Islamism Is Making Turkey Less Islamic

April 23 2018

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist AKP party came to power in Ankara with promises of reversing the state-sponsored secularization Turkey underwent in the 20th century. But a recent report suggests that religious faith is in decline, as Mustafa Akyol writes:

[The] document shared surprising observations about the very young people that Turkish society often expects to be the most religious: the students of the state-sponsored religious imam hatip schools. The report says that because archaic interpretations of Islam cannot persuade the new generation on issues such as the “problem of evil” (why God allows evil to take place), some imam hatip students have begun questioning the faith. Instead of adopting atheism, the report added, these post-Islamic youths embrace the milder alternative: “deism,” or the belief in God but without religion. . . .

[Indeed], the erosion of Islam among young people has been an oft-repeated theme in the Turkish public sphere. . . . For [some] Turkish commentators, however, the real reason for the loss of faith in Islam is not the West but Turkey itself: it is a reaction to all the corruption, arrogance, narrow-mindedness, bigotry, cruelty, and crudeness displayed in the name of Islam. . . .

[One such] commentator, Akif Beki, . . . pointed to a more specific problem: the unabashed exploitation of Islam for political ends. A recent example, according to Beki, was a propaganda speech by Ali Murat Alatepe, a member of the ruling AKP and the mayor of Esenyurt, an Istanbul municipality. “If we lose here,” Alatepe told a large audience, referring to his municipality, “then we will lose Jerusalem, we will lose Mecca.” So, accordingly, the dominance of the AKP is indispensable to Islam. Or, in other words, Islam is indispensable to the AKP’s dominance.

I agree with Akif Beki and other like-minded Turkish commentators about why so many young Turks are losing faith in Islam. It is precisely because Islamists are empowered, and, by their own behavior, are pushing people away from the faith they claim to uphold.

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Read more at Al-Monitor

More about: Islam, Islamism, Politics & Current Affairs, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Religion, Turkey

 

Distrust of the Supreme Court Led Likud Voters to Rally around Netanyahu

Jan. 17 2020

A few weeks ago, Benjamin Netanyahu handily won the Likud party’s primary election, receiving 72 percent of the votes. He won despite the fact that he is facing indictments on corruption charges that could interfere with his ability to govern if he remains Israel’s premier, and despite the credible challenge mounted by his opponent, Gideon Sa’ar. Evelyn Gordon credits the results not to love of Netanyahu but to resentment of Israel’s overweening Supreme Court:

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politics, Israeli Supreme Court