Bassam Tibi

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Bassam Tibi, in December 2016 at the 44th Römerberg Talks in the Chagall Hall in Frankfurt am Main

Bassam Tibi ( Arabic بسام طيبي, DMG Bassām Ṭībī ; * April 4, 1944 in Damascus ) is a German political scientist of Syrian origin. From 1973 to 2009 he was professor for international relations at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen , had numerous teaching and research stays at foreign universities and became a broad audience as an expert on the Arab world through book publications and media appearances, especially in Germany and political Islam . He coined and introduced the concept of Euro-Islam in 1991 and that of the leading culture in 1998 . Since 2015 he has criticized German refugee policy as having no concept. He pleaded for Germany to develop from a country of immigration to a country of immigration . He did not speak out against Germany accepting many refugees, but criticized the fact that it had "nothing to offer them except accommodation, alimony and language courses". He also warns against immigrant anti-Semitism . This warning of the new anti-Semitism was also the central theme of his speech, which he gave in front of the Austrian Parliament on May 3, 2019 on the occasion of the Remembrance Day against violence and racism in memory of the victims of National Socialism .

life and work

Bassam Tibi comes from a traditional family of scholars (Banu al-Tibi) in Damascus and is a Sunni Muslim . As a child he learned to recite the Koran by heart up to the age of six , with which he earned the title Haafiz . In 1962 he came to Germany and from 1965 studied social science and philosophy - among others with Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno  - as well as history at the University of Frankfurt am Main , where he received his doctorate in 1971 with his dissertation Nationalism in the Third World using the Arab example . His doctoral supervisor was Iring Fetscher . In 1973 he was appointed university lecturer and shortly thereafter professor without habilitation. Tibi completed his habilitation in 1981 at the University of Hamburg .

In addition to his professorship in Göttingen, he was a visiting scholar and research associate at Harvard University (1982–1993) and a Bosch visiting professor there from 1998 to 2000. In the 2003/2004 academic year, he was visiting professor for Islamology at the University of St. Gallen and in the fall of 2003, visiting professor at the Islamic University of Jakarta in Indonesia (Islamic State University of Jakarta). He has held the AD White Chair at Cornell University since 2004 , previously he was Erma O'Brien Distinguished Professor at the European Union Center of Scripps College in Claremont, California, and taught an annual course in Islamology at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna from 2006–2009 .

From 1986 to 1988 he held several visiting professorships for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Asia and Africa, including in Khartoum in Sudan and in Yaoundé in Cameroon . He had a Harvard Fellowship and other in Princeton and Ann Arbor ( Michigan ). From 1989 to 1993 he was a member of the fundamentalism project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 1994 Tibi was visiting professor at the University of California in Berkeley and in 1995 and 1998 at Bilkent University in Ankara , and AD White Professor at Cornell University in Ithaca , New York until 2010 and a Senior Research Fellow in the 2008/09 academic year from Yale University , USA.

Tibi completed his US academic career in 2010 as a Senior Resnick Fellow for the Study of Antisemitism at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington DC, where he wrote his book Islamism and Islam .

He was a founding member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and took part in the “Cordoba Trialog ” for Jewish-Islamic-Christian exchange. He is a critic of Islamism and traditional Islam and demands religious reforms and acceptance of a synthesis of European values ​​and Islam ( Euro-Islam ). In 2010 Tibi was a founding member of the Association of Democratic-European Muslims VDEM in Aachen.

His main academic achievement is the foundation of historical, social-scientific Islamology since 1980.

Tibi lives in the district of Geismar in Goettingen and is married to his second wife since 1976th From his first marriage (1969–1975) he has a son, Fabian Tibi. Tibi has been a German citizen since 1976. From 2004 to 2011 he lived and did research in the USA. In Germany, he reported back in 2016 as a journalist with a major interview in Die Welt , a revised new edition of his work Europe without Identity, and regular guest articles in the Basler Zeitung . Some of these were also licensed by the Basler Zeitung to the Axis des Guten blog ; Tibi himself never wrote for the axis of the good . In 2018 he published his articles for the Basler Zeitung in book form, expanded and supplemented in 2019, each under the title Basler Uncomfortable Thoughts . Tibi has been a regular guest author for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) since November 2017 .


