“Hirsi Ali…criticizes the leaders of the AK Party in Turkey for wanting ‘to run state affairs on Islamic principles.'”
From The Armenian Weekly (thanks to Morgaan Sinclair):
WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)””In the Summer 2007 issue (Vol. 24, No. 3) of the New Perspectives Quarterly (www.digitalnpq.org), Somali immigrant, feminist and former Dutch legislator Ayaan Hirsi Ali has an article titled “Don’t Disarm Secularism,” analyzing the current clash between secularism and Islam in Turkey.
Hirsi Ali, who recently published her memoir Infidel, criticizes the leaders of the AK Party in Turkey for wanting “to run state affairs on Islamic principles.” She notes, “The proponents of Islam in government such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdullah Gul and their Justice and Development Party have been remarkably successful. They have understood and exploited the fact that you can use democratic means to erode democracy.”
According to Hirsi Ali, the Islamists will benefit if Turkey joins the European Union, as the military will no longer be able to interfere in the country”s political affairs. “[T]he army and the court in Turkey””besides defending the country and the constitution””are also, and maybe even more importantly, designed to protect Turkish democracy from Islam,” she says.
In her concluding paragraphs, Hirsi Ali presents her concept of “true secularism” in Turkey: “Bringing back true secularism to Turkey does not mean just any secularism. It means secularism that protects individual freedoms and rights, not the ultra-nationalist kind that breeds an environment in which Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a bestseller, the Armenian genocide is denied and minorities are persecuted. Hrant Dink, the Armenian editor, was murdered by such a nationalist.”
Asked about Hirsi Ali’s article, Seyla Benhabib, professor of political science and philosophy at Yale University, told Daniele Castellani Perelli (“Mosque and State,” Dissent Magazine, Fall 2007) that “Miss Hirsi Ali’s language is a language of confrontation that basically presents a homogeneous, orthodox Islam as closed to reform and transformation. And it is a language that presents a unified, uncritical and un-reflectively positive view of liberal democracies””as if they didn’t have their own problems and reasons to be criticized.”
Benhabib says the AK party is “carrying out an incredible experiment and it is unusual for some one who is a democratic socialist like myself to be supporting, and watching very carefully, a party like them. But we are all watching carefully because they also represent a kind of pluralism in civil society, which is absolutely essential for Turkey.”
Actually, it’s not unusual at all for a socialist to support political Islam.