So, Mr. Davutoğlu, teach Marxism to pupils!
Why do Turkey’s Islamists never surprise? The simplistic answer should be, “because they are Islamists.” Any deeper analysis would require more in-depth scientific knowledge of an assortment of disciplines.
Why Islamists insist that a 10-year-old student who allows a piece of her hair to be seen by her classmates would be immoral and that her act would amount to a sin remains a mystery, as the ulema refrain from explaining why a boy student or adult should be sexually aroused by the sight of a piece of hair of a minor girl. As this column argued recently, this should fall into the sphere of criminology and/or psychiatry rather than political science or theology. But there are other aspects of bigotry that boringly repeat themselves each time Islamists try, rather ridiculously, to justify their bigotry.
Speaking against a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that said the compulsory religion classes in the Turkish curriculum violated parents’ rights to avoid teachings of Sunni Islam, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: “One does not need to be a Marxist to learn about Marxism.” One can learn Marxism but not become a Marxist. Nice. And true. In other words, or in smart-sounding but unconvincing rhetoric, Mr. Davutoğlu argued that even the non-Sunni (or Sunni supremacist) parents’ children should learn about Sunni Islam–by force. And that won’t be too bad. But is it not just like teaching–by force–Marxism to conservative Muslim parents’ children at school. You need not adhere to it just by learning about it.
Right? Right. Only if Mr. Davutoğlu would agree to introduce compulsory Marxism or atheism classes into the Turkish curriculum. Why not? One need not be a Marxist or an atheist to learn about Marxism or atheism at school. Mr. Davutoğlu’s intellectual honesty should admit that the “one-needs-not-be-a-Marxist-to-learn-about-Marxism” rhetoric may have been a nice backgammon move, but it was a bad chess move. It is always the same passionate mistake made by adherents of political Islam. This columnist would love to hear the prime minister’s objection if some brave Turkish parents appealed to the government for Marxism or atheism classes.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was less sophisticated in his defense about the mandatory courses on (Sunni Islam) religion. Bluntly, he argued that “if compulsory [Sunni Islam] religion classes have been removed, they would naturally be replaced by drug addiction and racism.”
It seems that Iran’s drug addiction problem does not tell Mr. Erdogan anything about the lack of any meaningful correlation between the lack of religious teachings and drug abuse. This columnist does not know of any scientific finding, either, that proves Sunni Islamic teachings at early age could be a panacea to racism.
But Mr. Erdoğan is totally consistent. Back in 2012, he defended his political ambition about “raising devout generations” by saying, “Should we, instead, raise homeless drug addicts?” Sadly, in Mr. Erdogan’s world, a non-devout child was (and probably still is) necessarily a homeless drug addict. With the same thinking, a child who is not forced into classes that teach the supremacy of Sunni Islam will either become a drug addict or a racist.
Mr. Erdoğan (or Mr. Davutoğlu) has every right, as a father, to raise devout children or grandchildren. But he has no right to use the state’s police power to ensure that every Turkish child is raised to become religiously devout.
Cem Toker, chairman of the Liberal Party, put it accurately in 2012: “The prime minister is paid to rule the country, not people’s hearts and minds … It is not a concern for those who run the country to see who is devout and who is an atheist.”
Mistakenly, Turkey’s Islamists think that the 40-percent-plus vote they get in each election automatically grants them a carte blanche to impose Islamism on 100 percent of society. And the 50-percent-plus, naturally, objects.
As Stanley Weiss most realistically wrote in the Huffington Post on June 18, 2013, “The issue at the heart is should Turkey be ruled by the laws of God or the laws of men.”