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Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Muslim opposes "Christophobia" and the religion of secular nationalism

Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish journalist and advocate of rapprochement between Islam and the West, responds, here, to torture and murder of Christians in Turkey.

Akyol distinguishes between the teachings of the Qur'an and Sharia.  He insists that the Qur'an teaches the toleration of Christians and Jews:

Although the Qur'an decrees no punishment for a person who leaves Islam and chooses another religion, traditional Sharia, which is a post-Qur'anic body of law created in the early centuries of Islam, brings a horrible sentence: capital punishment. According to this view, anybody who abandons Islam can be rightfully killed — a punishment which the Afghan convert to Christianity, Abdur Rahman, barely escaped last year thanks to the intervention by the international community.

  The reason that Islamic jurists decided to punish apostasy by death in the Middle Ages was that they saw religion and polity as inseparable. Thus, a defection from Islam was regarded as treason to the Islamic state. These concepts have no meaning in today's world, of course, and they are actually against one of the basic principles of the Qur'an: “there is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256)

That the Sharia was an innovation on the teaching of the Qur'an.  Akyol also points to an edict of 1856 in contemporary Turkey's predecessor regime, the Ottoman Empire:

It is also worth noting that the ban on apostasy was abolished by the Ottoman Empire by the Reform Edict of 1856. “All forms of religion are and shall be freely professed in my dominions,” proclaimed then the Sultan. “No subject of my empire shall be hindered in the exercise of the religion that he professes.” Unfortunately, some parts of the Islamic world, and even some Muslims within Turkey, are tragically backward when compared to the Ottoman mindset.

Akyol suggests that the most recent instances of radical Islam were incited by dogmatically secularist Turks.  Where once they stood in staunch opposition to Islamization of Turkey, now they turn their sights on a feared "Christianization" of Turkey as Christians distribute Christian Bibles:

“'Christian missionaries infiltrating our country! Islam is slipping out of our hands!' These words represent the epitome of a very hot debate in Turkey in recent weeks. What made them more surprising than ever was that they belonged not to a conservative Muslim, but to Rahşan Ecevit — the influential wife of Bülent Ecevit, Turkey's former prime minister and long-time guru of left-wing, secularist ideology. Nobody had heard Mrs. Ecevit worrying about the future of Islam before; instead, she used to speak about the ‘threat' of it.

"Actually, Mrs. Ecevit is not the only secular Turk who is furious at Christian missionaries, whose only ‘crime' is distributing free Bibles on Turkish streets and opening small, in-house chapels for the tiny Christian community in Turkey. In recent years, the hyper-secular circles who are defined by their attachment to ‘Kemalism' — the hard-core nationalist ideology claiming to represent the views of modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk — are engaged in a concerted effort against the imagined plot to ‘Christianize' Turkey. Even Doğu Perinçek, a veteran Maoist and committed atheist, is rallying to the forefront of the anti-Christian crusade.”

Finally, Akyol locates this latest attack as symptomatic of "Islamo-nationalism" that cares more about "Turkishness" than Islam.  That its targets have included Muslim Kurds as well as Christians.

Is it "un-Turkish" to be Christian?  Un-Persian or, even, un-Arab?

And, um, is it "un-Canadian" to be an evangelical?

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on April 28, 2007 in International Affairs, Religion | Permalink


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I'd draw your attention to the newest book by Christopher Hitchens "god is not Great"

Posted by: Winston | 2007-04-28 10:37:51 PM


The website keeps a daily count of innocents killed in the name of Allah, but only has room to carrry a running list for the past three months.

Just today, a three-year-old boy was killed in Indonesia. Guess he must have been part of the Jewish/American conspiracy.

Posted by: Set you free | 2007-04-29 9:08:42 AM

This is the time. fellow muslims. we must rally to save our country. I will be an activist from Canada to support turkeys muslim roots. we will not let a crusader culture spawning in the west take our homeladnd. blasphemous west

Posted by: janor | 2007-04-29 2:00:17 PM

janor -

You're kidding, right???

Posted by: obc | 2007-04-29 2:13:02 PM

These people can just go and fuck themselves.

Posted by: Gerry Atric | 2007-04-29 4:23:26 PM

I don't think they can - but I'm in favor of incarcerating them and letting others do the dirty deed!

Posted by: obc | 2007-04-29 4:29:53 PM


You must stop letting them know they can have these epxeriences in our prison system, as it will reduce the potential for punnishement that this lax system has degenerated into. Especially since, to them, it is better to give, than to receive; and that giving does not mean you are like the recipient. How do they say? Legal after six hours on a camel in the sand?

Posted by: Lady | 2007-04-29 11:34:04 PM

It's very turkish to be Christian.

The crusades were launched in part to stop Islam from taking over Turkey. Like the British relieving Poland they failed their war aims.

Constantine named constantinople after himself as the great Christian city of the empire.

Egypt, Syria, Lebanon "were" all Christian countries.

Islam is good at taking over once christian countries you would think with all the shenanigans of late every canadian would know that.

Posted by: DrWright | 2007-04-30 7:05:23 PM

Agreed. Those earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth who believed Him to be the promised Jewish Messiah referred to the movement simply as "the Way". It was in Antioch that these early followers were first referred to as Christians. Ancient Antioch is located in present day Turkey.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-04-30 7:56:09 PM

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