Some of Germany's Muslim leaders are criticizing a book which says that belief in God is not mandatory in Islam. The author is on the defense - particularly since he heads the organization that trains Islam teachers.
For an outsider, the situation sounds odd: a Turkish newspaper, "Türkiye," prints an article in which three high-ranking functionaries of Muslim organizations in Hamburg accuse an Austrian with Palestinian roots of betraying the roots of Islam. The reason: the Austrian wrote a book in which he claimed that paradise was open to anyone who lived a good life - regardless of whether he or she believed in God.
The plot thickened when it became clear that the Austrian was also a professor of Islam. Adding another layer of internationalism to the story, it turned out he works at the University of Munster in Germany, where he heads the organization responsible for training future Muslim religion teachers.
That the criticism of his book, which was published in September 2012, reached him through a Turkish newspaper both surprised and annoyed Mouhanad Khorchide. "That is not in line with Muslim values, where it is very clear that when you criticize someone, or want to make a suggestion, it should happen privately - not in the media," he told DW.