21st Century COE Program Archive


  • 071006a
  • 071006b
Date: October 6, 2007 (Jointly held with Group 2)
Location: Tokyo Office, Doshisha University
Theme: Barriers to Co-existence: The Case of Islam
Title: Obstacles to Coexistence – The Case of Islam
Speaker: Masanori Naito (Professor, Hitotsubashi University)
Title: Obstacles to Coexistence – The Case of Islam
Speaker: Hassan Ko Nakata (Professor, Doshisha University)
 Characterizing the relationship between membership in a 'nation' and 'foreign existence' in Western Europe, Professor Naito at the beginning of his lecture discussed the following three basic types. (A) The multiculturalism type, which is premised on the coexistence of plural religious and/or ethnic groups, doesn’t rely on the principle of secularism. It is applicable to the situations of the UK and Holland. (B) A type based on a contract with the national principle, which considers that religious and ethnic foreignness is cancelled by the contract. This type adopts secularism and is best exemplified by France. (C) A third type doesn’t take foreign existence into account formally. It admits a concordat between Church and Land, and grants an elevated place to Christian religion. A situation of this type is seen in Germany. 
   Next, Professor Naito pointed out the logic of exclusion that is inherent in each of the three systems. Type A is in fact premised on the existence of a boundary between 'us' and 'them.' When this boundary gets rigid, a situation that closely resembles apartheid can arise. Type B excludes those who break the contract. This exclusion is considered justified, and isn’t regarded as chauvinism. Type C doesn’t have the principles to cope with foreign existence and therefore can’t readily acknowledge it straightforwardly. As a consequence the logic of exclusion appears in various ways. 
  Professor Naito pointed out the differences existing between each type before and after 9/11. In Holland, a type A context, Islamophobia arose violently. It is the liberals-particularly the libertarians-who took the lead in the attacks against Islam. The liberals perceived that Islam broke the boundary between 'us' and 'them,' and demanded the removal of Muslims who threatened 'our' safety. It was recognized as a dilemma of multiculturalism, but much confusion arose. France, type B, wasn’t affected by 9/11 in theory. But France reacted strongly to inconsistencies between foreign existence and the national principle, and the law on religious symbols reflects this reaction. Also, the regulations targeting foreign existence were strengthened on the pretext of the 'war on terrorism.' Moreover, the repulsion expressed toward Islam took the warped form of objection to Turkey’s joining the EU. Germany, type C, also wasn’t affected by 9/11 in theory. But the existing chauvinism was released, and it targeted the differences of religion, values and standards. Recently, individual Bundeslaender as members of a 'democratic legislature' enacted laws against wearing headscarves. The chauvinism saw Islam and Muslims as clashing with 'our' democratic values and standards, which then justified discrimination. The political Left that had previously resisted the chauvinism also sided with this movement, and consequently the regulations were strengthened in liberalistic cities, too. In addition, the movement opposing Islam by adopting Christianity as 'our' symbol emerged in southern Germany. 
  Finally, Professor Naito stated that it is difficult for the EU to solve these problems. The EU is not constituted with the logic or the function to address the problems inside member nations. Even though the EU urges 'anti-chauvinism' or 'tolerance,' it can’t adjust to the differences between what is considered 'tolerance' in each system. Therefore, 'cultural diversity' in Europe, which the EU admits, is difficult to implement with Islam. Moreover, the fact that these various problems appeared one upon another after 2001 became a serious obstacle to Turkey’s negotiations to join the EU.
Shunsuke Sugita 
(CISMOR Research Assistant, Graduate Student of School of Theology, Doshisha University)
  In order to stick to the point of the discussion, we first have to understand the concept 'coexistence.' Coexistence is a vague word, and there has been no work on coexistence in traditional Islamic studies. Then it must be asked, in which cases could we talk about 'coexistence'? As regards space, more than two 'things' (that which physically occupies space in the traditional theology) inevitably exist within the range where they can interact with one another. It is necessary for these things to share some span of time that enables them to interact. Contingencies present in things, such as religion, thought, or culture, can plurally 'coexist' in one and the same thing. Since existence in the world is all compound, individuals have parts which coexist with one another, and all individuals coexist to compose their higher existence. 
  To talk about 'what disturbs coexistence in Islam,' the following conditions are assumed: in regard to time, all the years from the founding of Islam by Muhammad to the present; and concerning space, almost all of the ground on the earth. From the point of view that a religion exists in a thing such as a believer, Islam has historically coexisted with believers or symbols of other religions. However likely it is that coexistence in Islam might be a fact, we need to carefully examine whether it has been 'true Islam.' Nevertheless, Islam is tolerant to deviations that do not go beyond a certain limit.
  In Islamic jurisprudence the land is divided into 'the house of Islam' and 'the house of war.' The former is the space where a Khalif—a chief of the Muslim community, obeying shari`a—defends the land against enemies, protects citizens’ lives, property, and honor, and ensures that each community has its own religious autonomy. The latter ('the house of war') is the rest of the land, considered lawless. To extend 'the house of Islam' through jihad is a basic idea of the Khalifat (Caliphate)—that is to say, in essence, of Islam. People targeted by jihad are given the choice to convert to Islam, to pay a tax and receive protection, or to plunge into war. War in this context is a legal status, and it does not necessarily mean actual hostilities. 
  'What disturbs coexistence in Islam' is the present situation in which stable Islamic rule is not practiced because of the absence of the Khalifat. If the Khalifat is realized, it will be expected to prevent so-called terrorism by Muslims. Countries advocating freedom and human rights should unconditionally accept people who refuse Islamic rule. What is required of the non-Islamic world in order to coexist with Islam is thus to not disturb the realization of the Khilafat, and to ensure the free movement of people.
Kyosuke Harada
(CISMOR Research Assistant, Graduate Student of School of Theology, Doshisha University)