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WILL THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS PUSH TURKEY TOWARD ISLAMIC REVOLUTION?
Professor Ali Khan
Washburn University School of Law
JURIST Contributing Editor

The European Court of Human Rights, sitting in Strasbourg, faces a troubling question about Turkish democracy. The question is posed by an Islamic political party, known as Refah (The Welfare Party). The Turkish Constitutional Court has banned Refah for advocating the introduction of sharia, i.e., Islamic law, and for challenging the non-amendable provisions of the Turkish Constitution, designed to keep Turkey, for ever, as a secular, liberal democracy. Since Turkey has signed the European Convention on Human Rights, Refah brought the case before the Strasbourg Court.

In July 2001, a Chamber of the Court, by four votes to three, upheld the ban on Refah. The case is now on appeal before the Grand Chamber. It is hoped that the Grand Chamber will lift the ban and save Turkey from Algeria-type chaos and political instability, which is most likely to simmer in the months to come.

The Chamber judgment in the Refah case is shocking, provocative and, unfortunately, appears to be anti-Islamic. The most shocking part involves the statement that sharia is incompatible with democracy and human rights prescribed in the European Convention. Rejecting the argument that Refah has a right to exist under Article 11 of the Convention, which protects the right of association, the Chamber majority opines, 殿 political party whose actions seem to be aimed at introducing sharia in a State party to the Convention can hardly be regarded as an association complying with democratic ideal that underlies the whole of the Convention.

What is most disturbing is the fact that a Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court has previously ruled that Turkey cannot ban the Communist Party. It was argued before the Grand Chamber that 菟olitical parties, should be able to campaign for a change in the law or the legal and constitutional structures of the state... The Court unanimously held that the ban on the Turkish Communist Party was a violation of Article 11 of the Convention.

When the two cases, Communist and Refah, are studied together, the new holding is both coherent and incoherent. It is coherent for those who paint West as the enemy of Islam. For them, it is perfectly understandable that the European Court would legalize the Godless Communist Party but ban the God-fearing Refah. It is incoherent for those who expect from the Court a consistent jurisprudence regarding Article 11. The right to association lies at the heart of democracy. If the people have no democratic option but to submit to official ideology---communist, theocratic or secular--- the right to association is meaningless.

It is hoped that the Grand Chamber will overrule the lower Chamber and uphold the right of Islamic parties to exist and contest elections in Turkey. For otherwise, the Court痴 message, loud and clear, would infuriate Turkish Muslims, asked to abandon their religion in order to embrace democracy. The difficult task for the learned and the wise is to create new harmonies. That is what the Court should do. It should create ways for Islam to peacefully embrace democracy in Turkey. Islam has interacted with the Western civilization for many centuries. So have the Turks. That interaction must be preserved, and not stifled in the name of democracy. For if Turkey is pushed toward extreme secularism, its internal turmoil will affect the entire region.


Ali Khan is Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Washburn University. The argument presented here is examined in more detail in the author痴 forthcoming book, A Theory of Universal Democracy (Kluwer, 2002).

September 9, 2002

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Discussion

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  • Wednesday September 11, 2002 at 2:11 pm
    Assalam O Aliakom Islam is the religon of peace and believes in democracy. If Turky chooses Islam which it would and have to, it would be chossing the provisions of democracy in reality. Democracy has so many dimensions each leading to the one person or one unit. Islam is a universal religion and democracy is of course its principle, where every body has the right to know what is happening and how it is happening. We can not ofcourse term every thing as democracy i.e. a life with out any boundries. Turkey would loose its entire existance if it defines the democracy as being seprate thing.

    Saghir Munir Mehar (Advocate)
    Pakistan

  • Saturday September 14, 2002 at 9:01 pm

    This is one of the most important jurisprudential and practical question of this century.

