Turkey’s religious body urges Muslim world to ‘update itself’
Meltem ÖZGENÇ ANKARA
Referring to British sociologist Anthony Giddens, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), Mehmet Emin Özafşar, stated that the speed of change was so fast that 'new instruments and new approaches' must be sought.The deputy chairman of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has urged Muslim societies to “update themselves” and “engage in self-criticism,” in a message penned to mark the 90th anniversary of the directorate’s establishment.
“The current process that the Islamic world is passing through is heart-rending. The Islamic world, which is passing through a heavy test, has social, economic and administrative problems because it has not taken the necessary precautions to take responsibility,” Deputy Chairman Mehmet Emin Özafşar said.
“The Islamic world is paying the price for being late in social, economic, administrative and scientific terms,” Özafşar said, adding that it was “mentally in the past but living today, [leading to] the global pressure of the global system.”
He also expressed his opinion that adopting democratic regimes and protecting freedom of expression was one of the most serious dilemmas for Muslim societies, saying “freedom of religion and religious education have not been updated.”
The deputy chairman said other civilizations had also played a role in the Muslim world’s problems, but it was “normal through the course of history for nations and societies to be in competition.”
“It is not true to always find the other side guilty and ignore the Islamic world’s own faults … Today, if we look at all events in our region, we can say that they stem from our own internal dynamics. The main reason behind conflicts in the Islamic world is that Islamic societies have failed to update themselves,” Özafşar said.
Concluding his speech, he referred to British sociologist Anthony Giddens, stating that the speed of change was so fast that “new instruments and new approaches” must be sought.
“In order to express the beauties of Islam with those new instruments and approaches, we need to use both the language of the media and the language of art,” Özafşar said.