Kai Hafez has been researching the image of Islam in the media and Islamophobia in the West for almost 25 years. In the interview he tells why he is worried that an assassination as in Christchurch could happen in Germany.
TIME ONLINE: Mr. Hafez, how big is the problem with Islamophobia in Germany?
Kai Hafez: Over 50 percent of Germans are susceptible to Islamophobia. We
have a right second division in our society: a more liberal half
and a half vulnerable to Islamophobia. In some
Regions of Germany, in Thuringia and Saxony, Islamophobia increases up to 70 percent or more. Islamophobia is moving
in Germany not only at the edges, but she is far in the middle
of this society.
TIME ONLINE: Why do people reject Islam?
Hafez: There are political,
social and cultural causes. Politically, the classic stereotypes generate
especially the right wing of violent, fanatical and feminist Islam
Fear and rejection among the citizens. The resonance of these topics in the media
reinforces that. From a cultural point of view, our education system hardly provides
alternative information available. Islamic knowledge in schools and also in
Sharing science is often very poor. And this fear cocktail then works in socially weaker milieus, where there is no good for the people, there is little contact with Muslims and scapegoats are searched for their own frustration.
TIME ONLINE: Is that a German feature?
or is there Islamophobia in other countries?
Hafez: Islamophobia is pronounced today in all western countries. In
Interestingly, Germany, the Netherlands and Central Europe are slightly more
as in the old colonial countries England and France. The long Muslim
Immigration history has increased personal contacts in the
Societies and contributed to greater cultural acceptance. We
here talk about a statistically about ten percent less Islamophobia
in these countries, and this despite the fact that there are more and worse Islamist terrorist attacks
TIME ONLINE: How does Islamophobia work?
Hafez: For example, about ideological
Actors who create a certain image of "Islam". They look at that
Islam not as a religion, but as an ideology against which one
legitimately can and must be hostile. That's why Islam falls as well
not under the religion tolerance. Religion becomes political
Danger umetikettiert. We have in the representative study Religion monitor for the Bertelsmann Foundation can show that the same people who
to declare oneself tolerant of all religions, often hostile
are against Islam. They argue that this does not fit in here, he
threaten us and therefore is undesirable here. They can pretend that
tolerant people in the same breath, because they do not even Islam
as a religion or culture worthy of protection, but as a hostile one
TIME ONLINE: Which actors do we talk about?
Hafez: The double standards of the
Image of Islam is very common and can also be found in the
Social Democratic and Liberal bourgeoisie. Ideologically, the strongest
However, it is formulated by all the political forces that are on the right side of the CDU.
There is a clearly Islamophobic program here. In Germany that is
the AfD and related populist actors, they operate in my view classic
Islamophobia. Here and there, they try to disguise their hostility,
by declaring law-abiding Muslims to be welcome – that's what it stands for
Example in the policy program of the AfD. Ultimately, however, statements predominate
make Muslims and Islam generally a threat. Here is clearly operating with Islamophobia and generates arousal, the permanent
Doubts remain as to whether Islam is legitimating its presence in
Germany has. Right-wing populist and right-wing extremist actors harbor
no tolerance for Islam, and thus they are massively violating
the principles of equivalence of religions and ethnic groups, as in
enshrined in our constitution. Here becomes a fundamental and identity difference
constructed: The Islam is not fitting
us, he does not belong here, he is a threat.