    For the Turkey the importance assumes greater heights because of her submission to the European Court of HR, as well as her pending application to be a member of the EU, even as Turkey is already a member of the OIC.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Monday September 16, 2002 at 9:01 am
    Mr Mehar's assertion that Islam believes in democracy is hard to believe. In all Muslim countires that I know of, the non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims,e.g. the Christians in Pakistan have no voting rights until very recently(after the 911 affair). In Malaysia, the Islamic state of Trengganu states that non-Muslims having no voting rights on laws. No secular laws are available for them; they have to follow the Hudud laws of Islam. The list goes on if you go from one Islamic country to another. Muslims do not believe in secularism; its Islam and only Islam that matters.

    SeeKayES
    Malaysia.

  • Thursday September 19, 2002 at 12:12 pm

    "This is one of the most important jurisprudential and practical question of this century."

    The rationale for the ban of the Islamic Party is that, if allowed in the democratic process, and if it comes to power through participation in the democratic process, it may sweep aside the secular laws and introduce Islamic laws.

    Where the democratic process is commonly identified with secular laws, the possibility of removing the secular laws is then perceived as the death of the democratic process.

    It is this perceived threat of the death of secular laws and with it the democratic process, that, instead of allowing the Turkey Islamic Party to participate in the democratic process, it is banned to 'preserve and safeguard the democratic process".

    This is an explanation, and the value of it is for the audience to decide whether it is true that there would be the death of the democratic process with the lifting of the ban of the Islamic Party, Turkey.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Tuesday September 24, 2002 at 4:50 pm
    The situation is deteriorating in Turkey. On Friday, the High Electoral Board banned Recep Tayyip Erdogan from contesting in the forthcoming November elections. He has been convicted of "sedition" for reciting a piece of Ottoman poetry, which refers to mosques as barracks, domes as helmets and minarets as bayonets. Erdogan is the former mayor of Istanbul. His Justice and Developemnt Party (AKP) has been accused of preaching Islam. The armed forces are determined to defeat political Islam. But Erdogan remains popular. He was hoping to become the next prime minister. Erdogan has petitioned the European Court of Human Rights to have the ban lifted. It is hoped that the Court would provide an immediate relief to save Turkish democracy from becoming a political monopoly of the armed forces.

    Ali Khan, Professor of Law
    Washburn University
    Kansas, United States

  • Wednesday September 25, 2002 at 11:53 am

    Ali Khan, Professor of Law

    Were there reasons given on or after July 2001, by the Chamber of the Court, voting four votes to three, for upholding the ban on Refah?

    This may help us understand the issue of the 'ban' on 'political Islam'.

    Is this ban only on the Islamic political party, known as Refah (The Welfare Party) or includes the Justice and Developemnt Party (AKP) as well? Or is the ban on ALL Islamic parties?

    How many Islamic parties are there in Turkey? What's the number of the aggregate members in terms of percentage of the overall population?

    Do ALL Islamic parties have the same agenda? IF not, how do they differ in terms of basic objective? Do ALL Islamic parties wish to set up an Islamic State with Syariah?

    Please enlighten us, bearing in mind, Turkey's application to join EU is pending processing. Has EU also laid down terms and conditions against Islamic parties?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Thursday September 26, 2002 at 10:46 am
    Case of Refah is available online at the European Court of Human Rights website. http://www.echr.coe.int/Default.htm Whenever Turkey bans an Islamic party, its members regroup to form another Islamic party. More generally, the ban on political Islam derives its "legitimacy" from Turkish constitutional provisions, under which secularism is a permanent feature of the state: Secular provisions of the constitution have been made non-amendable. Political Islam challenges its exclusion from the democratic process. And the Turkish armed forces are opposed to political Islam. They would step in, as they have done in the past, if any Islamic party wins elections and forms the government. Thus law and the military force have joined hands to institute a political monopoly. In my view,Turkey would be a stronger democracy if Islamic parties are allowed to take part in the political process. If Turkey is forced to choose between democracy and Islam, chaos and instability would threaten regional peace and security.

