Majoritarian at home, pluralistic abroad
It is one of the many ugly faces of political Islam: You must defend absolute majoritarian, Gulf-like practices in lands where Muslims are the majority and Western democratic culture and pluralistic ideas in lands where Muslims are in the minority. This is not a new hypocrisy but a hypocrisy that becomes more visible with every passing day – thanks, in part, to the Turkish Islamists.
Muslim Turks, like other Muslims, greeted with joy the election of a Muslim man, Sadiq Khan, as mayor of London. One Turkish columnist, not an Islamist but just one of the big bunch of “useful idiots,” wrote: “London’s message is: ‘We in a Western democracy … can elect a Muslim man as the leader of our capital.’
Turkey’s message to the world is: ‘We in a democracy with fundamentally secular traditions brought to power the Justice and Development Party (AKP) with our free will, and we are now preparing to make [the party’s] leader [President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] the [executive] president.”
In the same month Londoners elected a Muslim man as their mayor and Turks celebrated it with joy, a provincial branch of the AKP in Anatolia protested an opposition mayor because he had permitted Western-style (cha-cha and tango) dance classes at a municipally run premise. These (dances) do not belong to our culture, the protesters argued, so they should have no place in our Muslim lands.
It is the same mentality that makes President Erdoğan happy when a Muslim man gets elected as the mayor of London – and makes him speak of the “terrorists” with the words “These are Zoroastrians, these are atheists!” Not knowing how many atheist Londoners may have voted for Mr. Khan.
It is precisely the same sentiment about “conquest.” Conquest, in practical Islamist jargon, does not merely refer to the invasion of “infidel” (non-Muslim) lands by force. It refers to the holy idea of spreading Islam universally – by force, when necessary. And conquest should continue on until the last infidel castle on earth has fallen.
In last year’s “Conquest of Istanbul” celebrations, we saw a funny-looking brigade of 478 men that was the “Conquest Unit” formed by the Turkish Armed Forces on orders from Mr. Erdoğan. There was a 4,709-square-meter poster at an Istanbul square featuring Mr. Erdoğan and the prime minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoğlu – poor Mr. Davutoğlu had to step down before reconquering the former Ottoman lands.
This year’s show saw nearly 1 million conquest enthusiasts, shows by the Ottoman military band, a performance by the Air Force’s aerobatics team, fireworks, the world’s largest 3D mapping stage to revive the conquest 563 years ago and a multilingual live broadcast.
A day earlier, thousands of Muslims held a special prayer service in front of the “Hagia Sophia Mosque,” which functioned as a Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica centuries before the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.
(The basilica was converted into a mosque after the conquest, but in 1935, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, turned it into a museum featuring Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.)
Now the crowds, probably only too happy that the “infidel” Londoners elected a Muslim man as their mayor, demand that the basilica be reconverted into a mosque. Break the chain, the crowds shouted, accompanied by a Saudi imam.
In his speech, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım asked the conquest-fetish crowds: “Is this not the time to rise again with the spirit of conquest?” The crowds cheered.
In his speech to the youth at another event, President Erdoğan said: “Prepare yourselves for the [future] conquests of your target.” The youth cheered again.
Forget Ankara, how many non-Muslim mayors are there in the whole of Turkey? How many non-Muslim MPs, governors and undersecretaries are there? Pluralism is a one-way street for the Islamist mind: It is good when it is in “infidel” lands where Muslims are in the minority. It is a big sin in lands where “we are the majority.”