Guest post by Torcant Torcant.
Sevan Nisanyan is a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin, living in Turkey, who is openly Atheist. He is also a public figure, an activist, an historian, a conservationist, an etymologist and more.
He spares no words when it comes to Islam and religion in general. He has many published books, is active on Facebook, twitter, and has a blog.
Of course he gets a lot of death threats.
But this video against him is especially interesting:
The guy in this video is not widely known. He is not an especially learned person (even in the religious sense). But that is exactly what makes him important. Because there are so many of these guys in Turkey.
The video expresses some characteristics that are commonplace in Turkey:
The speaker first starts by saying that the name Sevan Nisanyan is completely foreign to him (which shows the narrowness of his social circle-the name is so typically an Armenian name) and hasn’t heard of before (which shows his intellectual narrowness) and he can’t even guess if the writer of the article is a male or female (which again shows his cultural circle is very isolated).
1. Surprised: (There are such people and they also dare to talk?)
Sevan Nisanyan, in his article, mocks the Judeo-Christian God and talks about Mohammed as “the guy who claims to be the messenger of Allah. (Allah by the way is the very same God of Abraham. According to Muslims, Christians and Jews got the faith and doctrine wrong in some places and distorted them in others. Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (the very last one) are all prophets of Allah.) The guy in the video receives this article as a viewer’s question and is asked to comment. It’s really comical that he starts by repeating the article’s points and finally says “What he really writes, what he really does is denying God!” as if he suddenly realizes the point just at that moment. Later the punch line comes: “People can criticize other people, but how can you criticize Allah?” Suddenly I was left speechless; did he or not get that Nisanyan does not believe in the existence of God?
2. Unbelief in unbelief: (There must be something sinister behind it!)
Then he says that “I feel someone is playing a sinister game here, someone is trying to provoke issues so that somebody will go and shoot him.” Well, let me first say that such conspiracies do happen in Turkey. Therefore, in that sense, this is not such a fringe claim. But of course it is not true in this case.
The unbelief in unbelief is very common. Their faith is so deeply engrained in people’s minds that they find it very difficult to grasp an unbeliever’s position. They always resort to thinking “oh, he is just a provocateur, the imperialist west is trying to stir up trouble in our country, he is just a tool in the hands of powerful bad countries.” No, he is just an intellectual saying bluntly what he thinks.
As I said before, Sevan Nisanyan gets a lot of, I mean a lot of death threats. Even on twitter, there are open traceable death threats sent to him. On a lucky day, he gets some very graphic insults and curses. On a bad day, he gets graphic, descriptive death threats.
But apart from them, one of the twitter messages exemplifies the mindset so clearly: “You smart ass, you want to get murdered so that you will be a hero, right?”
Nobody actually can get their brains around the fact that there is a person who thinks God doesn’t exist and says so openly, believes that he has the right to do so no matter what, and does all this just for the sake of truth.
3. Look around, how did all this come about! (with American creationist propaganda added as a bonus)
Then comes the fun part. He says “We must counter this with wisdom. We must prove to him that Allah does exist. In order to do this we have to ask him how did the universe came to being, how did a fly or an apple came to being?” How is that? Funny isn’t it? Then he continues “We have to ask him to prove that Allah doesn’t exist!” LOL! In order to prove God to someone, we have to ask that person to prove the non-existence of God! That’s really clever!
Now comes the imported, “Made in USA” part: The protein! Yes, the protein! Do you know how unlikely a protein molecule is? Yet we have protein everywhere! (Despite the abundance of protein, his brain may be suffering from a protein deficiency!) Evangelical Christians should rejoice! Their efforts to promote creationism, serves Islam also. They must be proud!
4. They should be silenced (but murdering them is problematic)
Wanting to silence is absolutely typical and commonplace. Respect for freedom of expression is not a particularly strong point among Turkish people. Moreover anti-god, anti-religion thinking is considered an insult, that should have consequences. Even the very moderate will still think that this type of rhetoric should be silenced at least because it hurts the feelings of believers and causes unnecessary trouble.
But this guy is no moderate. He is just a typical fundamentalist that gently waits for his time to come; patience is one of the highest tenets of Islam after all!
In the final part, he repeats that these thoughts should be countered by wisdom and then goes on to say “Although it is legitimate to murder him according to Islamic law-if he doesn’t repent-, we cannot do this for now… Iran issued a fatwa for Salman Rushdie. Although they didn’t kill him, they made him suffer so much that he is still in hiding” (Which is not true. But he is not being dishonest; just ignorant!) He repeats himself again, and says “Iran had the governmental power to do so. For now, under current circumstances, we have to put up with him and counter with wisdom.
According to the ideology (or faith) of this guy, the only thing that keeps him murdering Nisanyan is secular democratic tradition (which is fading fast), and western pressure. Although the “kill the unbeliever” rhetoric is not publicly and openly expressed, it is there, waiting for the moment to come.