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      Disciplining the ‘Muslim Subject’: The Role of Security Agencies in Establishing Islamic Theology within the State's Academia

      Islamophobia Studies Journal
      Pluto Journals
      Islamic Studies, Germany, Islamophobia, securitization, discipline, subject


            The following article discusses the establishment of centers of Islamic Studies (Islamische Theologie) in Germany. While many authors have discussed different theories which shape the accommodation of Islam in Western European nation states, I suggest that the security dispositif (Foucault) has a strong impact on the way the state and religious communities interact with each other. I argue that against the backdrop of a hegemonic Islamophobic discourse and a securitization of Islam, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution ( Verfassungsschutz) as the main actor in charge of domestic security issues within the Ministry of Interior, shapes the construction of the German ‘Muslim subject’ to discipline and govern Germany's Muslims. The Verfassungsschutz becomes a defining power in the attempt to locate Islam in the German religio-political landscape by influencing the politics of several state agencies. This is due to broadening the notion of security which affects the ‘integration policy’ of several state agencies and makes the integration issue a priority in other policy areas. A hegemonic Islamophobic discourse, in which Islam has become a security threat, seems to foster such a policy. I will elaborate the securitization of Islam through the Verfassungsschutz by tracing its role in the institutionalization of Islamic Studies at state universities.


            Author and article information

            Islamophobia Studies Journal
            Pluto Journals
            Fall 2014
            : 2
            : 2
            : 43-57
            Department of Political Science at the University of Salzburg
            © Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.


            Social & Behavioral Sciences
            discipline,securitization,Islamophobia,Germany,Islamic Studies,subject


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            16. Cesari does not solely rely on such a constructivist notion of security, but rather goes on to argue that the ‘securitization of Islam’ leads to a de facto transformation of conservative Muslims into fundamentalists and thus meets the dialectic aspect of discoursive theory.

            17. , ‘Securitization of Islam in Europe’, in: (ed.), Muslims in the West after 9/11. Religion, Politics and Law , New York: Routledge, (9–27), 2010, p.9.

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            22. , Das muslimische Subjekt. Verfangen im Dialog der Deutschen Islamkonferenz , Konstanz: Konstanz University Press, 2012. With 9/11, the ‘Muslim subject’ became a potential threat as an outcome of a security discourse, using terms such as the ‘sleeper’ to refer to a diffuse ever-present threat that had to be stemmed. Islamophobic crimes resulting in the loss of people's lives, such as those in the Netherlands with a Muslim teacher of Moroccan origin or in Germany with a pregnant doctor, were not covered in media and did not lead to far reaching consequences in the way that the murder of Theo van Gogh did.

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            24. , 2008b, 225–26.

            25. , ‘Anti-Muslim Racism and the European Security State’, in: Race & Class 46 (1), (3–29), 2004, p.5.

            26. Ibid., p.6.

            27. Ibid., p.7.

            28. , A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe , London & New York: Pluto Press, 2009, pp. 135–73.

            29. & : Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and its impact on American Muslims, http://www.law.cuny.edu/academics/clinics/immigration/clear/Mapping-Muslims.pdf (accessed 04 July 2014)

            30. , The Emancipation Of Europe's Muslims .

            31. , 2008b.

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            33. , & (eds.), Islam und Verfassungsschutz, Dokumentation der Tagung am 7. Dezember 2006 an der Universität Münster, Reihe: Islam und Recht, Band 6, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang Verlag, 2007.

            34. , 2008a, p.55.

            35. Ibid., p.56.

            36. Ibid., p.56

            37. , ‘Islamismus und Verfassungsschutz. Begriffsdefinitionen, Kategorisierungen und Diagnosen’, in: et al (eds.), Islam und Verfassungsschutz , (57–72), 2007, p. 60.

            38. BVF (2008). Islamismus aus der Perspektive des Verfassungsschutzes , bfv-themenreihe, Köln: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz.

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            41. , 2008b.

            42. , 2013, pp.45–53.

            43. For a critical reflection in public debates as well as in academic writings see: , ‘Parallelgesellschaft, Ghettoisierung und Segregation — Muslime in deutschen Städten’, in: & (eds), Politik und Islam , Wiesbaden: VS, 2011, 168–190.