    Ali Khan, Professor of Law
    Washburn University
    Kansas, USA

  • Thursday September 26, 2002 at 12:10 pm

    Ali Khan, Professor of Law

    The exact site of the Refah case seems hard to locate from the general site you have kindly provided. Maybe if you could assist.

    Professor, you have side stepped the issue of "Do ALL Islamic parties have the same agenda? IF not, how do they differ in terms of basic objective? Do ALL Islamic parties wish to set up an Islamic State with Syariah?" Maybe if you could respond and enlighten us.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Thursday September 26, 2002 at 3:44 pm
    Here is a BBC article from earlier this year listing the various political parties of Turkey http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2165837.stm

    Oscar Chen
    California, USA

  • Friday September 27, 2002 at 12:27 pm

    Oscar Chen,

    You have won an "Oscar" by providing this informative BBC site on Turkey! :-) :-) :-)

    The answers to the question, "Is this ban only on the Islamic political party, known as Refah (The Welfare Party) or includes the Justice and Developemnt Party (AKP) as well? Or is the ban on ALL Islamic parties?" is as i gather from that site --

    (1) Justice and Developemnt Party (AKP) formed last year by moderate members of Turkey's outlawed pro-Islamic Virtue Party has about 20% of overall support, & with a threshold system, it would get a disproportionately large share of the seats in Parliament. That is as at 2 August 2002, per BBC on-line News this pro Islamic Party is NOT banned.

    (2) There is the Saadet Party, the second pro Islamic Party to emerge from the banning of the Virtue Party. It is described as pro Islamic because it maintains contact with the banned former Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan. It has 4% support.

    (3) BBC News online list of the main parties likely to contest the election in Turkey number 10, and of which it appears that 2 (or is it 3) are pro Islamist parties, with about 24% support (or is it 34%, if one includes the True Path party with 10% support.

    One may then understand the BBC News reporting that Turkey is a secular state and most Turks seem to want it to remain so. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2117706.stm

    That is besides the parallel issue that BBC News reports that any pro Islamic party in Turkey faces a big problem - the disapproval of Turkey's secularist generals, who hold the real power behind the scenes. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2125827.stm

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Saturday September 28, 2002 at 12:20 pm

    Rather than this party or that, this ideology or that; maybe a more pressing & more important critical issue is as at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2125827.stm "Turkey desperately needs new injections of money from the International Monetary Fund, under a $16bn recovery programme agreed with the agency during Turkey's economic crisis two years ago."

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Tuesday October 01, 2002 at 9:43 am

    Professor Ali Khan

    Given that there are pro Islamic parties in Turkey (as indicated above) which are not banned, I doubt any decision of the THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS to ban one Islamic party -- Refah (The Welfare Party)WILL PUSH TURKEY TOWARD ISLAMIC REVOLUTION.

    It would take other more serious and weighty factors , which have been brewing for a very long time, for there to be an Islamic revolution. Are there?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Tuesday October 01, 2002 at 10:52 pm
    Prof Ali Khan and others, Assalamualaikum, to all Muslim and Good Morning to non-Muslim.Being a Muslim my declaration is that There is no other God except Allah and the Prophet Mohammad (SAW)is His Mesenger. Please do no mix up between Islamic way of life and democracy practices. Islam is the way of life of the God's (Allah's)will (created by Allah)whereas democracy practices are human being created rules. Being human created principles, democracy bounds to have a lot of weakness and deficiencies and it changes according to cultures and times. Laws created under a democracy system are to protect the governing party and imposed radically towards public at large. Again its fairness is highly questionable. On that premise, democracy practices in Islam is permitted so long it does no go against Islam. The moment it goes against Islamic principles such as unfair practices, injustice laws, injustice treatment, then Islam laws prvail and has the right to go against it and quash any decision even the decision is base on democracy principles. As such, the decision of ECHR to upheld the decision of the Turkish Constitional Court to ban any party in Turkey from any election is illegal and against the God's will and unconstitional and considered void and punishable in the Court of God in the judgment day. Remember, if your decision deprives others fron the God's will, the God's pinishment is the severest punishment for an indefinite time. Think about it, and the decision is on YOU. My e-mail:nawi_mohd@yahoo.co.uk

    Nawi
    NGO
    Malaysia.