In the course of his extensive journalistic work, Tibi coined or coined several terms, including leading culture , parallel society , Euro-Islam and “ Sharia -Islam ”. In his theory of the dream of half modernity , a critical examination of the development tendencies of Islamic civilization, he distinguishes between two aspects: on the one hand, institutional modernity, which occupies science and technology as well as traditional areas of life, and, on the other hand, cultural modernity, which is responsible for fundamental values ​​of freedom, human rights , democratization and equal opportunities. The half modernity is thus a partial modernization by taking on the instruments particularly in the areas of science and technology while rejecting the cultural modernity, d. H. the values ​​and worldview of the modern world.

In his book The Fundamentalist Challenge - Islam and World Politics from 1992, he sees Islamic fundamentalism not as a religious trend, but as an ideology that emerged from the confrontation between Islam and the, in his view, backward Islamic world with modernity. In his central books, Tibi uses field research in 22 Islamic countries to show that although Islamism is political, it has a lot to do with religion. Because in political Islam all social problems would be religionized. Tibi coined the term religionization in his research. In his view, Islamism as a primarily Sunni-Arab movement emerged as a response to globalization that the Muslim world has not managed to cope with . Fundamentalism is about the destruction of nation states and the establishment of an Islamic world order including Sharia .

Given Extending well Islamist currents Tibi 1998 called for in his book "Europe without identity" a "European guiding culture " and introduced this term in the context of the discussion on the integration of migrants in Germany against a wertebeliebigen multiculturalism into the field, even to the progressive formation of parallel societies counteract . His demand that Muslims who have immigrated to European countries must respect the respective legal and constitutional systems of their host countries belongs in this context . Tibi outlines the vision of a Euro-Islam for this . However, he distanced himself from the concept of a “German leading culture” (“I have always emphasized that it is dangerous to speak of a German leading culture”).

In his work, published in 2005 and expanded in 2007, With the headscarf to Europe? Tibi marked clear reservations about Turkey's accession to the EU , which he did not see on the way to the European community of values under the then AKP leadership. The AKP, the party of the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and with an absolute majority in the Turkish parliament since November 2002 , is portrayed by its leading representatives as Islamic-conservative, but in reality pursues Islamist goals. Evidence of this is the increasing uniformity of women under the headscarf, which no longer primarily expresses traditional folk customs, but is increasingly being propagated and demanded as an Islamist denomination of belonging. In addition, Erdoğan's government is promoting Imam Hatip schools as competition to the Kemalist- laicist state schools. Both approaches would also be exported to the Turkish migrant communities, especially in Germany, where they promoted the formation of Islamist parallel societies that put Sharia law (God's law) above the respective state law. With the accession of Turkey to the EU under the current conditions, there is therefore the danger of a march of disguised Islamists through the European institutions. Because of their multicultural orientation and the overly broad definition of tolerance , the old members would have little to oppose to this Islamism . However, Tibi did not flatly reject future EU membership for Turkey. His test criterion was the complete integration and acceptance of Turkish migrants in Germany. Both sides would have to contribute to their success with united forces by breaking away from their previous line: on the one hand, German civil society, which was negligently uninterested, and on the other hand, the politically and socially shaping forces in Turkey, which for their part are still not acting very constructively. Sharia Islam and headscarf uniforms are, for Tibi, downright counter-indicators of the integration process to be striven for. If it succeeds, the integration process according to Tibi would be very well suited to show that Turkey could exercise the bridging function that was previously only intended for Europe with other Islamic societies. However, this will probably only be able to prove itself in a longer period of time than the period now envisaged for the accession process.

Tibi's work in German comprises 30 books that were written between 1969 and 2009. His main works are a comprehensive history of ideas of Islam, published in 1996 under the title “The true Imam. Islam from Mohammed to the present ”and a history of civilization in Islam, published in 1999 under the title“ Crusade and Jihad ”. Both works appeared in several editions.


Gazi Çağlar , professor of social work of Turkish origin, certified Tibi in 2009 with an affinity for conservative positions: Tibi set up a paradigm of civilization whose historical-philosophical basis is reminiscent of Oswald Spengler and Arnold J. Toynbee and thus represents a dangerous “ideological incendiary”. In the book War of Civilizations. Politics and religion between reason and fundamentalism follow Tibi the theory of Samuel P. Huntington of the clash of civilizations . Nonetheless, in the same book (Chapter 7), Tibi distances himself from Huntington's interpretive approaches.

