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BURAK BEKDİL > The mother of all evil (III)

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The first two parts of this mini series were an attempt to examine the validity of the passionately devout Muslim’s claims that “even a drop of alcohol” would prevent students from finding knowledge on campus. Appartently, it would make drinkers grossly unhealthy, thereby subjecting the entire society to additional economic burdens by means of increased spending on healthcare, thus unfairly putting that extra burden on non-drinkers. Additionally, the view that demonizes alcohol maintains that “even a drop of alcohol” can lead to fatal road accidents and maladaptive social behavior. But, how true is that?

First, let’s recall the per capita alcohol consumption figures in a number of “drunk” and “sober” countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), per capita alcohol consumption for the “sober” group of countries in 2005 were (these figures have remained stable since then): 1.37 liters in Turkey, 1.56 liters in Sudan, 0.05 liters in Saudi Arabia, 0.01 liters in Pakistan and Libya, 0.02 liters in Iran, 0.06 liters in Indonesia, and zero in Bangladesh.

For the “drunken” countries, the WHO calculated 11.37 liters in Denmark, 11.67 liters in Britain, 8.95 liters in Greece, 10.22 liters in Spain, 10.56 liters in Switzerland, 6.21 liters in Norway, 12.6 liters in Austria, and 9.55 liters in Holland.

Now that that is straight, let’s move on to the devout Muslim’s claim that “even a drop of alcohol” is intolerable because it would cause fatal road accidents.

1. According to official statistics, only three percent of fatal road accidents in Turkey are related to excessive consumption of alcohol.

2. Fatal road accidents per 100,000 vehicles are 97.1 in Turkey, 6,300 in Bangladesh, 86.3 in Saudi Arabia, 204 in Iran, 2,300 in Pakistan and 139 in Libya vs. seven in Switzerland and Holland (two randomly selected European countries – in fact, you will get similar alcohol consumption and accident figures for most of western Europe). From this we can conclude that:

a. The world champion in fatal road accidents is Bangladesh where alcohol consumption is zero.

b. There are 329 times more fatal road accidents in Pakistan, where per capita alcohol consumption is 0.01 liters, than in Switzerland and Holland, where per capita alcohol consumption is 10.56 liters and 9.55 liters respectively,

c. There are nearly 14 times as many fatal road accidents in Turkey (with 1.37 liters per capita alcohol consumption) than in Switzerland and Holland (where alcohol consumption is approximately 7.5 times more than in Turkey).

d- Ironically, if alcohol was banned in Turkey and the three percent alcohol-related fatal road accidents never happened, fatal accidents per 100,000 vehicles in Turkey would drop to 93, compared to only seven in “drunken” Europe.

3. Homicide. I am not going to compare figures for honor killings because that concept simply does not exist in “drunken” countries like Canada, New Zealand or Finland (unless committed by immigrants). With 1.37 liters per capita alcohol consumption per annum, Turkey boasted 1,806 honor killings in 2001-2006 while, in addition, 5,375 women committed suicide. In 2011 alone there were over 80,000 reported cases of domestic violence. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the homicide rates are: 3.3 percent in sober Turkey; 0.9 percent in Denmark; 0.3 percent in Iceland; 0.8 percent in Spain, and; 0.7 percent in Switzerland, all not-so-sober countries.

4. Assault. According to the UNODC, assaults per 100,000 of the population in 2008 were 7.5 in Norway (6.21 liters of alcohol), 47 in Austria (12.6 liters of alcohol, 161 in Spain (10.22 liters of alcohol) and 217 in Turkey (1.37 liters of alcohol).

5. Terror. Twelve in the top 25 list of countries with the largest number of terror victims are Muslim countries with extremely limited or no alcohol consumption. Most others were in the top 25 list because of victims of Islamist terror (the U.S., for example, because of 9/11). Apparently, the terrorist does not need to drink to kill people and peace.

6. Work safety. In 2011, 1,563 people were killed in workplace accidents in Turkey, making the Crescent and Star the number one in Europe and number three in the world. In 2008, nearly 1,500 people were killed in workplace accidents in “sober” Turkey, compared to 4,800 in the entire “drunken” EU-27.