            44. (2008a). For further reading on effects of combatting ‘legalist Islamism’: 2013, pp.45–80.

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            46. BvF 2008, pp.8–9. All citations of the VS are the author's.

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            48. Ibid. pp.95–7

            49. Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg, Islamistischer Extremismus und Terrorismus , April 2006, http://www.verfassungsschutz-bw.de/site/lfv/get/documents/IV.Dachmandant/Datenquelle/stories/public_files/islamisten/islamismus-broschuere-2006.pdf (accessed 25 June 2014)

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            52. , Recommendations on the Advancement of Theologies and Sciences concerned with Religions at German Universities , Drs. 9678-10, Berlin 29 01 2010, Köln: Sutorius Printmedien, pp. 153–155.

            53. ibid. p.8. All citations of the WR's paper are originally in English.

            54. & , Dialektik der Säkularisierung Über Vernunft und Religion , Freiburg: Herder Verlag, 2005, and , Kirche und christlicher Glaube in den Herausforderungen der Zeit. Beiträge zur politisch-theologischen Verfassungsgeschichte 1957–2002 , 2., erweiterte Auflage, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2007.

            55. While Christian Theology is provided at Christian theological Faculties, Islamic Studies is only offered in Philosophy departments due to the non-existence of Islamic theological Faculties, which is seen as inappropriate by some critics. See: 2013, p.215.

            56. , 2010, p. 13.

            57. A decision of the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) in regard to Catholic theology states: “The establishment at a public university of a ‘Diplom’ degree program in Catholic theology whose goal is the training of a Catholic ‘Volltheologen’ — concluding with a Diplom in theology and a national exam — is a common affair of the State/University and the Church (Guiding principle 1, BVerwGE 101, 309 = ZevKR 41 (1996), p. 460, cited in: , 2010, p. 17).

            58. Ibid., p.72.

            59. Ibid. p.19–20. Art. 140 in conjunction with art. 137 para. 3 WRV (cf. footnote 8) says: These rights of participation are realized especially through the religious communities influencing the composition of the faculty personnel. (BVerfG 1 BvR 462/06 of October 28, 2008, 63, http://www.bverfg.de (cited in , 2010, p.71)

            60. Ibid. p.71

            61. Ibid. p.75

            62. Ibid. p.76

            63. The KRM is an umbrella organization of the four largest Muslim civic associations and umbrella organizations, the Islamrat der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, the Zentralrat derMuslime, the Verband Islamischer Kulturzentren (VIKZ) and the DITIB (Türkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion). It was founded in 2006, shortly before the DIK was established, due to the German state's longing for a Muslim counterpart. The KRM represents the four largest Muslim associations working on a grassroots-level via educational institutions and mosques.

            64. Ibid., p.76–77. After five years, these institutions should be evaluated.

            65. , 2013, 215–17.

            66. , 2010, p.74.

            67. , ‘Institutionalised Austrian Islam: One institution representing the many’, in: , & (eds.), Debating Islam. Negotiating Religion, Europe, and the Self , Bielefeldt: Transcript Verlag, 2013, pp. 217–232.

            68. , 2010, p. 72

            69. Ibid. p.73

            70. In late 2013, the Europäische Institut für Humanwissenschaften, a private institute, was founded, but not accredited by the state authorities.

            71. Ibid. 72–73

            72. In fact, looking at the personnel granted professorships at the different centers of Islamic Studies reveals that a majority possess Ph.D. degrees in non-theological disciplines and that the theological knowledge is — if at all — pursued by a degree from a course in distance learning. I.e. Prof. Mouhanad Khorchide (University of Münster) obtained his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Vienna and studied in Lebanon Islamic Studies via Distance Learning. Prof. Harry Harun Behr (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg) is a teacher by training with no Ph.D. in Islamic Studies/Theology.

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            85. , Studium für Islam-Lehrer, 2012.

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            89. Ibid.

            90. Department Islamisch-Religiöse Studien in Erlangen eröffnet, 27 September 2012, http://blogs.fau.de/news/2012/09/27/department-islamisch-religiose-studien-in-erlangen-eroffnet/ (accessed 29 November 2013)

            91. Ibid.

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