Publications (selection)

  • 1969: The Arab Left . European Publishing House , Frankfurt am Main DNB 454591152 .
  • 1971: On nationalism in the Third World - using the Arab example . European Publishing House, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 3-434-40025-7 (also dissertation at the University of Frankfurt am Main ).
  • 1973: Military and Socialism in the Third World. General theories and regional studies on Arab countries. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 3-518-10631-7 (also habilitation thesis at the University of Hamburg ).
  • 1979: International politics and developing countries research. Materials on an ideology-critical development sociology. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ISBN 3-518-10983-9
  • 1981: The crisis of modern Islam. A pre-industrial culture in the scientific and technical age . Munich: CH Beck. ISBN 3-518-28489-4
  • 1985: Islam and the problem of cultural coping with social change . Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ISBN 3-518-28131-3
  • 1987: From the kingdom of God to the nation state. Islam and Pan-Arab Nationalism . Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ISBN 3-518-28250-6
  • 1989: Middle East conflict region. Regional momentum and great power interests . Munich: CH Beck. ISBN 3-406-35364-9
  • 1992: The Fundamentalist Challenge. Islam and world politics . Munich: CH Beck. ISBN 3-406-34076-8
  • 1992: Islamic Fundamentalism, Modern Science and Technology. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ISBN 3-518-28590-4
  • 1993: the conspiracy. The trauma of Arab politics . Hamburg: Hoffmann and Campe. ISBN 3-455-08477-X
  • 1994: In the shadow of Allah. Islam and human rights . Munich: Piper. ISBN 3-492-22285-4 (paperback edition by Ullstein 2003)
  • 1995: War of Civilizations. Politics and religion between reason and fundamentalism. Hamburg: Hoffmann and Campe. ISBN 3-455-11060-6 (extended paperback edition by Heyne 1998)
  • 1995: Religious Fundamentalism in Transition to the 21st Century . Mannheim: BI-Taschenbuchverlag. ISBN 3-411-10501-1
  • 1996: The real Imam. Islam from Mohammed to the present day . Munich: Piper. ISBN 3-492-22713-9
  • 1997: Middle East powder keg. An Arab perspective. Stuttgart: German publishing house. ISBN 3-421-05088-0
  • 1997: Departure on the Bosporus. Turkey between Europe and Islamism. Munich: Diana. ISBN 3-8284-5012-1
  • 1998: Europe without an identity? The crisis of the multicultural society. Munich: Bertelsmann. ISBN 3-570-00169-5 (new editions 2000/2002 with the subtitle: Leitkultur or Random Values )
  • 1999: The new world disorder. Western dominance and Islamic fundamentalism . Berlin: Propylaea. ISBN 3-549-05788-1 (Translation from: The Challenge of Fundamentalism, University of California Press, 1998)
  • 1999: Crusade and Jihad. Islam and the Christian world . Munich: Bertelsmann. ISBN 3-570-00380-9 .
  • 2000: Islam and Germany. Muslims in Germany. Stuttgart: German publishing house. ISBN 3-421-05385-5
  • 2000: Fundamentalism in Islam. A danger to world peace? Darmstadt: Primus. ISBN 3-89678-163-4
  • 2001: Invitation into Islamic history. Darmstadt: Scientific Book Society. ISBN 3-89678-409-9
  • 2002: Islamic immigration. The failed integration . DVA, Stuttgart ISBN 3-421-05633-1 .
  • The imported hatred . In: Die Zeit , No. 7/2003; Subtitle: Anti-Semitism is widespread in the Arab world. He contradicts Islamic tradition. With the anti-Semitic core sentences of al-Antabawi
  • 2004: The new totalitarianism. Holy War and Western Security. Primus, Darmstadt, ISBN 3-89678-494-3 .
  • 2005: With the headscarf to Europe? Turkey on the way to the European Union. Primus, Darmstadt, 2nd edition 2007, ISBN 3-89678-537-0 .
  • 2008: The Islamic Challenge. Religion and Politics in Europe in the 21st Century. 3. Edition. Primus, Darmstadt, ISBN 3-534-22034-X .
  • 2009: Euro-Islam: the solution to a civilizational conflict. Primus, Darmstadt, ISBN 978-3-89678-651-7 .
  • 2010: Islamism and Islam. Yale University Press, London 2012, ISBN 978-0-300-15998-1
  • 2016: Europe without an identity? Europeanization or Islamization. ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart (new version of the work of the same name published in 1998 and 2000/2002). ISBN 3-8382-1001-8
  • 2017: Islamic History and German Islamic Studies: Islamology and the Orientalism Debate. ibidem publishing house. ISBN 978-3-8382-1053-7 and ISBN 978-3-8382-1093-3
  • 2018: Islamic Immigration and its Consequences: The New Anti-Semitism, Security and the "New Germans". ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart, ISBN 978-3-8382-1003-2 (paperback) and ISBN 978-3-8382-1083-4 (hardcover).
  • 2018: Basel Inconvenient Thoughts: On Illegal Immigration, Islamization and the Suppression of Freedom of Speech. Ibidem, Stuttgart, ISBN 978-3-8382-1253-1 (paperback) and ISBN 978-3-8382-1293-7 (hardcover). Preface by Benedict Neff .
  • 2019: Basel Inconvenient Thoughts: On Illegal Immigration, Islamization and the Suppression of Freedom of Speech. [New edition 2019]. ISBN 978-3-8382-1363-7 (paperback) and ISBN 978-3-8382-1373-6 (hardcover).

