L.Inke and Greens in Neukölln are up against the journalist’s appointment Güner Balci to the new integration officer in the district. The reproach: Balci stir up reservations about Muslims in their writings. The defamation comes from those who are far less critical of representatives of political Islam, anti-Semites and Turkish nationalists. Are votes from migrant women only allowed if they represent the desired opinion?
Balci’s documentary “Der Jungfrauenwahn” struck a nerve with many women from patriarchal cultures, especially Muslims. Balci was one of the first to address the taboo and demonization of female sexuality in this film. Pre-marriage sex is taboo and the woman is supposed to bleed on the wedding night.
For desperate women, this lack of evidence even goes so far that they resort to a hymen via eBay. The 50 Euro replacement hymen made of cellulose and fake blood is used by the bride on the wedding night to prove her virginity.
Balci shows how Muslim men with archaic and traditional role models sexualize and control women – also in Germany. She has since faced death threats. She has received numerous awards for her work.
The political opponents also know this and try to discredit the renowned journalist without any evidence. The example of Neukölln shows what is going wrong in the integration debate.
Members of the Left Party and the Greens tear quotations out of context and reproduce them incompletely. They claim that Balci would have called Islam a “loaded weapon”. The sentence goes in full: “Religion can be a weapon – Islam, as it is interpreted by many today, is a loaded weapon due to the lack of critical debate.” Here it becomes clear that it is a reactionary understanding of Islam.
Hakan Tas, who sits for the Left in the Berlin House of Representatives, spoke of Güner Balci “as a woman with migrant Roots an alleged refusal to integrate by migrants in the style of Buschkowsky and Sarrazin“ claim. The Green MP Susanna Kahlefeld writes of a bizarre miscast.
In these and other articles, the journalist is described as a supporter of the author Thilo Sarrazin because she produced the film “Thilo Sarrazin on the road in Berlin Kreuzberg” for ZDF. In it the author was confronted with his theses and had to answer questions from migrants.
However, Balci’s critics make it appear as if she walked through Kreuzberg holding hands with the author. As befits a journalist, she asked Sarrazin critically why he had not conveyed a positive image of Muslims or why he viewed the immigration of Turks and Arabs as a loss-making business.
Of the Economic– and scholars of Islam Ahmad A. Omeirate speaks in this context of a character assassination campaign against the Alevite: “The criticism is not in terms of content, but purely personal Balci related, which so far has not become known with anti-Islamic positions, but Islamism in the Muslim Community critically names in its many facets. “
While Balci of representatives of the Left and the Greens to be close Sarrazin is assumed, the same people seem to consider their proximity to the Central Council of Muslims and the “#Undividable” movement to be unproblematic.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution counts the Turkish Islamic Association Atib, who is a member of the Central Council of Muslims, to the right-wing extremist Turkish “gray wolves”. Members of “# Indivisible” are said to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The events around the Islam debates are also unilaterally occupied by the left and the Greens in this district. There were events on the Berlin Neutrality Act and the headscarf ban. However, only representatives who rejected the law and the ban were invited. Including the AKP sympathizer Betül Ulusoy, the 2014 events of Erdoğan Visited in Germany and, until recently, guided tours in the Kreuzberger Ditib mosque has directed.
What do these examples show us? Leftists like to keep to themselves. You always meet on the same podium, you give each other prizes for having the courage to say things that everyone agrees with. But that prevents an open culture of debate. The supposedly feminist parties in Germany fighting against the patriarchy do not think about the headscarf critically. The mere discussion about it is seen as Islamophobia.
Every critical voice is declared as right thought or equated with AfD rhetoric. The migrants are quickly accused of being instrumentalized by the right. But isn’t that a reproach to the left for not articulating these issues for fear of racism allegations? One wants to be seen as cosmopolitan, but belittles forced marriage and the headscarf and tacitly accepts the oppression of Muslim women.
Left solidarity with the clans
Such positions have in the past led to Thomas Licher, the parliamentary group leader of the Left in the district assembly of Neukölln, left the district association in June 2019. The reason he cited was his party’s “solidarity” with “large Arab families” and defending them against allegations of gang crime. In addition, the focus would be on the topic “anti-Muslim Racism ”, while other disadvantaged groups were not taken into account.
And there was another exit. Marina Reichenbach, who moved into the Neukölln District Assembly for the Left Party in September 2016, left her party in mid-November and joined the SPD. Much was no longer acceptable for them. As an example, Reichenbach cites the district association’s election campaign, which was carried out in front of the Salafist Al-Nur mosque in order to be able to intercept mosque visitors well. Representatives with Hamas-like positions were invited to podiums, and a very powerful “Zionism lobby” spoken.
Such withdrawals show: Anyone who presents themselves as progressive and as a party of feminists should not make radical Islamic currents socially acceptable and should not see feminism only as a fight against the old white man. Critical voices like Güner Balci are right and important for reform in Islam.
Would Balci a reactionary Muslim woman who advocates the Islamic Obfuscation and If she were to express a rigid sexual morality and appear with representatives of political Islam, as a migrant she always felt herself in the role of victim and would ignore patriarchal structures in Turkish and Arab families – left and green would have no problem with her person.
We see the example of Güner Balci: There are the good guys, there are the liberals, but they are threatened and defamed.
Ninve Ermagan works as a student trainee at ZDF-heute and as a freelancer at Wiesbaden Aktuell. She blogs about the Middle East and the role of women in patriarchal cultures.