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A rare public hearing in Germany has sparked fears that Islam is beginning to take over democracy in Europe.
Europe’s main institutions have demonstrated their seeming inability to curb creeping Islamic influence in public life.
Some of these powers — such as the European Union and Germany’s governing political party — have recently contributed to a surge of political Islam which is setting the tone of political discourse in Germany, Europe’s most powerful state and its most populous nation.
As in the West, democracy is no longer about the political process. Instead, the state and European institutions are gradually accommodating political Islam.
Germany’s political establishment has come under heavy criticism, which has been directed primarily against Chancellor Angela Merkel.
This criticism has been marked by desperate denials and suggestions that Islam is compatible with democracy.
The hysterical pleas of Merkel’s colleagues were made in front of a committee of the federal parliament. In Germany, it is up to the federal government to hear from members of the committee before making statements to the parliament.
The entire affair had an almost surrealistic quality to it.
Far-left politicians and civil rights activists claimed that Islam would inevitably overtake democratic institutions. In their words, the political Islam represented by the Muslim Brotherhood was the result of European political problems, particularly those originating from the political and economic collapse of the communist bloc.
Meanwhile, Germany’s mainstream political parties, notably the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), echoed the call of the SPD’s late chairman, Willy Brandt. For Brandt, it was the fate of Islam to accompany democracy.
What prompted such a strong appeal? What can we learn from this episode?
The hearing was part of an effort by the SPD, which is leading the government in Germany, to reassert its role as a political force. The most outspoken figure at the hearing was the socialist and current state premier of the state of Lower Saxony, Stefan Loos.
Loos led the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Lower Saxony until 1997. In his role as a former SPD minister, he is still considered by many to be one of the most influential politicians in Germany. Loos put on a highly emotional display.
Loos admitted that in many German states, the Muslim Brotherhood was gradually becoming part of Germany’s political elite. In some cases, they had become members of political parties and even of the regional government.
Loos is not an isolated figure. A 2013 study by Germany’s Institute for Political Science indicated that there were at least 55 members of the federal government, 25 state government ministers, 10 municipal government ministers, 11 members of the Bundestag, seven state governments, and 22 state leaders.