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Johannes Juliaan Gijsbert "Hans" Jansen (Dutch pronunciation: [joːˈɦɑnəs ˈjyliaːn ˈɣɛisbɛrt ˈɦɑns ˈjɑnsən]; 17 November 1942 – 5 May 2015) was a Dutch politician, scholar of contemporary Islam and author.[1]

Hans Jansen
Hans Jansen in 2003
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1 July 2014  5 May 2015
ConstituencyNetherlands
Personal details
Born
Johannes Juliaan Gijsbert Jansen

(1942-11-17)17 November 1942
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died5 May 2015(2015-05-05) (aged 72)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Political partyParty for Freedom
Children3 children
Alma materUniversity of Amsterdam (Master of Letters)
Leiden University (Doctor of Letters)
OccupationPolitician
Author
Columnist
Linguist
Teacher
Professor

Hans Jansen belonged to the "revisionists" in Islamic Studies, i.e. he fundamentally doubted the historicity of the Islamic traditions on early Islam which were written only 150 to 200 years after Muhammad. Moreover, Jansen doubted the existence of Muhammad as a historical person.


Life and career


Hans Jansen's parents were strict Calvinists. At the age of 17, Jansen began studying theology at the University of Amsterdam, yet changed the subject after one year to Arabic and Semitic languages. In 1966 he spent one year in Cairo in order to learn Arabic. Then he continued his studies at the University of Leiden where he made his Ph.D. in 1974.[2]

Jansen taught at the universities of Groningen, Leiden and Amsterdam, and was director of the Dutch Research Institute in Cairo. Then he became associate professor at the University of Leiden. 2003-2008 he was Houtsma Professor of Modern Islamic Thought at the University of Utrecht.[2]

In 1988 Jansen converted to Catholicism. He later said that he then thought also about a conversion to Islam: Islam has "a very attractive and powerful culture, a high culture, great beauty. An enormous suction effect." Jansen was married twice. His first wife Eefje van Santen was daughter of the communist politician Joop van Santen. With his second wife he had three children. One of his sons is a cabaret performer.[2]

Jansen died of a cerebral infarction at the age of 72.[1]


Political commitment


While busy with his university studies, Jansen was member of a leftist group and left the room in protest when somebody mentioned the word "Israel". The turning point of his opinion about Islam was the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981. Some of his friends experienced the event personally.[2]

Jansen was friend to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh. In newspaper articles, interviews and talk shows, he criticized Islam and how politics dealt with Islam. He participated in the international counter-jihad conferences in Brussels in 2007[3] and in 2012.[4]

In 2008, he advised Geert Wilders about his anti-Islam movie Fitna and in 2010 he was a principal witness in the trial of Geert Wilders.

Jansen was an expert witness on the Koran and Shariah in the trial in Birmingham Magistrates Court (Crown vs Timothy Martin Burton) on 8 April 2014, which came to be known as the Birmingham Taqiyya Trial. Mr Burton was subsequently found guilty of Racially Aggravated Harassment.[5]

In the 2014 European Parliament election, Jansen was elected for Wilders' Party for Freedom as MEP.


Research


Hans Jansen is part of the so-called "revisionist" or historical-critical line of Islamic Studies. He fundamentally doubts the historicity of the Islamic traditions on the beginning of Islam which came into being only 150 to 200 years after the event.

In his main work De Historische Mohammed (not available in English), Jansen discusses chapter by chapter the depictions in the prophet's biography by Ibn Ishaq resp. Ibn Hisham which is an important text for traditional Islam. He shows in detail, why the respective depictions are not credible. Jansen reveals self-contradictions, contradictions to other historical sources, embellishments by later authors, politically or theologically motivated distortions of the depiction, symbolic meanings of allegedly historical names, literary construction of the depiction according e.g. to biblical models, and chronological and calendrical incredibilities. In part, Jansen only sums up what other researchers already had found.

Some examples:[6]

Jansen points out that the historically questionable traditions are of great importance for the interpretation of the Quran. The Quran mostly does not reveal the situation for which a revelation was made. The historical context is merely indicated, at best. Many Islamic traditions came into being long after Muhammad on the basis of mere guesses for what situation a Quranic verse had been revealed. By the historically questionable traditions the interpretation of Quran is restricted since then.

In the epilogue, Jansen concluded that Muhammad did not exist as a historical person. Thus, Jansen belongs to a minority within the "revisionist" school which supports this position. The book De Historische Mohammed was reviewed positively e.g. by Prof. Karl-Heinz Ohlig.[7] A respectful but critical review was given e.g. by Stefan Weidner on Qantara.de.[8] The historian Dan Diner highly acclaimed Hans Jansen's Mohammed as a work of enlightenment.[9]


Publications


Books in Dutch:

Books in English (Many other titles are not yet available in English):

Columns


References


  1. Arabist en PVV-er Hans Jansen overleden NOS May 5, 2015.
  2. Sheila Kamerman / Andreas Kouwenhoven: Zij aan zij met Wilders tegen de islam in: NRC Handelsblad 10 May 2014
  3. "Counter Jihad Brussels: 18-19 October 2007". International Civil Liberties Alliance. 20 October 2007.
  4. "Brussels 2012 Agenda". ICLA. 9 July 2012.
  5. "Timothy Martin Burton, Liberty GB Activist & Office Holder - Convicted of Religiously Aggravated Harassment". tellmamauk.org. 31 March 2017.
  6. Cf. Jansen, De Historische Mohammed, 2005/7
  7. Karl-Heinz Ohlig: Ein Lesevergnügen, Review of: Hans Jansen, Mohammed - eine Biographie (German version), in: imprimatur No. 41, 2008
  8. Stefan Weidner: The Mohamed myth, in: Qantara.de 19 May 2008
  9. Dan Diner: Mohammed, das Neue Testament und Rotkäppchen, Review of: Hans Jansen, Mohammed, in: DIE WELT 30.03.2008





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