Recently I had an interesting exchange with the self-described “liberal Muslim” Mustafa Akyol, after he declared his support for the jihad flotilla that Turkey sent against Israel. And so I read this piece by the Turkish columnist Burak Bekdil with great interest: he characterizes the “liberal” Akyol as a pro-Sharia, pro-Erdogan Islamic supremacist. But undoubtedly a sly one.
Bekdil even says that Akyol is working to further “Islamists’ global ambition to play the modern day, Muslim Trojan Horse at the gates of western civilization.”
What? An Islamic supremacist posing as a moderate to fool gullible Westerners? It’s unheard of!
“Where Islamists and post-modern Islamists come together,” by Burak Bekdil in the HÃ¼rriyet Daily News & Economic Review, July 20:
I regret for having to devote this space to a reply to my column neighbor Mustafa Akyol’s “reply to my reply to his reply to an op-ed I wrote” last week (“Would Mr. ErdoÄŸan kindly care for this Muslim woman?,” July 8, 2010).
When I wrote that piece, I was hoping that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan could perhaps explain the distasteful discrepancy between his selective caring for Muslims and Turks who suffer all around the world and his muteness on the tragedy of an Iranian woman of Turkish descent who was awaiting execution by stoning under a Sharia ruling.
Instead, Mr. Akyol appeared on the scene in defense of the Islamic cause with the generously common rhetoric Islamists and post-modern Islamists share to, borrowing Mr. Akyol’s description, ‘whitewash Islam’ i.e., the Islamist’s reflexive habit of going for a literalist interpretation of the Koran when in question are commandments like abstinence from pork and alcohol and his apologetic inclination toward a figurative interpretation when he thinks ‘the cause’ needs to look pretty to western friends.
Islamist Muslims (Muslims with a political agenda for the advancement of Islam both regionally and globally) have that bad habit: The perpetual feeling of fear that the western powers they need as tactical (not strategic) allies may view them with suspicion because a Muslim with a literalist interpretation of most verses of Islam’s holy book may do the same with other verses – verses that, for instance, command amputations, lashes, two women equal one man jurisprudence, sexually discriminative inheritance laws and, most importantly, hostility against other monotheistic religions, especially Judaism.
In his weekend piece, Mr. Akyol accused me for having an ad hominem attack on him probably because I asked him a few theological questions on subjects the Islamists prefer to bury deep under ground – and wrote that I did not believe Mr. Akyol was a jihadist. I was wrong to expect a more powerful text from him since his comrades have been ‘spinning better’ – an essential effort in Islamists’ global ambition to play the modern day, Muslim Trojan Horse at the gates of western civilization.
To maintain the fine ethos of our intellectual debate I would rather expect Mr. Akyol to answer my questions without dancing around them or distracting from the essential ideas and behaving too prickly and fabricating friendships between myself and people like Geert Wilders with whom I have never met or exchanged a word, electronically or verbally. But I don’t take that as an ad hominem attack. I am merely sorry for the shallow run-away demagoguery in which Mr. Akyol claimed I labeled his logic as “anti-Semitic,” something I never thought or claimed.
But Mr. Akyol did not disappoint me with his (OK, non-anti-Semitic) logic when he commented on some of the verses I mentioned (5:13, 5:14, 5:51 and 5:82). This is 5:51: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.” Mr. Akyol hoped to ‘whitewash’ 5:51 with 60:9: “God merely forbids you from taking as friends those who have fought you in religion, and driven you from your homes and who supported your expulsion.”
I am not going to ask Mr. Akyol why does 5:51 exist in such plain language if its real intention was what is commanded in 60:9. But since he recommends me to “get a fair sense of Islam,” I am going to ask him a couple of other questions, hoping that he might perhaps help:
This 60:9 reminds me of some episodes in recent political history! Why did the majority of the ‘devout’ Justice and Development Party, or AKP, parliamentary deputies vote in 2003 for the opening of a northern front (and later for the opening of Turkey’s airspace for U.S. bomber aircraft) in George W. Bush’s war on Iraq and ally with their ‘Christian’ American friends “who fought Muslim Iraqis, killed them, driven them from their homes and supported their expulsion?”
Why are Muslim Turkish soldiers part of a Christian alliance fighting, killing and driving Muslim Afghans from their homes? Is that halal? Does 60:9 command that Muslims can ally with Christians against other Muslims if these other Muslims chose to terrorize? Is 60:9 one of the verses that is not applicable to 21st century politics?
I am so sorry, Mr. Akyol, that Mustafa Kemal AtatÃ¼rk destroyed your dreams of having an Ottoman Caliph in the year 2010 – which, as I understand, you blame on ‘anti-Islamists.’ You are right to think that the Caliphate was the political authority in the Muslim world. But I am not going to ask you how would the concept of Caliphate fit into Koranic teachings which strictly forbid associating God with anyone/anything. Nor am I going to remind you of the beauty of a faith with no clergy, or ask you how, in Islam, could a mortal – even a Caliph – speak on God’s behalf….
But do not give up, Mr. Akyol. Mr. Erdogan does not drink alcohol or sport any Hedonistic weakness. He can be your ideal revivalist Caliph in the 21st century. Alternatively, you can always have a post-modern Caliph reign the Muslim world from a predominantly Christian country where he resides.