Born in Syria, Naser Khader is a former danish MP, and founder of the Democratic Muslims, founded during the danish cartoon crisis, to give moderate Muslims a voice. He tells Valerie Gauriat why he believes there should be a revolution in Islam.
Point of view
"Djihadism is a dangerous political ideology, not a religion"
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the big question was “what do we do next” ?
“Nobody has the solution, nobody has. It’s a big challenge, not only for Denmark but for the whole world. Also for the Muslim countries. For the Arab countries. One of the main sources to be radicalised is the internet, the social media. And nobody knows what to do with this. People get inspired from the social media, and we don’t have the solution for this. But from being inspired by the social media, and becoming radicalised, to go to Syria, you can’t do it only with the social media. You need persons to help you, to guide you. In Denmark, we don’t go and stop these persons.
But we have to rethink our methods. If a person that is a nazi, who believes in Adolf Hitler, and goes and preaches nazi ideology and glorifies Adolf Hitler, you will stop it. But when you have a djihadist you don’t stop it because it’s something with religion, and you have to be careful not to intervene when it’s religion. But djihadism is not a religion, its a political ideology that’s much worse than the nazis Much worse than the fascists. You have to regard it as a dangerous political ideology, not a religion.
Many people have said that these terrorist acts have nothing to do with Islam; do you agree ?
“I don’t agree. What happened in Paris is also Islam. Not all Islam but also Islam. These terrorists regard themselves as muslims. They shouted muslim messages when they did this terror The reasons they have to do what they did, they have from the Quran, from the Haddiths, from Islam. They didn’t take it from Buddha. They had it from Quran. In Quran Surah 36, it says, do not mock the prophet. Do not mock the friends of the prophet. In the Quran there’s nothing about the punishment. But in the Sharia, it’s very explicit. It says if somebody mocks the prophet, then the consequence is the death penalty.You have to die if you do it. So it is Islam, and if you want to get rid of it from Islam, if you want to challenge it, and change it, you have to first recognise, that’s Islam. That’s why Obama, Cameron, Hollande, they did a big mistake when they stated this has nothing to do with Islam. And it’s very comic when Obama said Islamic State and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi are not Muslim. It’s so naive! Of course they are muslim! Abu Bakr al Baghdadi he used to teach Islam at the University of Baghdad. So it’s also Islam but not all Islam. I don’t know why they say it; are they ignorant, or naive , or do they want to protect the muslims ? But they don’t do the muslims a favour, to do so. So you have to say, yes, that’s what I say, it’s a part of Islam. When al Baghdadi crucified his opponents, he got it from the Quran Surah 5. It’s explicit in Quran Surah 5. So that’s why I say we need a revolution in Islam. We need to get rid of this part, in the Quran, in the Sharia, that justify such actions. In the old testament, mocking the prophets means death. But Christianity and Judaism said this is a part of our past, this has no effect today. Thats what we have to do in Islam
“What would you say is the western world’s responsibility. It is often stated that groups like ISIL or Al Qaida are a consequence of the West’s policies in countries like Syria or Iraq…
“Come on, who started september 11 ? It was not the West. it was Al Qaida. And it was the beginning to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Djihad is a part of their DNA. to be against the West. they are their entities. The west are their main enemy. When they did september 11 there was no war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And after september 11 should we not have reacted ? And go after Al Qaida ? Of course we should. But it’s also a part of the western masochism. When there’s something wrong there, the westerners look at themselves and say:” there’s something wrong with me” first..it’s my fault, I’m sorry..That’s the white man’s burden!
The west has done nothing in Syria, that’s the problem. We discuss, should we intervene, should we not intervene.. The syrian example is a good example of what happens when you don’t react. If the West had helped the moderate opposition in Syria, the Islamic State and Al Qaida would not have been so strong. We let down the moderates. There was a weapon sanction on the moderates, the Free Syrian Army. From the EU, from the US, even though we have recognised them as the legitimate main opposition group. But for Assad, no sanctions. He got his weapons from Russia. And the Islamists got their money and weapons from the Gulf, from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and rich uncles in the Gulf. And those we recognised as moderates we let them down.
Obama is a disaster. He has a very big responsibility in what happened in Syria. And he has responsibility for the rise of the Islamic State. If Obama’s red line had been telling Assad: “if you start shooting the people who demonstrate peacefully on friday, that’s the red line”…But Obama is one of the presidents who always says what he doesn’t want to do. And he told the djihadists in Syria no way, I don’t want to intervene, I don’t want to do anything, unless you use the chemical weapon. And he also told Assad you can use your chopsters, your air, you can use everything, I don’t intervene, but when you use your chemical weapons I will intervene. He gave Assad carte blanche. And the West has a big responsibility for the rise of the Islamic state. Because you accepted that rise, and Syria became a safe haven for the global djihadists. And you didn’t do anything. And the EU has a big responsibillity in that they let Turkey let them go in. Erdogan has also got a big responsibility. I have been at the Turkish -Syrian border. I saw how the djihadists went into Syria, and the Turkish police didn’t do anything. I’ve seen djihadists go into Turkey, and get
treated in the hospitals in Turkey. And go back. And when they got tired of the fighting in Syria, they took to Hatay in Turkey to get some rest.
As a djihadi, you can’t go into Syria from Jordan. It’s a very big border.
The turks have said: “look at Mexico and the US, a lot of mexicans go to the US and you can’t prevent it!” But Jordan has a very big border and Jordan said we are going to shoot on everything that moves. So no djihadist goes into Syria from Jordan. It’s difficult to go into Syria from Lebanon. You have Hezbollah at the border. It’s very difficult to get in earlier from Iran. It’s very easy to go inside from Turkey. And nobody pressured Erdogan to stop this. The Islamic State they became a success when they started to sell their oil in Turkey. In the black market in Turkey. Why didn’t Erdogan prevent that ? The Islamic state have a fortune of 2 or 3 billion US dollars. Because of the sale of the oil. Why didn’t you stop that ? Putin also has a responsibility. When he told Assad “I support you”, then Assad became a person that didn’t want any compromise. There’s a lot of people who have responsibility in what happened in Syria.”
Is this the tip of the iceberg ? Is it only the beginning ?
“I’m afraid that we will get competition between ISIL and Al Qaida; on who will do their biggest terror action in the West. If you talk about the tour de France, Al Qaida now have the yellow shirt, and they tell the world “we are much better at global terror than Islamic State”. So ISIL now has to overdo it. To do something more spectacular. So I’m afraid we are in the beginning of a competition between these two organisations.”