Germany has been as vociferous as France among the G 8 nations in opposing the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. It has also been increasingly skeptical of Washington's war on terrorism.
Germany also has a sophisticated understanding of, and good relations with, the Muslim world. In addition, it considers itself the closest European ally of Israel.
The German perspective on terrorism, especially on young European jihadists, is, therefore, useful.
"We need a dialogue with the Muslim world but there's too much distrust," said a very senior policy official in Berlin in a lengthy and candid interview, given on condition of anonymity, and conducted before last week's bombings in London.
"There's distrust because of our double standards," he said, citing the Arab-Israeli dispute, and because of what he called the Bush administration's "hegemonic" policy: Occupying Iraq to control the oil and the region, especially Iran, and controlling Afghanistan to have access Central Asian oil and gas reserves.
Worse, the Americans are carrying out the policy "in such a blunt way that they can't see that they are destroying everything in their path ...
"When the American soldiers see Iraqi women and children in a car, how can they shoot?"
Yet, he said, Washington wonders: "'Why do they hate us?' Easy. They hate us because of the policies."
On the other side, many Arab regimes use the Arab-Israeli dispute to justify their own oppression. That's why the American push for democracy, if it is serious, is welcome, he said.
Some hardline Muslim clerics, he noted, "will not recognize Christians and Jews" and won't talk to us. But the West must open up a dialogue with the broader Muslim world.
Instead, he said, "Americans want to tame Islam. They are looking for Muslims to be 'good Muslims.' They are looking for Muslims who agree with them. They are talking to what (British author) Tariq Ali calls the 'House Arabs,' like the 'House Negro.' That doesn't work."
Such "House Arabs" and, increasingly, "House Muslims," he said, "know exactly what to say. They say all the things Americans want to hear. And the Americans say, 'How bright, how wonderful.'
"This is wrong. We need people with whom we can have a frank dialogue."
There has also been an increasing tendency among some Americans to blame Islam, he said, even though "the problems of the Muslim world are not faith-based.
"The problems are secular. They are political. They are problems of joblessness, poverty and corruption. They are not faith-based.
"At a conference, someone asked me: 'What are we going to do about the problem of the Qu'ran?'
"I asked: 'You want to rewrite it or what?'
"You cannot discuss the methodology of the Qu'ran any more than you can the methodology of the Bible or the Torah or any other divine text.
"This is foolishness.
"All religions go through their own historical evolution. Outsiders can't force it.
"We would not like it if a Muslim came and said to the Germans that Luther was silly, or that this or that part of the Bible makes no sense in this day and age. "I think this is very dangerous."
The official also shed light on the German perspective on young European jihadists, who are active not only in Iraq but in Europe.
"For many frustrated Muslim youth, it's some kind of adventurism, like people joining the French Legion.
"They come together. They are revalidated. They feel self-important.
"Their rhetoric is the same as that of the (defunct) leftist movements, as the Baader-Meinhoff Gang or the Red Brigades - 'fighting for the underdogs.'"
A similar spirit drove the jihadists who went to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Soviet occupation.
"We welcomed it then. Now, it's a big dilemma."
He added: "We need a serious dialogue with Muslims, especially the Muslim youth ...
"We are talking too much. We need to listen more to Muslims and take them as partners" in the war against terrorism.
H.A (aka Southerncross) is here...No, I am not your soulmate & I am not going forincate w/ you because civilized people do not fornicate in the name of modernity and high spirit...Here is my true message to you:
... Bush (your "smart" boy) and Americans (99.9%) are mass murderers, too. You all should be taken to Hague and put on trial for committing crime against humanity. THAT'S THE TRUTH.
Talk is very cheap, but Before pointing fingers at others, point it at yourselves first...
If you have hard time swallowing my comments then that just too bad....Just find a ranch and feed cows, instead of posting comments on site...otherwise you going to hear from Southerncross...
The West certainly does want to tame Islam. We Westerners are very happy with a separation of church and state, or mosque and state, if you will.
Northern Cross, what is your point, dude? I just don't get it. Are you saying that you write off all Muslims as terrorists? That there isn't room for more mutual understanding?
Let me say this and hope that it gets through your thick skull: we don't have the right to go around knocking over governments just because we don't like them. It doesn't work (isn't that obvious?) first of all, and it is wrong second of all. No one likes to be occupied, what did you think that we would be able to walk into Iraq and they'd happily give into Western notions of secular statehood and also give up their resources to us?
