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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 6, 2007 / 20 Sivan, 5767

An Islamic test for Turkey

By Michael Gerson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | ISTANBUL— Here in Turkey, the matter of headgear is taken seriously. An edict in 1925 forbade the wearing of the fez, causing millions of Turkish men to don bowlers, which were seen as more Western and secular. In 1982, the government of Turkey banned the wearing of headscarves by women in university classrooms — a symbolic statement that Turkey would not be taking the route of the Iranian revolution across the border, which mandated the veil. But colorful headscarves are common on the streets here, worn in piety and protest. And the resulting headscarf debate is the Turkish equivalent of the American abortion controversy — heated, culturally defining, admitting no compromise.


Haberdashery as political philosophy is unfamiliar to Americans. But this sartorial piety points to a large historical fact. From the Enlightenment to the sociological theories of the 20th century, it was assumed that religion was in decline and would be increasingly privatized and marginalized. Instead, as Professor Josť Casanova points out in his landmark book "Public Religions in the Modern World," we have seen the global "deprivatization" of religion — a reassertion of religious values in defining the common good, from the Islamic revolution in Iran to the Solidarity movement in Poland to the religious right in America. As these examples show, the attitude of public religion toward democracy and individual freedom varies greatly — and matters greatly.


This "deprivatization" has caused particular strains in Turkey, the most resolutely secular of nations. Religion, according to the Turkish constitution, is supposed to have no political or legal influence of any kind — an ACLU utopia. The Religious Affairs Directorate supervises the training of all imams and determines the themes for Friday sermons. It is difficult to argue with the outcome of this model: Turkey is a prospering democracy where radical Islam has little traction. At the same time, Turks live with restrictions that would drive religious Americans frantic with resentment — imagine nuns in habits being banned from the U.S. Capitol.


A series of political parties have called for the Turkish state to be more tolerant of public religious expression — and been serially disbanded by the secular establishment. The latest incarnation, known as the Justice and Development Party (AKP), holds a majority in parliament, elected the current prime minister and seeks control of the presidency. This last move has provoked a standoff with the military, which has a constitutional role in defending the secular state. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for parliamentary elections July 22 to demonstrate his party's strength. That support increasingly comes not from the rural religious but from Turkey's growing middle class — educated, entrepreneurial, pious and resentful of the secular elite.


Secularists accuse the AKP of seeking a slow-motion Islamist revolution. Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol — a young, pro-American moderate conservative with a tendency to quote philosopher Leo Strauss — regards this as a serious overreaction: "The AK Party has traces of Islamism, but it is moving toward becoming a conservative, Muslim democratic party," more akin to the Christian Democratic parties of Europe. So far, the AKP has been pro-capitalism, pro-European Union and a defender of Islamic family values, instead of being an advocate of Islamic law.


Turkish secularism has sometimes been called a political model — yet even with its undeniable achievements, it is hard to imagine the export of this model to highly religious nations elsewhere in the region. But if the AKP proves itself as a center-right religious party, genuinely committed to pluralism, that will be a reverberating example. A democratic transition in Egypt, for instance, is not likely to be achieved by Jeffersonians and secularists. It will require moderate Islamists who direct conservative religious sentiments into democratic channels. Some believe that a "moderate Islamist" is a mythical creature, because Islam itself is essentially theocratic. But Muslims in Indonesia and Bangladesh, Morocco and Turkey are attempting to show otherwise. And America has a stake in their success.


Both sides in Turkey could undermine these hopes by overreaching. If the secular establishment were to disband the AK Party before the election, it would be a setback to democracy. If the AK Party, after a successful election, were to insist on a divisive presidential choice, it would call its long-term motives into question. Leaders of the AK Party have a serious responsibility beyond the defense of headscarves: to show that "desecularization" in the Muslim world is consistent with pluralism and freedom.


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Previously:


06/04/07: Mass circumcise Africans?
05/30/07: A Big Enough Stick for Sudan

© 2007, WPWG

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