Hamed Abdel-Samad is a man at war. He moves around escorted by bodyguards, receives constant threats and is the subject of a fatwa and an accusation of “heresy” by the al-Azhar religious leaders. Since last year, when, together with journalist Nazan Gökdemir, he presented on German public television station ZDF the investigation on Europe’s Muslims, he has seen more than one door closed in his face. And this despite the fact that his scholarly work is appreciated by important figures of European Islam like the scholar Bassam Tibi and the former imam of Marseille, Soheib Bensheikh.
Forty-five years old, born in Giza near Cairo, the son of a famous imam, Samad himself grew up in the environments of the Muslim Brotherhood. Abdel-Samad has lived in Germany for 20 years, where he became famous for his work as a political scientist at the University of Munich and where he gained great notoriety for what he considers a kind of existential battle in the name of “Arab Enlightenment,” which is opposed to political Islam and the Muslim “religious obscurantism.” He reaffirmed this thesis in his most famous and controversial book, Islamic Fascism.
Right from the title, your book was perceived in many Muslim circles as a provocation. What prompted you to write it?