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daily archive: 08/09/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Islam has nothing to do with it
The Bush administration usually holds Turkey up as an example of a functioning Muslim democracy. But how does Turkey feel about that?



"You toss aside an 80-year tradition for an experiment in political Islam," a Turkish parliamentarian explained, citing Colin Powell's statement that Turkey is "a Muslim democracy living in peace with its friends and neighbors."



Powell's statement may have been well-meaning Washington-style political correctness, but it raised hackles in Turkey. "We are a democracy. Islam has nothing to do with it," one professor said. "By calling us a Muslim democracy, Powell endorsed the [ruling] AKP [Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi]. If I called the United States a Christian democracy, what would that say to you?"



Turkey has reason to worry.



"According to 1995 annual statistics released by Turkey's general directorate of religious affairs, between 1983 and 1995, enrollment in Turkey's religious schools increased 105 percent. In 2005, experts expect 1, 215, 000 students to graduate after receiving on a religious curriculum. Turkey's religious schools have become hothouses for radicalism. Off-the-beaten track, in places like Cizre, Mardin, Kayseri, and even the Fatih, Bayrampasha, and Sultanbeyli districts of Istanbul, women increasingly not only wear headscarves but also the head-to-toe black hijab characteristic of Saudi Arabia. Bookstores around the Konya tomb of the prominent 13th century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, a figure revered for preaching tolerance and love, now sell the teaching of the late 13th, early 14th century Islamic scholar Ahmad ibn Tamiya who laid the philosophical groundwork for the Islamic fundamentalism centuries later adopted by Saudi Arabia."



Read the whole article. Talking Turkey

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
How to get rid of imported Imams
By Guest Contributor, KianB



As a citizen of Holland for decades, I have a very interesting story to tell you about how Dutch Government assimilated the threat of mosques by training their own Imams:



The main problem in Holland with fundamentalists was that they used mosques to spread the laws of sharia (like everywhere else) in a total sphere of ignorance to the society and people of Holland. The imported Imams, mostly from Morocco or Turkey - without speaking a word of Dutch, used the pulpit to spread their ignorance about the free society of Holland. In a society where homosexual marriage is legal from the 80's and soft drugs from the 70's, preaching anti-homosexual hate would be considered not a threat but an obstacle to the society's peace.



The government saw the root of the problem in imported Imams, those who brainwash ordinary mosque-visitors (like everywhere else again!). The kids that are learning Islam for the first time from the words of Imams will think what they say is right.



So the government thought "why we just don't set up our own 'Imam Training Schools' and ask moderate muslims to actually have a job as Imam." (Instead of being bar keeper or pizza delivery guy). For being an Imam you need an approval from the government and who gets that approval? Only those who participated in Imam Training School (not like everywhere else!) You have a job and a salary, you pay your taxes.



There are rules about how to talk in mosques and what to talk about in mosques to have a better and productive mosque rather than a nest for terror.



So they set up schools for training Imams as a 1-year training course ( it could be just like any other course, HTML programmer, that is) and the participants were those moderate young muslims born and raised in Holland who actually knew what the values of this society are and their main reason for participation was to have a job as a modern moderate Imam. They may be in the same line as Osama bin Laden still, but at least they know they have to respect the society and don't talk like they are in the time of Muhammed.



Talk about other stuff in mosque, encourage visitors to engage in educational subjects rather than judging the sexual preferences of non-muslims.



I know the same rules might not apply in the United States but to what extent do you think this story can teach us something?



Greetings

KianB



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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Fabulous KianB
We are happy to introduce a guest contributor to our blog, KianB, who will be giving us a different perspective on things once or twice a week. KianB is Iranian but like many Iranians he lives in exile in Europe.



Welcome aboard, KianB.

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