Secular fundamentalism: As big a threat as the other kind?
Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish Muslim commentator, reflects on secular "fundamentalism." That sort of thing, typefied in North America by the recent spate of "anti-God" books, has been a particular scourge in Turkey:
It is no secret that Islamic fundamentalism is a threat to democracy, freedom and security in today's world, especially in the Middle East. Yet the same values can be threatened by secular fundamentalists, too. Turkey's self-styled laïcité, a much more radical version of the French secular system, is a case in point.
The American model of secularism guarantees individual religious liberty. The Turkish model, however, guarantees the state's right to dominate religion and suppress religious practice in any way it deems necessary.
One result has been a renewed interest on the part of many sincere Muslims in civil liberties:
Noting that Western democracies give their citizens the very religious freedoms Turkey has denied its own, Muslims of the AK party have rerouted their search for freedom. Rather than trying to Islamize the state, they have decided to liberalize it. That's why in today's Turkey the AK party is the main proponent of the effort to join the European Union, democratization, free markets and individual liberties.
It sounds like a very interesting religious and political situation, and no one explains it better than Akyol.
My other blog is the Post-Darwinist, detailing events of interest in the intelligent design controversy.
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), anoverview of the intelligent design controversy, and of Faith@Science. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).