IMPACT: Hamed Abdel-Samad is a German-Egyptian journalist and award winning author who has helped shape the public discourse on Islam in Germany. He has written seven books that are not only critical of Islam and Muslims, but frame Islam as a totalitarian ideology. Abdel-Samad is often invited as a guest by the German media, is part of governmental initiatives such as the German Islam Conference, and has been invited by the rising far-right political party Alternative for Germany.
An award winning author, Abdel-Samad claims to have been part of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during his time as a student. In a 2008 article he argued that the Brotherhood was “modern and emancipatory […] focused on ideological mobilization and not on a weaponized struggle.” Later, Abdel-Samad changed his stance and called the Brotherhood anti-modern, violent, and dictatorial. Shortly before the military coup in Egypt in 2013, Hamed Abdel-Samad published a piece in the regime-loyal daily newspaper Akhbar al-Adab, where he argued that the Muslim Brotherhood was a fascist movement.
In a 2009 article, Abdel-Samad contended that the German political establishment was appeasing Islam (through the recognition of Muslim institutions as interlocutor) while ignoring mounting popular fears about Islam. Abdel-Samad claimed that this behavior by the political elite creates resentment amongst the German population. From 2009 to 2013, Abdel-Samad participated in the German Islam Conference, which was initiated by the interior ministry, as a representative of the “silent majority” vis-a-vis Muslim relgious institutions.
Abdel-Samad has published seven books, most of which have become best sellers in Germany within the first week of publication. His books have been translated into several languages, including English, French and Italian.
In 2010, he published his autobiography, Mein Abschied vom Himmel – Aus dem Leben eines Muslims in Deutschland (My farewell to heaven – From the life of a Muslim in Germany), as well the non-fiction book Der Untergang der islamischen Welt – Eine Prognose (The downfall of the Islamic world – A prognosis). A year later, Abdel-Samad published Krieg oder Frieden – Die arabische Revolution und die Zukunft des Westens (War or peace – The Arab revolution and the future of the West).
In 2014, he published Der islamische Faschismus: Eine Analyse, which was translated into English in 2016 by Prometheus Books under the title Islamic Fascism. According to journalist Daniel Bax, this book “is no analysis, but a polemic against political Islam.” Bax states, “Islamic Fascism is a messily written book, which combined Wikipedia-knowledge, personal anecdotes and comments by the author.” Bax also argues that while criticizing an alleged fascism, Abdel-Samad himself defended the military rule of Egypt, remaining silent on the crackdown against Egypt’s democratic system.
In 2015, Abdel-Samad published a biography on the last prophet of Islam, Mohamed – Eine Abrechnung (Muhammad – A final reckoning). In an interview, he sums up the main thesis of the book: “I blame him [Prophet Mohamed] for many problems in the Islamic world. Narcissism and megalomania, paranoia, inability to take criticism, dealing with the West, violence by terrorists who invoke Mohamed, relationship between men and women, between Muslims and non-Muslims. Mohamed was an offended visionary. He waged wars, had the Jews driven out of Medina, enslaved or killed. He should be seen as a human being, with good and bad sides. In the book I highlight the bad ones.”
In 2016, Abdel-Samad published Der Koran: Botschaft der Liebe. Botschaft des Hasses (The Qur’an. A Message of Love. A Message of Hate) and in 2018, his latest book Integration: Ein Protokoll des Scheiterns (Integration: Minutes of a Failure) was released. Abdel-Samad from 2010-2012 released a video series featuring other authors such as the anti-Muslim polemicist Henryk Broder and the Muslim theologian Mouhanad Khorchide.
On April 29, 2014, historian and journalist Joseph Croitoru published an article in the Suddeutsche Zeitung with the title “The Half-Truths of Hamed Abdel-Samad,” in which Croitoru critically discusses the positions and claims of Abdel-Samad. Croitoru states: “Abdel-Samad writes in a demagogic way, presenting the prophet Muhammad as a cruel murderer and rapist, vilifying Abraham as a fascist and claiming ‘that fascism is in a way akin to monotheism.’ One wonders that the widely favoured journalist does not face any vehement dissent from Christians and Jews.”
In 2015, Abdel-Samad repeatedly spoke at local branches of the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD). On June 9, 2015, he spoke at an AfD event in Herzogtum Lauenburg where he said: “Moderate Muslims do exist. But no moderate Islam exists. They are moderate not because of Islam, but despite the fact that they belong to the religion of Islam.” On October 1, 2015, he spoke at the AfD in Bamberg and on October 8, 2015, he spoke at the AfD in Travemünde. He also spoke at the AfD Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf on October 26, 2015, where he insinuated in his speech that Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam, was a pedophile. On October 28, 2015, he was invited to give a talk for the AfD group in Dachau.
In October 2016 interview, Abdel-Samad called for a ban on the hijab, claiming that girls were forced to wear it. Additionally, he argued that “today, we have a violence plague in the heart of Islam.” According to Abdel-Samad, “the acceptance of symbols [such as the Hijab] is an indirect support of Islamist propaganda. That’s why state officials should not wear the cross or the hijab.” For him, Islam and democracy “cannot go together.”
In an April 2018 interview, Abdel-Samad argued that Muslims should be happy that the AfD exists because otherwise there would be no interest in immigration. He stated: “Back then [before refugees from Iraq and Syria arrived in 2015], the society did not care. Nobody talked about values [or] women’s rights, and left migrants to live their own luck or misfortune. One let them live their own morals or their bad habits in their ghettos. This produced parallel structures.”
In an interview in October 2018, Abdel-Samad argued that no political parties other than the AfD would support his view to ban the hijab for girls under the age of 18. He claimed that those parties who failed to support this policy along with churches which opposed hijab bans would “become an accessory to the crime.”
Abdel-Samad is one of the major voices of self-proclaimed Islam-critics (Islamkritiker), which is a designation used by many anti-Muslim figures in German-speaking countries. In an April 2018 interview on the integration of Muslims, Abdel-Samad said that “the state can do whatever it wishes, but if the people concerned show no will to integrate, all endeavors will fail. […] The deniers of integration – conservative Islam, Arab clans – are no partners.” In this statement, Abdel-Samad frames Islam and Arabs as backward, and depicts Arabs and Muslims as individuals who do not want to become part of the society.
On November 28, 2018, Facebook closed Abdel-Samad’s profile because of a comment in which he called the Muslim youth living in the West “cowards and hypocrites” for enjoying freedom but not fighting against oppression within the Muslim community. Facebook opened his account again in less than a day following intervention by Abdel-Samad’s lawyers and individuals such as Seyran Ateş.
A January 2019 article discussed a public event in Dresden, Germany featuring Abdel-Samad and anti-Islam critic and author Thilo Sarrazin. The article stated that during the event Abdel-Samad argued that the ideology of Islam is responsible for the lack of education, women’s rights, and productivity in the Muslim world.
In April 2019, a group of Muslim and leftist students at the University of Frankfurt protested against a planned talk by critic of Islam Susanne Schröter, who often frames Muslim religiosity as ‘political Islam.’ In response, Abdel-Samad came to her defense.
Updated March 6, 2020