Why not the Turkey way?

Published: March 14, 2012
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The writer is executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies

The writer is executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey in 1923, with the aim of reigning in religious forces and making religion irrelevant to the sociopolitical climate of the country. He considered Islam to be a source of sectarian divide and social polarisation.

The system that Ataturk devised completely separated state and religion. Religious matters went to the Presidency of Religious Affairs — the Diyanet, which was set up in 1924, under Article 136 of the Constitution after the abolition of the caliphate. Founded under an act passed by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, it represents the highest Islamic religious authority in the country, which works under the prime minister’s office.

The Diyanet became the guardian of all matters pertaining to Islam, as well as carrying out the role of a watchdog that looked over religious establishments.  It comprises 1,000 people, including scholars from various segments and schools of thoughts. Almost 970 muftis in 81 cities are associated with the Diyanet. It also oversees 85,000 mosques, where 120,000 government-hired imams lead prayers and impart religious education.

Education is central to all the functions that belong to, or come under the purview of the Diyanet; all top officials of the Diyanet are required to undergo a three-year training (besides their masters or doctoral degrees). Imams, too, must be at least graduates to be able to lead Friday prayers. To move beyond this role, they must take specialised courses in Hadith, Fiqh, Uloome Islami and the Quran to become a khateeb or a mufti. All courses are devised from Islamic sources under the guidance and control of the state.

All imams and khateebs must use sermons cleared only by the Diyanet. This injunction is clearly meant to prevent propagation of hate speech and sectarian discrimination. Under the existing laws, religious establishments i.e., sociopolitical groups or parties, are barred from direct participation in political activities to prevent them from practising faith-based politics.

So far this has worked. The secular nature of the state is very much in place. Although the ruling party and its allies are increasingly using religion as a motivating force, yet the state remains non-intrusive as far as religion is concerned, with no interference in peoples’ lives.

The question now arises about the state of affairs prevalent in Pakistan. Are we expecting a miracle to extricate the country from the religiopolitical crisis and the sectarian strife it is facing, or will the political leadership rise above personal expedience to close ranks and emulate some of the good work that has protected Turkey from these ills so far? For that matter, there is plenty to learn from even Indonesia and Malaysia, where the state managed to keep religion separate from politics.

Nowhere in these countries, can an individual or group, illegally occupy a public or private piece of land to turn it into a mosque, madrassa or church.

In Turkey, while the Justice and Development Party rule may have created some space for individual and unauthorised initiation of religious institutions, yet no mosque or seminary can be built without the Diyanet’s approval. Nor is the clergy permitted to serve as the ultimate, self-righteous arbiter of religious matters. The Diyanet, in fact, sends in inspectors if there is a complaint of misuse of a mosque or a madrassa, or of sectarian incitement.

The Diyanet adjudicates matters in light of the sources of Islamic law and regularly organises refresher courses to update the knowledge and understanding of imams and khateebs, who must be graduates in Islamic Studies and must also be equipped with knowledge of comparative religions.

Recently, a Norwegian delegation comprising some very important religious scholars, including Qari Hanif Jallandhry, as well as members of civil society, visited Turkey to study the its model of secularism, and how the Diyanet works. Most returned pretty impressed. They also met with Mustafa Akyol, the enterprising author of the book Islam Without Extremes, who believes Turkey has escaped sectarian and political upheaval largely because of its secular political model in which political parties are not allowed to mesh their ideologies with religion. Nor are religious parties allowed to participate in political matters.

This is a model worth emulating in Pakistan as well, where the clergy, as well as the religiopolitical parties have been using religion at will.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (49)

  • talha khan
    Mar 14, 2012 - 11:10PM

    Ataturk must be rolling in his grave,the way his country has been taken over by religious fanatics.The Turkey which ataturk built was great,free from religion’s interference in the matters of the state.Now the current leader is doing all he can to indoctrinate religion into everyday state matters in turkey.Turkey’s diversity and freedoms are under attack by a regime that surreptitiously is allowing religion to creep into public life.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 14, 2012 - 11:37PM

    Sir,

    we have a lot to learn from them on the economic side as well. Turkey was indeed the “Sick Man of Europe”. They finally broke the back of inflation (which averaged 80% per annum for long periods even after the scourge of inflation had been defeated around the world) reformed their economy with tough decisions and set it on an upward trajectory.

