room for difference of opinion. People are working towards or against the ultimate goal of an Islamic Worldorder, an invention of modern times, because the Islamic State as envisioned by islamists has no precedent in islamic history.
The Islamic State
According to Tibi there never existed an Islamic State (a romanticised image of Mohammed’s rule over Medina), for the successive muslim empires had different forms of gouvernment with different religious and philosophical ideologies. The fact that these empires were islamic did not mean they represented a statemodel of islam or that shari’a-law was executed by the gouvernment. Shari’a in traditonal sense means civil law, with different outcomes in particular cases, according to the verdict of different jurists, because muslimbelievers could always ask for a ‘second opinion’. It was important in traditional Shari’a law to weigh carefully, after consulting different theological en legal texts, and make a wise decision in a particular case. There was no universal religious law imposed by the state. Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989 was already a political invention of religious law says Belgium writer Lucas Catherine. Other ayatollahs in Iran at the time protested against the fatwa because of its non-traditional nature. Bassam Tibi therfore calls islamism an ‘invention of traditon’, since this ideology is in theological, judicial and political sense not traditional at all.
Erdogan’s AKP is part of this political-religious fabrication, although it tries to present itself as democratic. But intimidation of political opponents and journalists, dubious statements made by Erdogan in the past about secularism and how much he dislikes it, trying to influence votingbehaviour of muslims in Europe and building a megalomaniac presidential palace in Ankara, show us that Erdogan is not an ordinary democrat, but a dangerous demagogue with delusions of grandeur and a hidden agenda for Europe. The ‘creeping islamisation’ of Turkey, in the words of Turkisch-American analyst Zeyno Baran, is happening before our eyes. The political leaders of Europe should wake up from their dreams, because moderate islamism does not exist, just like moderate nazi’s don’t exist. Antisemitism, the aversion towards secularism, pluralism and democratic values are strong in both ideologies.
(5) A video clip of one of Prime Minister Erdogan’s speeches delivered during his term as Istanbul’s Mayor, (1994-1998) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg3hkWCnA8c