Terror, beheadings, propaganda: followers of radical Islam continue to work unswervingly to establish a worldwide caliphate. But who are these people? And how dangerous are they? Saïda Keller-Messahli has been dealing with this issue for years: “Islamists are infiltrating our society,” says the expert who fights against radical imams and mosques. She demands that politicians take stronger action now, otherwise this will have serious consequences – for Switzerland, Germany and all of Europe.
In the latest video of “NZZ Standpunkte” with NZZ editor-in-chief Eric Gujer, Keller-Messahli therefore does not hold back with criticism. She never does. For some she is “one of the most courageous women in Switzerland” (” Newspaper NZZ am Sonntag”), for others “an out-of-control bulldozer who flattens everything that gets in her way in terms of arguments” (TV show “Sternstunde Religion”).
She leaves few people unimpressed. In the programme, Keller-Messahli talks about misogynistic schoolchildren, police protection – and she says why itinerant preachers are so dangerous.
Criticism of political Islam is still only voiced behind closed doors, says Keller-Messahli. This is becoming a problem in schools in particular. Muslim children often already have precise ideas about how girls should dress – preferably with a headscarf. “The children are bringing their ideology into our schools.
This leads to tensions, says Keller-Messahli and gives an example: “Female teachers are told: ‘I won’t listen to you anyway because you are a woman’. That is unacceptable.” Instead of meeting school friends and socialising, she says, Muslim children spend their free Saturdays and Sundays in mosques. “There they are indoctrinated.”
Radical itinerant preachers are a big problem. “They go from mosque to mosque in Switzerland and spread inhuman, anti-freedom and anti-women propaganda,” she says. The Salafists take advantage of the fact that freedom of religion is guaranteed in a democracy. Keller-Messahli therefore calls for controls. Every doctor needs a licence to practise. “Why not imams too?” She therefore advocates training in Switzerland. Switzerland has no overview at all of who preaches and where, but that is absolutely necessary: “When Islam becomes political, we have to react.
Keller-Messahli therefore expects support from politicians, but sometimes the opposite is the case. There are leftists – mostly Greens or socialists – who reflexively defend political Islam, even if the people preach against equality and freedom. “The leftists are useful idiots,” says Keller-Messahli. “They serve the Islamists, not only in Switzerland but in many countries in Europe.
For example, most of her fellow allies in Germany are under police protection, she reveals in the broadcast. “That is sad and a scandal.” Keller-Messahli co-founded a liberal mosque in Berlin that is run by the female lawyer and Imam Seyran Ates. There, men and women have equal rights, and same-sex couples are also accepted. Since then, Seyran Ates has been threatened by Islamists. They do not get real help from the authorities: “Liberal Muslims are abandoned by politics.
But they are decisive. If there is to be an improvement, it must come from the Muslims themselves in Europe, says Keller-Messahli. They have the chance to develop something new and to practice a criticism of religion that really deserves the name – but the critics still censor themselves too often.