  • Wednesday October 02, 2002 at 9:45 am

    Nawi NGO of Malaysia

    As at today, there is no other system than the democratic system, whatever may be its defects, that allows the most freedom. Maybe in the far future, a better system can come into place, but this is the best we have today and possibly for a long time to come.

    Look at Turkey and what she needs, not what you need. Does she need an Islamic state or a modern secular state? See what the majority of the people of Turkey need. What does it mean for Turkey to be accepted to be a member of the European Union? What are the conditions of membership? Is the membership worth it and crucial to Turkey痴 true and beneficial development. Why did Turkey accept the European Court of Human Rights? Is this what she needs? If yes, would it not be that Turkey would do best to abide by the decision of the ECHR?

    Look at the globalisation process and the new World Trade Organisation (as of 1 January 1995) and how national economies and regional as well as global economies change with the liberalization process. These are developments that merit your consideration, if you so desire, and your role, if you so wish, to assist states with Muslim majority or Islamic states, to be fully assimilated into the WTO and participate effectively and meaningfully and productively in the liberalization process.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Thursday October 03, 2002 at 8:42 pm

    Nawi NGO of Malaysia says, "As such, the decision of ECHR to upheld the decision of the Turkish Constitional Court to ban any party in Turkey from any election is illegal and against the God's will and unconstitional and considered void and punishable in the Court of God in the judgment day." Reply: Consider the decision of the Islamic party the Refah party to submit to the jurisdiction of the ECHR. It was their considered choice and risk to accept the jurisdiction of the ECHR and with it, the Refah party's risk, to recognise the decision of the ECHR. If the lower chamber of the ECHR has not found in their favour, the Refah party continues to accept the jurisdiction of the ECHR by appealing to the Grand Chmaber the appellate court. You may profit by seeking to find out why one islamic party of Turkey submitted to and accepted the jurisdiction of the ECHR knowing the ECHR has its own legal jurisprudence which is not an Islamic jurisprudence. I doubt the Refah party, the appellant would have raised the legal arguments from your perspective of " Remember, if your decision deprives others fron the God's will, the God's pinishment is the severest punishment for an indefinite time. Think about it, and the decision is on YOU. " though one needs to go the appeal records and oral arguments and written submission if any before the Grand Chambers to know what were the arguments raised by the Refah party in the appeal court as well as the lower chamber.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Monday October 07, 2002 at 11:07 am

    This is the site reference for the detailed judgement of the majority judges and minority decison

    http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/kirchenrecht/nomokanon/urteile/eughmr010731.htm

    (1) For the findings of FACTS by the ECHR - see pages 4-15 and also para 1-31

    (2) For the domestic law of Turkey - see pages 15-24

    (3) For the LEGAL ARGUMENTS OF THE APPLICANTS, see pages 24-26 para 54-58

    (4) For the LEGAL ARGUMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY- see pages 26-28 para 59-63

    (5)For the COURT'S (MAJORITY) ASSESSMENT- see pages 28-36 para 64-84

    (6)For the applicants alleged violation of the Convention- see pages 36-37

    (7) For the JOINT DISSENTING JUDGEMENT- see pages 38-44

    Most other sites are the SUMMARY of the case by the Registrar ECHR

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 10:55 am

    (1) 16 January 1998- Turkish Constitutional Court made an order dissolving the RP on the ground that it had become a "centre of activities against the principle of secularism".

    (2) 31 July 2001 European Court of Human Rights Lower Chamber of seven judges:-

    Jean-Paul Costa (French), President,

    Willi Fuhrmann (Austrian), (joint minority dissenting)

    Loukis Loucaides (Cypriot), (joint minority dissenting)

    Riza Trmen (Turkish),

    Nicolas Bratza (British), (joint minority dissenting)

    Hanne Sophie Greve (Norwegian),

    Kristaq Traja (Albanian), judges,

    and also Sally Doll, Section Registrar.

    by a majority of 4:3 judges, upheld the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court- that there had been no violation of Article 11 of the Convention in the case and, unanimously, that no separate issues arose under Articles 9, 10, 14, 17 and 18 of the Convention and Articles 1 and 3 of Protocol No. 1.