honors and awards


  • Gazi Çağlar : The Myth of the War of Civilizations: the West against the rest of the world; a reply to Samuel P. Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" . Unrast, Münster 2002, ISBN 3-89771-414-0 .
  • Marwan Abou-Taam, Jost Esser, Naika Foroutan (eds.): Between confrontation and dialogue: Islam as a political entity ( Festschrift for Bassam Tibi). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 978-3-531-17279-8
  • ( Yale University Press 2012 )
  • The Göttingen political scientist Bassam Tibi on the Islam Conference, the religious dogmatism of Muslims and the German tendency towards self-surrender . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 2006 ( online interview with Cordula Meyer and Caroline Schmidt).

Web links

Commons : Bassam Tibi  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bassam Tibi: Humanitarian policy is not an immigration policy . In: Cicero , October 23, 2016
  2. Benedict Neff : These men think: German women are sluts. Bassam Tibi, Syrian and student of Theodor W. Adornos, is an expert on Islam. Nobody in Germany wants to hear what he's talking about: Arab hatred of Jews, sexism and German extremism . In: Basler Zeitung , July 7, 2016, pp. 2–3
  3. Bassam Tibi: The return of hatred of Jews . Basler Zeitung online, March 13, 2017 (guest article)
  4. ^ Bassam Tibi: Islamic immigration and its consequences. The new anti-Semitism, security and the "new Germans" . 2018, p. 82 ff.
  5. Bassam Tibi: Europe without Identity? Munich 1998 (Tb., Siedler Verlag ), p. 136
  6. ^ Bassam Tibi: Ballot and Bullet: The Politicization of Islam . (PDF), lecture from November 2009, website of Aarhus University, accessed on August 31, 2015 (English)
  7. ^ Regina Mönch: The other Muslims Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung May 17, 2010
  8. Interview Klaus Pokatzky with Reza Hajatpour: "And it is important for us to enter into dialogue with other secular associations" Deutschlandfunk May 21, 2010
  9. Bassam Tibi: Homeless and uprooted between cultures: autobiographical notes on the occasion of one's own 70th birthday . (PDF) 2014
  11. Andrea Seibel: Bassam Tibi: "Five to ten percent of Muslims live European" . In: Welt Online . July 4, 2016 ( [accessed June 22, 2018]).
  12. Bassam Tibi: Enlightenment and cultural relativism do not go well together . In: NZZ . November 25, 2017, ISSN  0376-6829 ( [accessed June 22, 2018]).
  13. Samuel Salzborn (Ed.): Classics of the Social Sciences - 100 key works in portrait . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 353–356
  14. Yassin Musharbash: "We need a European dominant culture" . Spiegel Online , November 23, 2004; Interview with Tibi
  15. Bassam Tibi's look back in anger . Spiegel Online , October 21, 2009
  16. The myth of the war of civilizations , summary, Unrast Verlag
  17. The Reinvention of Islam , Tagesspiegel, February 19, 2006
  18. See also Tibi's criticism of Huntington in: Roman Herzog : Against the clash of cultures. A peace strategy for the 21st century . Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-10-030210-9 .
  19. Georg-August University of Göttingen - Prof. Dr. Bassam Tibi . Institute for Political Science, Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  20. media report .