"The Charter Remains Ambiguous in Matters of Equal Rights"

Interview with Safter Cinar, spokesman for the Turkish Community Association of the State of Berlin-Brandenburg.

You described the Islamic Charter as a "sample without value". It is supposedly capable of deceiving the public. Harsh words for the Central Council of Muslims in Germany!

Safter Cinar: Yes, but the criticism is quite justified. The Charter is not convincing. It often mentions that Islamic law requires the recognition of the "local legal system". This supposedly holds true particularly for Muslims in diaspora. But the matter at hand is not the local legal system in the Federal Republic of Germany, but rather universal values. Democratic values should not only be internalized and defended here, but throughout the world as well. You cannot only refer to the diaspora situation and say "I live here in the Federal Republic of Germany, whatever happens in other countries in the name of Islam is therefore none of my business."

You mean the human rights situation in the Islamic world?

Cinar: Yes. The Charter does not take a clear stand on the role of women in Islam. It only says that men and women have the same duties. But that is not the issue at hand. It's much more important to know whether or not they have the same rights as men do and you find very little about this in the Charter. The only exception is that women are guaranteed the right to vote. But that goes without saying even in countries like Iran.

When debatable or controversial issues are skimmed over in the formulation, why was the Charter even created, in your opinion?

Cinar: You have to take the background of the attacks on September 11, 2001 into account. There was a great deal of controversy in Germany about Islam and the extent to which Islam was connected in the attacks. The Central Council of Muslims wanted to show that they conform to German society. The call for a Muslim representative grew louder and louder from the politicians' side. But I think the problem in Germany and central Europe is that Islam does not have organizations, organizations like churches, priests or ministers. Islam says yes, faith is a matter between an individual and God. That's why hardly anything has happened for hundreds of years. Many believers still find it hard to organize groups because it contradicts their basic understanding of religion. In other words, it would be false to assume that the Central Council speaks for all Muslims in Germany.

Interview: Arian Fariborz, Translation: Helen Groumas

© 2003 Qantara.de

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