    (3)(A) Wednesday 19 June 2002 European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber of about 18-19 judges heard the case of Refah Partisi, Erbakan, Kazan & Tekdal v. Turkey, comprising -

    Luzius Wildhaber (Swiss), President,

    Christos Rozakis (Greek),

    Jean-Paul Costa (French),

    Georg Ress (German),

    Gaukur Jrundsson (Icelandic),

    Lucius Caflisch (Swiss),

    Riza Trmen (Turkish),

    Corneliu Brsan (Romanian),

    Peer Lorenzen (Danish),

    Volodymyr Butkevych (Ukrainian),

    Nina Vaji (Croatian),

    Matti Pellonp蒿 (Finnish),

    Margarita Tsatsa-Nikolovska (FYROMacedonia),

    Andr疽 Baka (Hungarian),

    Rait Maruste (Estonian),

    Anatoly Kovler (Russian),

    Antonella Mularoni (San Marinese), judges,

    Joseph Casadevall (Andorran),

    Wilhelmina Thomassen (Netherlands), substitute judges,

    and also Paul Mahoney, Registrar.

    (3)(B) 飽utcome ??? Date ???

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Wednesday November 27, 2002 at 5:49 am
    My observation is that peoples reaction to Islam is generaly based on thier superficial understanding of Islam.One should know it quite clearly that he can not understand Islam from Western perspectives as he can not undersatnd himself through others.Islam is very simple.And to understand its simplicity one has to understand the thoughts of different civilisations.Democracy as a system of governance is not new.Views of scholars during different stages of development of democracy have been different.Even today it is not free from its defects.However it is considered a best system of governance in practice these days.Other than this one misconception is also generaly obsereved that democracy is western in origin.The present system of democracy is beyond doubt western in nature.But the democratic spirit which is nothing else than freedom and equiality is not the creation of either western philosphers or orient. God has created man bestowing upon him freedom and equiality.The democratic spirit which Islam stands for is universal.It means each man is free to decide what is better for him.There is no compulsion in Islam.Democracy is not westernisation.Democracy is not seculerization either. De mocracy is giving each man freedom to take part in the governanceIt means resolution of conflicts prevailing in any society.In every system of governance conflict of interests which prevail in the society are resolved.In present democracy this is done by the representatives of the peoples not by the people themselves.Democracy only creates a sense of participaton in the people.Deocracy is dialouge.It is delibrations.It is conflict resolution.Any one who is realy interested in understanding what Isalm says about the subject he himself must seek knowledge.And not give reactions simply by what they see in practice in Muslim world which in no way qualifies to be namedas Islamic world.

    Iqbalur Rehamn
    Aligarh Muslim University,Aligarh
    India

  • Monday December 02, 2002 at 7:26 am

    Iqbalur Rehamn,

    While it is widely acknowledged that in any "..-ism" practice differs from theory, so it for most faiths, especially world religions, of which Islam is on of the main world religions; the question here, addresses directly the issue, of ban of 'radical' (for want of a better word, unless you have one) Islamic political parties in Turkey.

    Thus what is your view, if any, of the situation in Turkey?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Friday May 09, 2003 at 4:17 am
    Discussing Sharia is a violation of demacracy. Sharia dictates Islamic rules to be propageted by the Government to society.Each society includes poeple from other religions. Such a system would take away their rights which questions democracy. The people who defend Sharia are the same people who were against French revolution and Industrial Movement in mediaval Europe.It is sad to hear this from a Professor who learnt NOTHING from his life experiences and Q'uran itself.

