Not to defend the Catholic Church but to smear the New atheists »« Insulting the religious values

“Secularism” in Turkey

Burak Bekdil explains why Turkish secularism isn’t.

A majority of Turks, Sunni Muslims, overtly or covertly believe that they should be “more equal” than the others because they constitute the majority. They think that it is their natural right to enjoy preferential treatment in terms of governance and law enforcement. Remember how the crowds in Istanbul last year, trying to attack the Israeli consulate, shouted at the police who were trying to prevent bloodshed? “Leave the Jews to us! What kind of Muslims are you?” A simple search will produce thousands of examples of this nature unveiling the conscious or subconscious desire of the Sunni Turk for preferential treatment in public administration.

It’s not unlike the US that way. A great many Christians in the US also believe that they should be “more equal” than the others because they constitute the majority.

Most recently, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office charged a cartoonist with “insulting the religious [Muslim] values adopted by a part of the population [Muslim],” demanding that the artist receive up to a year in prison in its indictment. That cartoon may or may not insult part of the population. And yes, blasphemy laws are not exclusively Turkish. But a state, or in this case, law enforcement, that is equal to all faiths should ensure that similar cases are opened against, say, the Sunni majority when they insult, say, other monotheistic or atheist parts of the population. Can anyone imagine a Muslim Turk having to stand trial for writing a book that insults atheists?

Secularism combined with a healthy respect for free speech combined with an ability to live with perceived “insults” to beliefs and ideas would be the way to go.

Comments

  1. Elaine says

    My son lives in Turkey and his comment to me was that the Turkish are a very jealous people with each other. Is it just secularism?

  2. RJW says

    “Secularism combined with a healthy respect for free speech combined with an ability to live with perceived “insults” to beliefs and ideas would be the way to go.”

    And a very long way to go, it appears, even in Turkey, that often cited exemplar of Moslem ‘tolerance’ and ‘secularism’.

  3. Egbert says

    A politician the other day (I can’t remember which) said that freedom and security don’t come naturally.

    Well, there’s something true about freedom not being natural. It requires effort and a struggle to gain it.

    We have a popular political discussion programme here in Britain called Question Time, and during yesterday’s episode, the topic of human rights came up. The depressing truth was that most of the audience did not seem to understand what human rights were. Some believed that once you commit a crime, you no longer had any rights.

    Although we live in liberal or social democratic countries, these are somewhat artificial sentiments to the ordinary person’s view of the world.

    Even Hitler in his book and speeches rallied around the term freedom.

    That is why scepticism, criticism and dissent are essential for any healthy culture. It only the minority that keep the majority free.

  4. mirax says

    his comment to me was that the Turkish are a very jealous people with each other

    What does that even mean?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>