Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

Freedom of religion includes head scarves

Regarding your Oct. 28 article "Turks tangled in politics of scarves": The Turkish government's position on wearing head scarves is one of utter hypocrisy.

The ruling government believes that openly displaying one's adherence to Islam is socially backward and strengthens the political cause of fundamentalists, yet it is supposedly the only secular democracy in the Muslim world and should include the ability to express oneself freely.

Prime Minister Ecevit's fractured administration believes it is acceptable to control what women can wear in schools, public universities, and government offices. Yet it fears that if a Muslim political party such as the very popular AKP comes into power, imposed social limitations will be inevitable.

Turkey must figure out once and for all how to strike a balance between democratic secularism and Islamic culture and values.

For now, the government engages in the same tactics it criticizes in its political opponents. Banning any type of personal expression for religious or political reasons is wrong, but to do so in a supposedly free society demonstrates just how much the Turkish government knows about democracy. Areg G. Bagdasarian Weston, Mass.

In response to "Turks tangled in politics of scarves": I wish the Monitor had asked Turkish interviewees why such a question regarding head scarves should even be considered in a democratic society.

The most successful democracies in the world have made separation of church and state one of the most inviolable laws of the land. Yet democracies are facing religious attempts to impose behavior on the rest of the world through threats, violence, and political intrusion.

Government is an association of people who must compromise with each other to maintain the law of the land. Beyond that order lies chaos, induced by religion because the nature of all religions is absolute and uncompromising. Religion divides while democracy unites. William D. Grazier Duluth, Minn. …

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