    Ahmet Ergenc
    Republic of Turkey
    Wyoming/USA

  • Sunday June 08, 2003 at 10:36 pm
    IN THE NAME OF ALLAH ASSLAM ALIKOM,TURKEY WAS THE LEADER OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD.AND ALL OF MOSLEMES MUST LIVE UNDER ONE SYSTEM. IT IS ONE STEP ON THIS WAY TO INTREDUCE THE ISLAMIC SYSTEM BY ISLAMIC PARTIES,WHICH HAVE GOOD BOROGRAMERES TO SOVE THE PROBLEMES IN OUR ISLAMIC SOCIETES AND OTHR SOCIETES,TO MAKE ALL MOSLEMES AND ALL OF PEAPOLE KNOW THAT ISLAM IS REAL AND IDEAL SYSTEM. AT LEAST NOT LAST,I ASK ALLAH TO MAKE ISLAM COME-BACK THE MEASTER OF THE WORLD. I HOPE FROM EVREY ONE WHO READ THIS WORDS TO ASK ALLAH FOR ME TO BE SUCESSFUL MOSLEM. ASSLAM ALIKOM MOHAMMED GADDOUA UNIVERSAL STUDENT FROM ISMAILIA-EGYPT

    MOHAMMED GADDOUA
    EGYPT

  • Sunday August 31, 2003 at 2:46 am
    ABOVE ALL ARGUMENTS STANDS ON THE FOLLOWINGPREMISES. 1 GOD EXISTS 2 GOD CREATED MANKIND. 3 AT THE SAME TIME OR LATER CREATED LAWS FOR THE HUMANS TO FOLLOW AND LIVE. THIS ITSELF LOOKS ILLOGIC.BECAUSE LOGIC ITSELF WAS EVOLVED BY MAN TO UNDERSTAND HIMSELF AND NATURE.THIS ILLOGIC GOES AGAINST TO HIS UNDERSTANDING.APART FROM THIS THERE ARE MANY GODS COMPETING FOR THE SUPERIORITY.HINDU GOD,CHRISTIAN GOD,MUSLIM GOD ETC.AND PEOPLE HATING EACH OTHER,KILLING EACH OTHER LIKE ANIMALS JUST PROVE THAT THEIR GOD IS THE SUPERIOR ONE AND ONLY ONE.DOES IT ALL MAKES ANY SENSE?

    VIJAYA KUMAR
    INDIA

  • Monday October 06, 2003 at 6:48 am
    Ahmet Ergenc [Republic of Turkey/ Wyoming/USA], Obviously, you prefer a secular liberal democracy, where, religion is a matter of private space. Even for those who advocate an Islamic democracy or a pluralistic democracy with respect for Islam, there are the conservatives and the progressives. Just as there are tools of interpretation of Common Law, there too are tools of interpretation of Sharia. As Common Law is also called judge made law, likewise Sharia, save for the Koran. If Common Law fossilized as at 12th century, were to be applied in this 21st century, the Common Law, good for 12th century, would be out of syn with 21st century痴 times, conditions and institutions. Muslims have much to do, if they wish to fast track, Sharia to 21st century.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Sunday October 12, 2003 at 8:08 pm
    This kind of double standard hypocrisy was best described by a Muslim woman : " If someone is free to wear the bikini then certainly I am free to wear the hijab" The hypocrisy of Europeans is manifest . The communists deserve to be illegal in Turkey if only for the genocidal crimes committed by the Russians against the Muslim peoples. Decades of haveing no religion have now placed the Russians themselves in peril from the ravages of the sex trade and corruption . Following closely behind them their secular friends everywhere. Muslims will survive all of this.If only because we still understand the purpose of all religion : To save the stupid humans from themselves.