So, dear pious, try to do two things: 1. Mind your own business and keep on abstaining from alcohol, but leave others alone. 2. Stop pathetically trying to hide behind arguments that a drop of alcohol will damage our health and destroy the peace in our oh–so-peaceful societies.

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to the International Booze Smugglers’ Association and Sinners Anonymous for sponsoring this three-part series, with two cases of fine wine.

October/03/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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abubakir nur

10/27/2012 11:57:52 AM

Judges, critcs, liberals, neo liberals, My 5 cents worth, Alcohol haraam! Period. As for the disection of road accidents simple ignorance. Inconsideration of the RUles of the road. No muslim country must allow this vice. After all aren't we MUslims? Going to account for our foolishness somewhere someday in case you forget. Please spare some thought for innocent victims of alcohol abuse and road carnage.

illawarrior hill

10/20/2012 7:15:07 AM

@ Murun - I doubt that many children seek rewards of wine and sex

illawarrior hill

10/12/2012 7:16:23 AM

Once again, women are blamed for society's ills. Why not call it The Father of Evils!!

Murun Buchstansangur

10/11/2012 7:23:13 AM

@Ameer. There is definitely compulsion in religion. The texts are full of graphic description of the fiery and eternal fate that awaits non-conformants and these scare children.. Conversely, promises of heavenly rewards appeal to child-like minds. This is to say nothing of the very real crime of apostasy and its attendant punishments.

mara mcglothin

10/11/2012 12:55:33 AM

MURAT You government is taking away my right to choose, which is exactly "ordering others what to do". And who are you to judge others? H haven't seen anywhere that Burak Bey states he is an athiest a muslim or anything else. I know many muslims who drink wine, etc, but it is not our place to judge them because no one is without sin, and only God should judge.

Ameer Raschid

10/7/2012 4:10:34 PM

@Murun Islam for the believer is to surrender his free choice willingly to follow not his desires or pleasures but the revelation of the All knowing Creator and the guidance from His Prophet who advised moderation in performance and is better than our limited capacity for discerning truth and the right way of living. Belief cannot be forced and denying previous commitment is afree choice with the consequences of going astray and losing connection with God here and hereafter.He is the final Judge

Safiyah Noor Page

10/6/2012 9:20:14 PM

By definition the non believer does not believe. Mr. Bekdil is in this camp. Allah has given him the choice to be as he is yet to his mind I'm "mindless " if I choose not to be heedless. Why is he discussing rules from Allah, who he flatly denies? His obsession is akin to arguing with a non believer in the Tooth Fairy over tooth placement for the Tooth Fairy. Folks that don't believe would sooner not seriously discuss the Fairy's rules so pardon me for not understanding the three piece series.

Ameer Raschid

10/6/2012 8:09:11 PM

@GFB you have the right to believe,talk or act as you please except when prohibited by law. Restricted nudist colonies or topless beaches are there for sun and show offs. Morality is decided by laws and customs in the society in which you live or visit. Ethicists debate good and evil and sometimes cannot clearly define them. Religions offer a code to their adherents, some question them and follow their own conscience. Quran states: "there is no compulsion in religion.." Right-wrong way clear.

Ameer Raschid

10/6/2012 10:43:46 AM

GFB Islam and the Prophet were attacked by pagan idol worshippers at the time of revelation and response was given in the Qur'an, even the concept of Allah as the Compassionate and the One. However, the use of pictures of the Prophet or his personal depiction by an actor as in films about Jesus is considered unlawful even if respectful. To use filthy, pornographic, cartoons or descriptions of the Prophet who is more respected by Muslims than their own fathers and mothers, so provoke believers

GFB GFB

10/5/2012 2:56:45 PM

@Ameer, Why cant "Islam should not be trifled with"??? What is so different about Islam then any other idea that is voiced or debated?? What makes Islam any different than Judaism, Atheism or any other religion?? What gives you the right to say what is moral and acceptable. If all you Muslims demand that we should respect your right to cover yourselves then I have the right to demand that you respect my right to go nude. Love your thinking Burak!!!! I am signing up for the INFIDEL QUARTER
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