The men who attacked women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve have internalized an Islamist fundamentalist view of women, says Lale Akgün, an expert on Islam-German relations. But that view has no place in German society.
Has a sort of parallel world been created because of the tolerance and freedom of religion here?
Freedom of religion is not a parallel world, as long as religion remains something that is private. But when religion is politicized and requires political decisions to be made, then that’s not something we should just politely accept. This is the point where it interferes in our lives. For example, when I as a mother have to think about whether or not to allow my daughter to be taught by a teacher who wears a headscarf. Do I want my daughter to be exposed to the kind of ideology that says women have to cover themselves up in front of men? If you don’t acknowledge that these things are connected, then the young men who grope women on the street could seem like an isolated phenomenon. But they’re not; they’re part of a bigger problem.