    It has been a remarkable transformation — whether we want to give credit to successive IMF programs or not.

    While economic growth remains volatile and inflation rears its ugly head now and then, they are quick to make adjustments to bring the economy back on track. Recommend

  • Bangladeshi
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:08AM

    A dirt bag ideology like secularism ruined Turkey before the AKP saved turkey from economic
    ruins and started bringing back turkey to its roots. It amazes me that the writer is praising
    Ataturk, a dictator. DO seculars jump ships when its come to occupying power because
    seculars seems to champion democracy & freedom of speech in any debate.
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  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:25AM

    @Gul sahab
    Pakistan rulling parties and Army Govt allways been seculars bast we never seen any mullah
    president or prime minister of pakistan in our lives what we have a problem its a economic
    unjustice and lack of law & order and Turkey doesnot have two mules like we do URDU and English what is pakistan problem every one is AFLATHOON.

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  • Talha
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:26AM

    Secularism is the only way.

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  • S.J.Bukhari
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:31AM

    Well, I do not agree to what is said in the article. Take example of Iran, it is on the religion and Islamic Shariah. The point here is we have changed the image of religion in our society. That is our fault. How can you the state affairs and religion are all altogether two different things whereas the Quran says ‘and we have sent down unto thee a book explaining all things’. I know in our society, the religion is like a long beard-Shalwaar shrinking every now and an AK-47 on the shoulder…and yes, torturing the women in Public. Ataturk’s reforms were totally against the principles of Islam. Islam is a religion of rule-peace-unity-harmony and logic. We do not need communism or socialism or capitalism etc, because we have Islam as guidance. I understand Islam has been de-graded by the evil actions of extremist Mullahs who used the Quran and Sunnah their way.

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  • kashif manzoor
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:34AM

    typical secular mantra.

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  • Umer
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:38AM

    The only ppl praising Turkey are those who want endless nudity/libearlism of Turkey. Just take the economic policies of Edrogan and bring it in Pakistan. No need for liberalism.

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  • Yoda
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:46AM

    Well, firstly, the people of Turkey were largely receptive to Ataturk’s revolution, which was a popular revolution due to centuries of Ottoman imperialism and suppression. There is no parallel to that in Pakistan.Our governmental system is largely secular and religious parties have been unpopular, whereas in Turkey under Ottoman rule, governmental religious oppression united people against the Ottoman’s strict and narrow-minded ideology, especially prevalent since the 19th century. In Pakistan, religiously oriented parties can play upon the victim mentality, from Musharraf to the PPP, our recent ruling powers have been liberal and secular, and unfortunately–are seen as unsuccessful. It’s easy for religious parties to convince the people that our economic, political and security failures are due to a deviation from “Islamic” norms–obviously untrue but popular and sensationalist, as Imran Khan has found out. Add the War in Terror to that and you have a vastly more complicated situation than Turkey before Ataturk. Besides, the diversity of religious beliefs amongst Pakistani muslims simply wasn’t there in Turkey–any attempt to form a Diyanet would be seen, perhaps rightly, as an infringement of religious freedom. I personally feel that Ataturk went too far in the other direction, emulating that in Pakistan’s vastly different sociopolitical environment would lead to tragic results.

