RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN TURKEY AND IN THE UNITED STATES
Islam, October 1997
Having spent many months in various parts of Europe, I arrived in the United States to become a world traveler just like Awliya Chelebi. There are many Turkish friends who live in the United States. Some of them own businesses, others work for companies. They became citizens of the United States and live happily and comfortably in abundance. They are spread to the cities throughout the nation. They have established Mehmed Zahid Kotku Foundation and purchased a building for their activities. We have been having Hadith Studies in their premises. Many brothers have traveled long distances to meet us. I am very pleased with them and the activities there, Alhamdulillah!
What attracts my attention is that the freedom in the state is wider than in Europe. Nobody is belittled, looked down or subjected to injustice for what he or she believes in. That would be a crime before the law. Islam is freely practiced; there are no ban on hijab, beard, turban, or masjids. The universities make students feel home; some students carry the keys for the laboratories. One can stay and work in the premises at night to complete a project, a homework or an experiment. There are trust, ease, and flexibility. University also provides a room for Friday prayers because the masjid is too small to house all who would like to attend the prayer. Despite all of these, the United States is nowhere close to loosing its secularity, modernity, republic or independence.
I am comparing Turkey to the United States and feel sorry. Our so-called revolutionists, secularists, and modernists sometimes amaze me; I feel sorry for them, yet I also get very angry with them. They have no understanding of the real secularism, civilization, democracy, freedom, humanness, or Islam. Haven't they seen Europe or America? Haven't they observed the private lives of the western nations?
Having seen and observed the West within, I can state that the "West" is nothing like the way our pro-Westerners describe. A section of the people is sincerely religious, for they observe their religious duties and they are strongly attached to their clergy and church. Another section of the people is secularists, liberals or atheists; however, they all respect the religious people. It would be against the law to be intrusive, oppressive, or preventive in these matters. If anybody were to suggest banning the religious schools or teaching of the scriptures, canceling the job contracts of those who come from religious families, not accepting some religious students to certain schools, or a similar action, the whole society including the religious as well as the atheist would oppose strongly, make demonstrations and defend the rights of all individuals.
In the West, the secularism is understood with its true meaning; the freedom of religion is interpreted and applied as the freedom of belief and worship. In Turkey, we also have the constitution, the human rights have been recognized officially, and we have had democracy for many decades. However, the practice is in total contradiction with those concepts. If they were given the opportunity, a group of the people would not hesitate to slaughter the majority of the nation for their beliefs. They would limit all Islamic activities in all areas and bring all kinds of bans and oppressions in public and private lives. The news on television, on the radio and on the newspapers indicate this horrific fact.
Let us save our country from the molestation, destruction, fanaticism, and perverseness of those who are ignorant of themselves, their limits, their religion, their age, the West, the East, the civilization and the democracy. Let us not be deceived by their emotional lies and sparkling tricks. Let us not give them the opportunity to abolish the democracy, limit the freedoms, and violate the Constitution and the laws. We have to do this because our people, too, deserve to live in peace and comfort with freedom and all human rights. Nobody has the right or authority to oppress or insult them!