Futuring the Liberal Script #6: The Architect of Islamism


A Conversation with Gudrun Krämer and Yassir Musharbash, moderated by Sonja Zekri

If Islamist currents are often discussed as the radical other to Western modernity, Gudrun Krämer's new book Der Architekt des Islamismus - Hasan al-Banna und die Muslimbrüder corrects this assessment. In 1928, the Arabic teacher Hasan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the first Islamist movement as we understand it today. He declared war on colonialism, Christian mission and Westernisation and saw himself as anti-liberal, anti-secular and anti-colonial. Interestingly, Hasan al-Banna linked the Koran, Sunna and Islamic traditions with European ideas of self-help and self-empowerment. And he did not stop at theory, but translated the idea of Islamic reform and renewal into organised, practical action.

With this portrait of the ideological architect of Islamism, Gudrun Krämer opens a key chapter in the history of modern Islam: the radical worlds of imagination, extremist manifestations and the tense relationship between Islamic tradition and reform and Western liberal modernity. In the 6th episode of Futuring the Liberal Script Gudrun Krämer, Prof. em. of Islamic studies and journalist Yassin Musharbash discuss central theses of the book Der Architekt des Islamismus: Hasan al-Banna und die Muslimbrüder (C.H. Beck 2022). The conversation is moderated by Sonja Zekri.


Gudrun Krämer is a Professor em. of Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as a historian and political scientist. She was principal investigator at the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS where she now holds the SCRIPTS Alumni Professorship. Until 2019, she was Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. She researches and publishes on the topic of Islamic Modernism, with a focus on religion, law, politics & society, Islamic and Islamist movements, secularity and the history of the Middle East and North Africa post-1800. In 2010 she was awarded the Gerda Henkel Prize for her research.

Yassin Musharbash, is a journalist and Head of Data and Investigative Research at Die ZEIT and ZEIT Online. While he was still a student of Arabic studies and political science, he began working as a journalist for, among others, taz and the Jordan Times. For several years his focus has been on terrorism, domestic security and upheavals in the Arabic world, initially as an editor for Spiegel Online and now for the investigative desk at the weekly paper Die Zeit. In 2006 appeared his non-fiction book Die neue Al-Qaida. Innenansichten eines lernenden Terrornetzwerks, he also published the thrillers Radikal (2011), Jenseits (2017), most recently Russische Botschaften (2021). In 2018 he received the Nannen Prize for his investigative journalistic work.

Sonja Zekri is a journalist, author and correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. After studying history and Slavic studies in Bochum she first worked as freelance journalist for various newspapers, magazines and media. She has been an editor at the Süddeutsche Zeitung  since 2001, where she headed with Andrian Kreye from 2015 to 2020. As SZ correspondent for the Arab region, she was in Cairo from 2011-2015, before that (2008-2011) as correspondent in Moscow. She currently writes as cultural correspondent from Berlin. Her main topics are the Middle East, Eastern Europe, culture and religion.

Language: German

An event organised by the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” in cooperation with C.H.Beck Verlag and silent green


Futuring the Liberal Script is a conversation series live from the silent green. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS and guests current crisis of liberal societies and democracies from diverse perspectives. The liberal script has to compete increasingly with alternative scripts and agendas for organizing societies, be they run by authoritarian, populist, Islamic fundamentalists, terrorist or technocratic autocracies. Whether liberal democracies are confident, flexible and agile enough to respond to the challenges posed by contrary political systems and alternative ideas is a central matter of acute political and social concern. “Futuring” is not a variant of optimizing, but rather relates to developing a critical and creative stance in response to current contestations of liberal values and to explore possible futures of the liberal script as a” script in trouble”. The SCRIPTS conversations assemble a variety of views, concerns and actors by putting research topics and timely diagnosis up to public and ongoing debate

The Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)” is a research consortium that analyses why the liberal model of order has fallen into crisis despite its political, economic, and social achievements. Interdisciplinary research teams investigate why alternative concepts of social order are on rise, how these contestations differ from earlier contestation, and what the consequences are for the global challenges of our time. In operation since 2019, SCRIPTS is hosted by the Freie Universität Berlin and unites 8 major Berlin-based research institutions.

Monday, September 12
Doors: from 6.15 pm / Start: 7 pm
Free admission