The writer regarded as the greatest Arabic language poet alive today has said Islam cannot be modernised.
Adunis Asbar, known by his pen name Adonis, is a Syrian-born writer often considered one of the greatest living poets of the Arabic language. He has come under criticism for comments he made recently about Islam before receiving the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize, named after the famous pacifist and author of the classic World War One novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’.
In an interview with Die Welt he talked about one of the most pressing issues in Germany since the migrant crisis began, the idea of being able to integrate migrants from predominately Muslim countries into European societies.
Being raised a Muslim himself and having one of the greatest understandings of the language of the Quran, Adonis said: “You can not reform a religion. If they are reformed, [the original meaning] is separated from it. Therefore, modern Muslims and a modern Islam is already impossible. If there is no separation between religion and state, there will be no democracy especially without equality for women. Then we will keep a theocratic system. So it will end.”
Laying down a heavy critique of the Islamic world, he added: “Arabs have no more creative force. Islam does not contribute to intellectual life, it suggests no discussion. It is no longer thought. It produces no thinking, no art, no science, no vision that could change the world. This repetition is the sign of its end. The Arabs will continue to exist, but they will not make the world better.”
The remarks are in reference to the broader questions of how he sees the Middle East, and specifically his native Syria which has been in a state of civil war for years. Adonis describes the totality of Islam in the life of people in the Islamic world saying Muslim society is “based on a totalitarian system. The religion dictates everything: How to run, how to go to the toilet, who one has to love…”
Initially seemingly reluctant to condemn the Assad regime, he did write an open letter to Bashar Assad asking him to step down. However, this also angered rebel sympathisers when he referred to Assad as the elected President of Syria. Adonis said: “But I’ve also written a second letter, which was addressed to the revolutionaries. I have asked for their vision. But they would not read it, because they are not independent.”
He went on to say the rebels were controlled by interests in America, Saudi Arabia and certain sections of Europe, and stessed:
“I have long been an opponent of Assad. The Assad regime has transformed the country into a prison. But his opponents, the so-called revolutionaries, commit mass murder, cut people’s heads off, sell women in cages as goods and trample human dignity underfoot.”
Adonis was referring to the Islamic State and the Al-Nusra front (an Al Qaeda affiliate) who have become the largest opposition force to Assad over the course of the civil war.
Breitbart London has already reported that attempts to house and integrate Muslim migrants will cost Germans and other European countries billions of euros, and according to Adonis’ opinion it could be a useless endeavour.
When asked if he receives death threats from radical Islamists Adonis said: “Of course, but I do not care. For certain convictions people should risk their lives.”