    Zaynah Mahir
    Sufi Circle
    Florida USA

  • Sunday October 12, 2003 at 8:12 pm
    This kind of double standard hypocrisy was best described by a Muslim woman : " If someone is free to wear the bikini then certainly I am free to wear the hijab" The hypocrisy of Europeans is manifest . The communists deserve to be illegal in Turkey if only for the genocidal crimes committed by the Russians against the Muslim peoples. Decades of haveing no religion have now placed the Russians themselves in peril from the ravages of the sex trade and corruption . Following closely behind them their secular friends everywhere. Muslims will survive all of this.If only because we still understand the purpose of all religion : To save the stupid humans from themselves.

    Zaynah Mahir
    Sufi Circle
    Florida USA

  • Sunday January 18, 2004 at 11:19 am
    I would just like to ask something. Why is it that Christian women when they go to Saudi Arabia MUST BY LAW wear the veil i.e. respect Muslim law but Muslim women refuse to respect the laws of secular Western society? I ask you: who is the hypocrite? And another thing. In Saudi Arabia, Christians and people of other faiths are FORBIDDEN to express their religion openly. A few weeks ago, a Christian girl was caught wearing the sign of the cross and told to remove it. Yet, Muslims are free to express themselves in Western society. Who is the hypocrite????

    R M
    Herts UK

  • Sunday January 18, 2004 at 11:20 am
    I would just like to ask something. Why is it that Christian women when they go to Saudi Arabia MUST BY LAW wear the veil i.e. respect Muslim law but Muslim women refuse to respect the laws of secular Western society? I ask you: who is the hypocrite? And another thing. In Saudi Arabia, Christians and people of other faiths are FORBIDDEN to express their religion openly. A few weeks ago, a Christian girl was caught wearing the sign of the cross and told to remove it. Yet, Muslims are free to express themselves in Western society. Who is the hypocrite????

    R M
    Herts UK

  • Wednesday March 24, 2004 at 9:18 am
    First of all, all you people who keep saying that Turkey should not ban muslim parties or whatever, reasons that lie beneath what you say are obvious. It is for sure that nobody wants Turkey to develop, to advance especially in democracy. Those parties such as AKP(Justice And Development Party) or Refah(The Welfare Party) intend to bring the theocracy and the islamic rules to Turkey, since 1923 all these conservative people try to turn us to Iraq or Algeria. One should not be so wise to acknowledge the terrible and distressing circumstances the muslim countries are in nowadays. There is nothing but primitiveness, poverty, hunger, war... Religion in what is in human's mind, human's heart, human's conscience. It can't be manipulated under the a political ideology, political purpose. People can't be governed by religion. It is inevitable that people both outside or inside Turkey who try to deteriorate Turkey with these unnecessary tormoils under religion will be destroyed again like in the past and Turkey will remain as a laic, democratic, republican, Kemalist, modern country which is devoted to human rights and modern laws! Everybody should admit it.

    Mehmet Kara
    Turkey

  • Wednesday March 24, 2004 at 9:18 am
    First of all, all you people who keep saying that Turkey should not ban muslim parties or whatever, reasons that lie beneath what you say are obvious. It is for sure that nobody wants Turkey to develop, to advance especially in democracy. Those parties such as AKP(Justice And Development Party) or Refah(The Welfare Party) intend to bring the theocracy and the islamic rules to Turkey, since 1923 all these conservative people try to turn us to Iraq or Algeria. One should not be so wise to acknowledge the terrible and distressing circumstances the muslim countries are in nowadays. There is nothing but primitiveness, poverty, hunger, war... Religion in what is in human's mind, human's heart, human's conscience. It can't be manipulated under the a political ideology, political purpose. People can't be governed by religion. It is inevitable that people both outside or inside Turkey who try to deteriorate Turkey with these unnecessary tormoils under religion will be destroyed again like in the past and Turkey will remain as a laic, democratic, republican, Kemalist, modern country which is devoted to human rights and modern laws! Everybody should admit it.

    Mehmet Kara
    Turkey

  • Monday March 29, 2004 at 6:30 am
    What the hell u r talking about guys!

    Donald Rumsfeld
    USA

  • Monday March 29, 2004 at 6:31 am
    What the hell u r talking about guys!

    Donald Rumsfeld
    USA

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