Alas, like so many of my contrymen you've been brainwashed into thinking that our way is the right, true and only way and that all others must give into the inexorable tide of American hegemony.
Well, buddy, it isn't that simple. Colonizing and exploiting other people is wrong, plain and simple. People have the right to rule themselves and decide their own destiny independent of the interference of others.
I will pray to Allah (yes, I am a recently converted Muslim) to enlighten your soul, because, brother, you need it.
A Salamu Alaikum.
I support America's right to be free of militant Islamists and that's that.
The ignorance Mr Murphy exhibited in the interpretation of 9:5 is cognisant with those among the Jahilun or the stark kafiroon (who no matter the amount of preaching of Allah's way, the way of Islam, they will not believe). So if such people uttered such garbage we look in the same Quran and place them where they belong. Right now 'm inclined to 2:6 &7.
The fact of the matter is that two definitions of terrorism are tenable, it defends on which camp u belong. I pray and I hope we see an end to workings of BOTH soon, insha-Allah, Cos they really are not doing anybody anygood. Instead they take away the true believer from acknowledging his/her true purpose in life, that of being a complete obedient servant of Allah, worshipping and serving none but Him.
I feel same as you, but in my case the innocent are those who didnt have a say in what their governments (US puppets) do, but they are bombed because they happen to live their. And the terrorists and their supports are those who as a majority elect their governments who in turn kill innocent people (men, women, elders and childerns) and occupy their lands.
Shame on you for being such a lier.
Eventualy it all ends in some sort of understanding.
"Killing all pagans" is big subject and some AAlim(scholar) can perhaps explain much better.
As far as i understand it is true for only Arab Peninsulla. Land between Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
The problem is that to reach an understanding one needs to to talk to some kinda leadership. Muslim Sunni leadership is not there. And is discourage by the West, for their own reasons. As far as some leadership is present (as we see in the case of Iran) unlike Europe, Washington is missing on a valuable and good window of oppournity, here.
I hope and pray to Allah that Western diplomats cash on this oppournity, the sooner the better for everyone.
I don't understand the terrorist mindset, and hopefully I never do.
Yes, the trouble is that the West forms its own conclusions on terrorism especially when they suspect it's done by Muslims. They blame Islam for it. They overlook or are indifferent to the simmering causes or problems both social and political that effect the Muslim world. It's not Islam that's the cause, it's the politics and policies of certain countries and regimes, as the German official has pointed out.
Only a meaningful dialogue with all concerned with a genuine concern, understanding and will to address with justice, the problems affecting the Middle East in particular and other parts of the world and a desire to take concrete measures will bring about a change.
Criminals will always plague the righteous among us as long as evil infects the hearts of men. Diplomacy and dialogue do not eradicate sin, so the most we can do is protect ourselves and our loved ones.
that Germany conducted the biggest terrorist campaign
the world has ever seen. Many people are still alive
who remember it. So stating that Germany has a
"double standard" about the Arab -Israeli issue is
ridiculous. Both people have their issues and their is
no clear-cut solution that will please everyone. Does
the author seriously expect that Germany will side
against Israel after the atrocities that it committed
against the survivors who migrated there? Of course
it's an ally of Israel -- what else would it be? Intelligent
people realize that there are both "sides" to that issue
and that neither side is 100% correct. Germany like
other democratic-minded countries with educated,
intelligent people realize that both groups of people
feel that this is their homeland and that the other should
vacate. It's not an issue for childish "taking sides"--
that's for the ignorant to do.
As fas as opening up dialogue goes; unfortunately as
long as the terrorist attacks committed by Islamic
extremists continue there will be no talks. That's a
shame, but we don't see a religious leader in the
Muslim world who's in a powerful leadership position
doing enough to stop the violence. I think the world will
listen when it's demonstrated that these attacks will stop
and Al Queda or whatever groups encourage these
crimes are vilified by the Muslim world. Stop calling
them "brothers" and start calling them murderers. Then
-- maybe the world will listen.
By the way, Luther didn't rewrite any of the Bible. He just pointed out to the Catholics that they we not following it. OBL is much like Luther in that way. He encourges Muslims to follow the teachings of the Qu'ran that they have neglected like 9:5. I am thankful that many Muslims refuse to follow the entire Qu'ran.