Islam and modernity need not be opposites, according to Islamic scholar Mouhanad Khorchide. Contrary to what is often claimed, there are already various approaches to human freedom in classical Islamic theology.
Khorchide stated this on Thursday evening in Essen at a symposium. On this basis, it is his wish "to bring Islam into modernity and not modernity into Islam," said the director of the Center for Islamic Theology at the University of Munster.
Khorchide criticized a strong claim to absoluteness by Islam worldwide, which denies other currents or religions the right to their own truth in their respective faiths. "This provides groups like IS or others with the basis for violence," said the chairman of the Muslim Forum Germany, which was founded in 2015 and is categorized as liberal Islam.
Tendency towards a "juridification" of Islam
At the same time, he observes a strong tendency toward a "juridification" of Islam at the expense of genuine spirituality, for example in terms of adherence to rules of dress, prayer or lifestyle.
Both historically and currently, Khorchide sees an interaction between Islam and the respective political structure. "It was strongly instrumentalized politically from the beginning," said the scientist. Basically, a "monologic image of God" with God as absolute authority "provides the ideological underpinnings of a dictatorial state".
In contrast, a "dialogical image of God" is based on the freedom, individuality and self-determination of human beings, said the reform theologian.