Syrian poet Adonis was interviewed on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) on December 2, 2018. Asked about the wave of Islamophobia in France, Adonis said that this phenomenon's roots date back to the Crusades, and that there are racist inclinations in Europe, even if they are sometimes dormant. He also said that Muslims sometimes behave in ways that awaken this dormant racism because they do not acknowledge others and they view them as different. He said that Islamic culture wants to impose itself wherever there are Muslims without taking into consideration the society that embraces it. He also argued that it was not anti-Islamic or racist for Germany to refuse to allow Saudi Arabia to finance German mosques, and that it would not be racist for France to announce that mosques are exclusively for prayer and not for cultural activity.
Following are excerpts:
Interviewer: How do you view the recent wave of Islamophobia in France? How do you see it? How do you understand it? What’s your take on it?
Adonis: We must admit that this [phenomenon] has ancient roots. It dates back to the Crusades. We must acknowledge this in order to see things more clearly. We must also admit that there are still racist inclinations in Europe. Even if they are hiding or marginalized, they still exist, and they awaken in different occasions. However, we must not forget that the Muslims sometimes behave in ways that awaken this dormant racism. Muslims do not acknowledge the “other.”
Interviewer: In France, Muslims are oppressed. Nobody asked them to acknowledge the “other.” They are pushed to the sidelines by the…
Adonis: The Islamic culture wants to impose itself wherever there are Muslims without taking into consideration the society that embraces it.
A Muslim will never view the other as a partner, even if he is in this person’s home. He always considers the “other” to be different from him.
Germany refused to allow Saudi Arabia to finance the mosques in Germany. They said that they do not want Saudi Arabia to finance the mosques. If France announced that mosques are for prayer only, and that they do not constitute cultural centers – how would that be anti-Islamic?
How is such a thing offensive to Muslims? [If they said that] mosques should be a place for prayer, and respected that, but [decided] that it should not become a place for cultural activity, [because] culture belongs elsewhere… Why is this considered to be a racist position?