German-Egyptian intellectual Hamed Abdel-Samad gave a scathing criticism of political Islam in a September 24, 2023 show on Sky News Arabia (UAE). He said that political Islam is growing stronger in the West while it is waning in the Arab countries, because it takes advantage of the freedom and tolerance in the West. Abdel-Samad said that political Islam organizations seek to destroy the West, like they destroyed society in the Arab countries. He further said the days of shari'a are gone and that religion is supposed to play a calming role in society, rather than a role of fearmongering. Abdel-Samad stated that values that are implemented by fear, bombs, and guns are "feeble values." He criticized religious scholars for interfering in fields in which they are unqualified, such as politics, the judiciary, science, cosmetics, education, and sports.
Hamed Abdel-Samad: "Most religious scholars are not qualified to stick their noses into politics, the judiciary, science, into questions about makeup, or how women should pluck their eyebrows. They interfere in all matters of daily life, in education, in all government institutions, and even in sports, even though they are not qualified to do so.
"When a physician talks about religion, the religious scholars tell him that he is not qualified to pass judgment on matters of religion. Therefore, we should treat them the same way. When religious Scholars talk about matters in which they are not qualified, we must say to them: 'You are not an expert in this field.' We call them 'scholars', but they could not be further from being scientific scholars. On the contrary, they are hostile to science. They alienate people from science and spread superstitions, and an ideology of dependency on Allah, which does not serve society or the Muslims themselves.
"The role of religion is to make people's lives easier, to alleviate their burdens – not to add more burdens. The role of religion is to make people feel calm, rather than make them fear this world, fear Hell, fear Allah, fear the West, fear the East, and the fear the human body, fear the body and feelings of women... All this is what the shari'a does in the in the 21st century. The days of the shari'a and the caliphate are gone.
"Society is fertile ground for the full spectrum of ideas. Fear of ideas is an indication of a weak society with no true values. The values of society are manifest in their benefiting society and the people, whereas values that are implemented by [loud] voices, fear, bombs, and guns are feeble values. We have no need for values that require walls and guard dogs.
"It is true that the political Islam organizations have weakened in the Arab countries. The boat of political Islam is sinking in the Arab world, because they have not offered a political and economic alternative that enjoys the support of the people. But their lifeline has come from the West. Political Islam in the West is much stronger than in Arab countries. It is quietly building its strongholds there, taking advantage of [Western] democracy and freedom. In the name of tolerance, the culture of political Islam is flourishing in the West.
"The [Islamists] talk about coexistence and freedom, and they call themselves 'reform' groups, but in fact, they want to destroy the West, like they have destroyed society in our Arab countries."