Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friedrich Naumann Foundation's 2010 Freedom Prize: Necla Kelek

Freedom Prize for Necla Kelek
Awarded by Friedrich Naumann Foundation
Ms. Kelek flanked by Wolfgang Gerhardt und Jürgen Morlok

I've mentioned in a few blog posts that I met my wife partly through the auspices of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, for we accidentally sat next to each other on a train headed for that foundation's orientation seminar after we had been awarded doctoral research grants. We were sponsored by the Naumann for three years and attended numerous seminars on free enterprise, democracy, and human rights, among other topics of concern for the foundation. At the time, multiculturalism was a much debated concept, but what had not yet become clear, to me anyway, was the distinction between a moderate multiculturalism intrinsic to Europe and a radical multiculturalism extrinsic to it.

I'm scheduled to teach a course next semester at Ewha Womans University for the Division of International Studies on European unification and some of its difficulties, so I've been looking into these issues, which include radical multiculturalism and its denial of universal values. I was therefore interested to note that the Naumann Foundation has awarded its 2010 Freedom Prize (Freiheitspreis) to the Turkish-German feminist Necla Kelek.

In her acceptance speech, "Let's Speak about Freedom" ("Lassen Sie uns über Freiheit sprechen"), Ms. Kelek notes a problem posed for human rights by Islamism in Europe, which I translate somewhat loosely below:
Human dignity, equality between men and women, freedom of expression, conscience and religion, of assembly and freedom of association, the separation of church and state were thenceforth [i.e., after the liberal Revolution of 1848] principles of European society. Although delayed [in full acceptance], equality and freedom came to be reflected in [European] constitutions and laws, and they shaped the value orientation of civil society and constituted European identity, and constitute it even now. Political Islam -- and I mean, for example, the 45 states [actually 57] of the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- place human rights under the rule of sharia, Islam's divine law. The Islamic organizations in Germany emphasize their retention of sharia. Islam and Islamism are thus difficult to separate from each other, for a rejection of secularism and the culture of the West has not only a militant variant, but is at the core of the policy of almost all Islamic institutions.

(Die Würde des Menschen, die Gleichberechtigung von Mann und Frau, Meinungsfreiheit, Gewissens- und Religionsfreiheit, Versammlungs- und Koalitionsfreiheit, die Trennung von Staat und Religion waren fortan Prinzipien der europäischen Gesellschaft und Gleichheit und Freiheit schlugen sich mit Verzögerung in den Verfassungen und Gesetzen nieder und prägten die Wertorientierung der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, machten und machen die Identität Europas bis heute aus. Der politische Islam -- und ich meine damit zum Beispiel die 45 Staaten der islamischen Konferenz -- stellen die Menschenrechte unter den Vorbehalt der Scharia, ihres göttlichen Rechts. Auch die Islamverbände in Deutschland betonen den Scharia-Vorbehalt. Es ist deshalb schwer, Islam und Islamismus voneinander zu trennen, denn die Ablehnung der Säkularität und der Kultur des Westens hat nicht nur eine militante Variante, sondern ist Kern der Politik fast aller islamischen Institutionen.)
In stating that "Islam and Islamism are . . . difficult to separate from each other, for a rejection of secularism and the culture of the West has not only a militant variant, but is at the core of the policy of almost all Islamic institutions," Ms Kelek touches on an issue that I've also broached, namely, my view that Islamism is radicalism at the core of Islam.

Unfortunately, I lack time today to go further into this speech and its issues, but for those who know German and wish to read more, there's a pdf of the original speech at the Naumann site (as noted above, and also videos). An edited German version titled "Aus Muslimen müssen freie Bürger werden" ("Muslims Must Become Free Citizens") appears in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (November 9, 2010), so if one knows no German, then one can easily copy and paste at Google Translate and get a fairly decent translation.

One can also read a complete English translation of the FAZ edited version at the blog Gates of Vienna, and there may be other sites, possibly translating the original version, but I've not yet found any.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 2:53 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

I'd like to see where you take this, Jeffery.

When I come across such topics I usually think first of the chilling effect on free speech that has been created by multiculturalism and political correctness, and the possible chilling effects these phenomena could have on a person's academic career; and, by extension, if there is such a chilling effect, how might this shape the academy, scholarship, and academe's traditional role, in the West, as custodian--sanctuary, shaper, embellisher, celebrant, teacher--of western political and cultural identity.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I have the impression that a lot of pressure is building up in the West to push back against the ideologies restricting free speech. But we'll see.

I might pick up on this again when I have time.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home