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Der Islam der Wüste gegen den Islam der St?dte
Der Islam der Wüste gegen den Islam der St?dte
As though underlining Nasser’s failure to build a modern and secular Egypt, there were budding Islamists in the audience that evening: two thin young men, most likely students, wearing piously long beards. Defiantly asserting their faith in a secular setting, they invited curious, even slightly hostile, glances, especially from a woman with dyed blond hair who wore stilettos and a purple T-shirt over tight white pants. A balding middle-aged man, who while we waited for Al Aswany smilin
Monday, April 28,2008 20:36
by Alaa al Aswani Blog.Zeit.De

Pankaj Mishra erz?hlt im New York Times Magazine von einem Besuch bei dem ?gyptischen Autor Alaa al Aswani, der einen literarischen Salon in Kairo unterh?lt, in dem offen über Religion, Kunst und Politik debattiert wird. An einem Abend wird über die "Satanischen Verse" von Salman Rushdie debattiert. Al Aswani sieht sich gen?tigt, aus dem Leben des Propheten zu begründen, warum es nicht aus dem Islam heraus gerechtfertigt werden k?nne, Rushdie zu t?ten.

W?hrenddessen sitzen zwei b?rtige junge M?nner im Raum und machen Notizen. Es folgt ein Austausch zu der Losung der Muslimbrüder "Der Islam ist die L?sung".
Ein seltener Einblick in inner?gyptische Debatten:

"As though underlining Nasser’s failure to build a modern and secular Egypt, there were budding Islamists in the audience that evening: two thin young men, most likely students, wearing piously long beards. Defiantly asserting their faith in a secular setting, they invited curious, even slightly hostile, glances, especially from a woman with dyed blond hair who wore stilettos and a purple T-shirt over tight white pants. A balding middle-aged man, who while we waited for Al Aswany smilingly passed around copies of a book with a glossy green cover (self-published, it was dedicated to "all the oppressed people in the world"), ignored the young men.

Silence fell as Al Aswany, wearing a bright yellow short-sleeved shirt, entered the room. After some brief remarks about the books to be discussed the following week, he began to speak about the evening’s topic, "art and religion." Initially slow, he gathered speed until something like passion appeared in his Arabic speech, and he leaned forward on the table and waved his long thick arms.

He described the controversies surrounding Salman Rushdie and the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, explaining why the two realms of art and religion, which in the West were typically seen as separate, often clashed. It was a complicated argument, and I could follow only some of it in the translation provided by my interpreter. But the bearded young men diligently took notes and then were the first to raise their hands after Al Aswany, exhausted from his exertions, collapsed back in his chair and invited questions from the audience. "Why," one of them asked, "did Salman Rushdie’s novel" — "The Satanic Verses" — "which insulted Islam, receive so much prominence in the West?"

"Rushdie," he began, "is a good writer. I haven’t read ‘The Satanic Verses,’ but whatever was in the novel did not justify Khomeini’s fatwa against him. Islam doesn’t give anyone the right to kill." He stressed the importance of compassion in Islam by recounting a story of the prophet. One day his grandsons jumped on his back when he was bent in prayer. Such was the prophet’s kindness to people weaker than him that he extended his prayer so as not to disturb the children. Indeed, he would often cut short his sermon if he heard a baby crying, and he forbade the cutting of trees even during war. "How can anyone," Al Aswany asked, "use the same prophet’s name to kill? You can see clearly there has been a terrible interpretation of Islam."

The bearded young men wrote faster in their notebooks. Al Aswany was just warming to his theme. The Islam, he continued, of Egypt and other large metropolitan civilizations like Baghdad and Damascus had been marked by tolerance and pluralism. It couldn’t be more different from the Islam of the desert, such as had developed in Saudi Arabia. Desert nomads did not have much time for art; they hadn’t created any. The tragedy for Egypt was that it now had to deal with the philistine and intolerant versions of Islam coming from places like Saudi Arabia. All the battles won in Egypt after the 1919 and 1952 revolutions — especially the battle for women’s rights — had to be refought.

Looking directly at the bearded young men, he said: "The Muslim Brotherhood says, ‘Islam is the solution.’ So when you oppose them, they say, ‘You are opposing Islam.’ It’s very dangerous. Very dangerous." He repeated in a louder voice: "In politics, you have to have political solutions. What does it mean to say, ‘Islam is the solution’?"

By the end of this speech, Al Aswany was gesticulating furiously. Later, surrounded by reverent fans in the corridor, patiently signing autographs and receiving unsolicited books, he seemed calmer. But some of his exasperated passion of the previous few minutes returned when he looked up and saw me. As the small crowd around him gaped, he said: "Did you see those confused young men? This is the big problem today in Egypt. You have the dictatorship, and then you have the Muslim Brotherhood. People’s thinking is limited by these two options. Young people in my time were not so confused. My generation, we of the left, knew where we stood. These young men don’t know what is what. So I have to explain everything to them."
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