Thursday, June 14, 2007


I have just returned from Turkey, and, thught it was a good example of a predominantly Islamic nation trying to ensure that its Islamic nature does not overide every other aspect of its existence.
Yes, its important to allow people religious freedom, but how can a simple thing like wearing a headscarf define a religion? It's easy for people to talk about women choosing to wear the headscarf voluntarily, but if you are brought up in an environment where its ingrained in you from childhood that its a woman's duty to cover herself, where is the freedom to make a choice? An indoctrinated choice can hardly be called a choice! Plus I think one needs to review the context, the environment and the exigencies of the times in which Mohamad laid down the rules regarding modesty for women.
What Turkey is doing is creating an open environment for women and trying to ensure that there is equality for women. Are there issues relating to Kurds? Yes, there are, but I don't think Turkey has ever claimed to be Utopia. Do they need to work on it? Yes, they do, but that does not take away from what ever they have achieved.
In any society, radical change is never peaceful, and, perhaps that would also be Turkey's fate. If through its turmoil, its able to emerge as a secular state, it may well become a role model for other Islamic states. Practicising Islam does not neceessarily mean that a state has to lose its secular nature

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