Islamist? Anti-Semite? Genocide denier?
Nurhan Soykan never defended the Al-Quds demo
Why is the criticism only now?
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After massive criticism, Nurhan Soykan is now not an advisor to the Federal Foreign Office. Among other things, the Muslim has been accused of anti-Semitism and Islamism. But there are doubts. A comment
The Joy of many MuslimsIt only lasted briefly that, in addition to a pastor and a prospective rabbi, a Muslim woman should now be included in the advisory team at the Federal Foreign Office.
After a ministry representative announced Nurhan Soykan’s appointment to the Religion and Foreign Affairs Department on July 20, the retreat followed on Wednesday.
The decision was preceded by massive allegations against the general secretary of the “Central Council of Muslims” (ZMD). In interviews, statements, open letters and petitions, Soykan’s critics had asked the Federal Foreign Office to revoke the appeal. Of a “governmental chew before Islam”, Tweet AfD Vice Beatrix von Storch.
“Why does Heiko Maas bring Gray Wolves to the Federal Foreign Office?”, asks the right-wing conservative blog “Tichy’s insight”. Under the headline “Not this time, Mr. Maas!” referred to the founder of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims, Mina Ahadi, Nurhan Soykan as part of a movement that pursues a “policy of terror, intimidation, murder and massacre of people” (meaning Islam, the “Islamic movement”).
Even in media like The world and The daily mirror the decision of the Federal Foreign Office was criticized. The criticism ranged from accusations of Islamism against member associations of the “Central Council of Muslims” to the allegation that Soykan played down the genocide of the Armenians.
The most important and probably the most serious reproach was the one that brought Soykan close to anti-Semitism. Of the For example, Tagesspiegel wrote“In a 2014 interview, Soykan” defended the Al-Quds demonstrations, which are characterized by hate slogans and anti-Jewish stereotypes. ” The Jerusalem Post made the same story the headline: “German Ministry hires Islamist who defends the destruction of Israel”.
Also the one founded in 2010 Liberal Islamic Covenant (LIB), which sees itself as a counterweight to the large Islam associations perceived as conservative, ultimately opposed Soykan’s appeal and may have been the decisive factor in the withdrawal of the Federal Foreign Office. In a published on Tuesday Open letter LIB chairwoman Odette Yilmaz writes:
With great surprise and incomprehension, however, we took note that the Muslim occupation of the department with Ms. Nurhan Soykan took place. We would like to express our protest against this with all determination.
In addition to allegations of Islamism against member associations of the “Central Council of Muslims”, the LIB also takes up the allegation that Soykan defended the anti-Israel Al-Quds demo. Soykan never did this, however.
In the questionable Interview with Deutschlandfunk on July 25, 2014 While Al-Quds Day is also an issue at the beginning, Soykan’s answers consistently refer to the protests against Israel’s war in Gaza, which was also taking place at the time.
At one point Soykan replied that “above all the young people and young people in Germany who want to venture through the demonstration and who want to show their anger (…) also have to be given the opportunity to express this” .
Critics cite this quotation as trivializing the Al-Quds demos. But here too Soykan does not comment on Al-Quds Day in Berlin, but rather the demos taking place in many cities against Israel’s war in Gaza. Soykan’s critics also mention that Soykan expresses criticism of the slogans and behavior of the demonstrators at several points in the interview:
What I heard there, what slogans were shouted there, also made me very sad, and I think it doesn’t work out. Of course this is level-free and I call on our Muslim siblings once again to refrain from doing this. They should behave as a Muslim is supposed to, and that does not include insulting other religions or defaming them. They should really concentrate on general behavior and exercise restraint.
A statement that can somehow be understood as a relativization of Israel’s right to exist, as the Jerusalem Post claims, can be found in the interview just as little as in Soykan’s other biography.
Like the interview in Deutschlandfunk Kultur most of the sources that critics rely on are several years old. It therefore seems strange that many of those who now consider Soykan persona non grata mark, previously had no problem with their work.
Soykan always sat at the same table with authorities and representatives of other religious communities and Muslim organizations, for example as a participant in the German Islam Conference, a member of the interreligious one Working Group on Religion and Integration (ARI) of the State of NRW and spokeswoman for the Coordinating Council of Muslims.
If one takes a closer look at Soykan’s commitment, the author believes that there are few problems. On the contrary, the resume of the Cologne lawyer was more like a prime example of a volunteer democrat. In the male-dominated environment of Islamic advocacy, she is one of the few women in an important position. In interviews, press releases and on podiums, she warns of Salafists and condemns Islamist terrorist attacks as well as increasing Islamophobia.
Also the Liberal Islamic Covenantwho is now Nurhan Soykan and the Central Council of Muslims among other things, the toleration of “right-wing extremist, Islamist and anti-Semitic ideologies” and “glorification of war” has had little fear of contact in the past. For example, the LIB and ZMK worked together on the German Islamic Conference of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
Even with the discussion group Christians and Muslims of Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) representatives of LIB and ZMD sit around a table. Even as the Liberal Islamic Covenant wanted to celebrate his 10th anniversary on May 30th of this year, he apparently had no problems with representatives of the Central Council of Muslims and invited them to the event.
The fact that this finally had to be canceled was not due to the supposed Islamism or anti-Semitism of individual guests, but to the global corona pandemic.
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