(1) Hat-tip to Umm Zaid for pointing to this article in NY Times, and the news that Abdullah Gul has stepped aside under undemocratic pressure from Turkey's red-army. This is a moment for shame for all of Turkish citizens, and especially for the hypocritical supporters of anti-democratic forces, all in the name of a fear-tactics (the Islamic 'threat' is coming… seems almost like the Bush strategy is in the works there).
(2) Tariq Nelson has uncovered some pictures of Ataturk with his wife, in guess what, a full-blown hijab! What does the red-army have to say now? The pictures have been added below… Austrolabe has an entry and more links to pics (all have been added here).
What is going on in Turkey is what I call the classic case of double-standards exhibited by the West and is complicit media.
So, let's briefly review the situation:
- Most Turkish people want Islam in their lives and in the public arena (not to force others, but just to practice individually).
- A significant minority of them don't like much of anything about Islam, except for being Muslim by name (and that may be a little generous).
- As advertised, in a 'Democracy', the people are supposed to decide who they want their civil servants/rulers to be.
- Apparently, because of (1), more people are voting for the civil servants/rulers who share their liking to Islam. That is they are Muslims, not just by name, and want their leaders to be a bit more Muslim too.
- Well, how dare they!
- Democracy is only good if Muslims, let me qualify, practicing Muslims don't win. So, Algeria, unacceptable. Palestine, unacceptable. And Turkey, God forbid, an “Islamist” country (only in their wild speculations) in Europe, impossible.
- Now it is okay if fundamentalist, rapture-believing, 'Left-behind' novel fanatics are elected in a country that is fast becoming a Christian theocracy. But, it is not okay, if some folks who are quite benign compared to any 'fundamentalist' or 'conservative' Muslims, are dare elected to any power, anywhere in the world.
- Let me get this right: The Presidential position is open. Apparently the previous president was a secularist and kept the 'Islamist' aspirations of the Prime-Minister Erdogan in check. Of course the fact that Mr. Erdogan is hardly a fundamentalist (no beard, no hard-line views, no record of trying to promote any Islamic shariah agendas, etc.) does not matter.
- So, Mr. Erdogan wished to nominate Abdullah Gul for the Presidential post, for no other reason than the fact that they share the same ideology. I mean would you expect Bush to have nominated Gore for his Vice-President? Bush nominated who shares his right-wild, I mean right-wing, beliefs.
- Mr. Gul pledges to adhere to secularist principles, if he becomes President.
- Of course, that is not enough. Even though the red-army of Turkey knows that they have the military power to overturn any form of 'Islamist' agenda, it is obvious that it is not the future agenda they have a problem with. It is the MUSLIMS, the PRACTICING MUSLIMS, they have a problem with.
- So, what is Mr. Gul's grave shortcoming? His wife wears the hijab. Oh my God, what a catastrophe! How can the first-lady wear that piece of cloth when they kicked out a parliamentarian just for wearing it (she wasn't asking anyone else to do so, the poor woman just wanted to do it for herself). And this brave sister had to take refuge in America, leaving 'democratic' Turkey, her country of birth and religion, due to what any fair person would call religious oppression! Yes, indeed, Muslims can sometimes up-end their non-Muslim counterparts in oppression against Islamic symbols and practice (anyone remember Uzbekistan?).
- So, Mr. Gul, you cannot become the President of a Democracy. Because the military says so.
- Oh by the way, Mr. Gul, the Democracy is a facade. It only works when you are on the 'other side'. If you were fighting against the right of a woman to wear the hijab, you would be 'democratically' elected tomorrow. That's a guarantee!
This reminds me of what Shaykh Yasir said (in his speech on Xenophobia in UK):
“Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the way I see it is that if you feel threatened by this piece (12″ by 6″) of cloth [hijab], you feel this is shaking your identity, and challenging who you are, then I think that shows your own prejudices, and your own fears, and your own xenophobia [not in Turkey's case], and your own hatred of our religion [yes in Turkey's case].”
In conclusion, I initiated the post with a reference to double-standards. What did I mean by the double-standards of the Western governments and their media outlets? These lie in their tacit approval of the 'undemocratic' actions of the Turkish military. If you have been a casual observer to media reports on this political crises, there is an attempt by the media and politicians to be 'even-handed' with a slight favor towards the unjust party in this case (i.e. the military). But is even-handedness fair in this case? No, not at all. Rather being even-handed during injustice is injustice in itself. The hypocrisy of these governments and the media in not supporting and speaking out for Turkey's democratic institutions in favor of unfounded and speculative distrust of what these 'practicing' Muslims might be up to, is an outrage. Yes, this is another tacit form of Islamophobia, and yes Muslims 'only in name' can be Islamophobic as well. And where are the self-proclaimed Muslim 'liberals'… where is their support of 'democracy'? I am glad that such situations expose these 'liberal' charlatans as well.
For colorful commentary, make sure you also read Dr. Maxtor's “Turkey's paranoid (and dying) secular fascists protest over…nothing“
As it was becoming obvious that the secularists and their army supporters would not let Abdullah Gul become the democratically chosen President (Presidents are chosen by the Parliament, and parliamentarians are chosen by the people), so Erdogan has called for early polls. This in response to the pressure from the Army Generals (whose minds and intellect are beholden to the dictator and Islam-hater Ataturk) and likely Army-organized march by hundreds and thousands (still a minority) of Islam-haters.
Smart move, Mr. Erdogan: this way the people can give you, Gul, and your party a fresh mandate. It's a foregone conclusion that you will win again, unless your Army buddies, with the help of the European hypocrites help rig the election (not out of the realm of possibilities).