Saturday, February 5, 2011


This is a warning for secular friends who still think there is such a thing called 'moderate Islam' and therefore Islamic lifestyle can be tolerated in a modern democratic society.

Saturday night.

We watched “Black Swan” in the Dendy cinema theatre near Opera House. Then we walked up to harbour banks where Opera Bar stands.

This is probably one of the best places on Earth to have a drink in late afternoon or at night. Lean your back casually on inclined stone chairs, facing the Sydney City skyline, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Harbour Bridge, or the Opera House in opposite direction.

Beautiful women and men at almost any age, tourists, hundreds of people enjoying their drinks, gently rocking, dancing, laughing, chatting. Nobody is disturbing anyone, no one feels intimidated, a pleasant, peaceful atmosphere.

My eyes caught a couple, a semi bearded man and a woman wearing a headscarf watching the bubbly crowd below from a terrace with expressionless dim eyes.

What were they thinking? 

Islam bans drinking alcohol and restricts women to express their sexual identity. To them the crowd must be committing a mortal sin punishable by burning in Hell. 

During the last decade or so Turkey, the country I was born has been under the rule of pro-Islamic governments formed by AKP (The Justice and Development Party). Since they came to power in 2002 AKP partizans have been busy gradually transforming country’s secular traditions towards an Islamic lifestyle.

AKP and followers call themselves ‘moderate Islamist’. 

Recently the AKP government declared that they are going to ban alcoholic beverages served in restaurants or in social gatherings such as art exhibitions, wedding ceremonies and so forth. A person until the age of 24 will not be entitled to buy or drink alcohol, and if such a person is present in a social occasion, for instance in a wedding ceremony no one in that gathering will be able to drink regardless of their age. Yes you heard that right, no one.

And they call this ‘moderate Islam’, leaving a tiny window of freedom and tolerance for secular lifestyle (ie. you can still buy or drink alcohol on your own if you are older than 24, at least for now), whereas religious lifestyle is promoted and allowed in its full right.

For the record Islam by definition cannot be moderate (ironically this is the only point I agree with Islamic fundamentalists). Islam is a collection of static unchangeable decrees descendent from God. You are not allowed to alter them or apply them conditionally. 

So in a secular democracy Islam either needs to be kept in people’s personal spheres strictly outside of politics, or else it may gradually evolve towards forming medieval-style theocratic governances like in Iran, Afghanistan.

Anything in between is sheer hypocrisy, a painful, discriminatory and blunt lie. But evidence suggests that AKP has an agenda. Instead of an abrupt Islamic revolution like Iranians did, they would gradually transform the country towards a totalitarian religious regime. 

To a great majority of people living in Australia or In the West where Islamists are a tiny minority 'moderate Islam' myth might seem like a plausible argument. 

The presumption of 'we shall respect them' and in return 'they shall respect us'. 

Well it all depends on numbers.

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