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  • Ammad
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:47AM

    I don’t agree with you. Religion is a sacred thing and it is very dear to humans. Religion means a complete way of life, that is it covers all the aspects of human life. Religion is the thing which guides a person about what to do, you just cannot say that humans can run a society better than the way Allah has guided. Religion tells you how to behave in a particular situation. Unfortunately our liberals think like it is with Christianity, they should keep in mind that Islam is a complete religion in which Allah is considered superior to all. It is a complete religion and in which there is guidance for everything. So we just cannot imagine of putting religion out of politics. Do politics as Islam has told to do. Christianity is not a complete religion that is why failure to answer many questions led it to be put out of politics and state affairs. That is not the case with Islam. Those who consider it to be a source of violence must keep in mind that you better study it completely, then you would come to conclusion that it preaches tolerance, much more than other religions.

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  • Cynical
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:51AM

    Different strokes, for different folks.A model that works in Turkey or in Timbuctoo may not work Nigeria or Pakistan.Cultural root,tradition,history plays a big role.
    To put it simply, Turkey gave the world it’s Jalaluddin Rumi and Kamal Ataturk, Pakistan it’s Alama Iqbal and Md Ali Jinnah.

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  • Senman
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:55AM

    Now how can you suggest to change the very basis of ideology that led to the creation of Pakistan.

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  • Domlurian
    Mar 15, 2012 - 2:03AM

    The difference between Atartuk’s Turkey and Pakistan is that Pakistan considers itself to be the “citadel of islam”, “the land of the pure” etc. Hence when Pakistan made the Bomb, they called it the Islamic Bomb and not the Pakistani Bomb. Pakistan thinks that it is destined to be the leader of the Ummah (policies initiated by ZAB and Zia).

    In pursuit of this dream Pakistan has created and nurtured all kinds of organizations whose sole aim is to conquer the world. Pakistanis think that they are the best Muslims in the world and anyone who doesn’t agree with them ought to be brought in line.
    I don’t see this attitude changing over the next 100 years. It will take at least 5-6 generations before Pakistanis realize that they are ordinary humans like every one else and not Allah’s soldiers.

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  • Babur Chughtai
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:26AM

    The author has destroyed a good article and a good argument by starting his column with a wrong fact: that Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s driving motivation was to reign in Islam. This is a figment of the author’s imagination. Ataturk’s main drive was nationalism and honor and greatness for the Turk nation after the defeat in WWI. That was his main aim and goal. Defeating religion was not his goal. This is the author’s own reading. It is sad that most elite Pakistanis like this author are so religion-obsessed. They should be Pakistan-obsessed and should be true nationalists because Ataturk was Turkey-obsessed and a true patriot. That’s the lesson from Ataturk. Being anti-religion was not his lesson.

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  • Questioner
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:19AM

    Separating religion and state could be debated, but Turkey is not the model you want to follow for that. This is the country where laws were formed to make it difficult for followers of one religion to act on their religion and still live the normal life. It has created a social divide where being a religious person (only for Muslims) is despised. Govt. were repeatedly disposed and prime minister was executed. And all this is being taken as acceptable behavior by the Turkish educated class?
    If this is not indoctrination then what is?
    Secondly if Religion is Separated from State, how can state make an ministry to mange religious-institutions of one religion? Only thing it can do to make a ministry to manage institutions for all religions, then it will have to define what is acceptable religion and what is not. Who wants to enter this debate what makes a legitimate religion?

    That’s why the Turkey model is dangerous, it’s a patchwork.

    Most importantly, the decisions and attitudes were being forced to be changed by the dictatorship based govt. rather than popular vote. That’s not how things work, first you create acceptable attitude and then make laws. Educate people, debate and develop enough consensus to separate religion from State, then make laws.
    If you want to follow, follow more US model.

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  • khalifaofkipling
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:24AM

    this religious party has taken Turkey to the next level. For all those who choose to say religion ruins everything have a shining example in Turkey to learn from. What has happened in Pakistan vis a vis the mullas is unfortunate, but its an underlying political problem. Lets not do the ignorant thing in blaming religioin or secularism in such a broad way.

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  • ZYX
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:32AM

    Mr Gul is advocating an extremely fascist form of liberalism. He suggests that religion should be separated from the state but that it should be tightly controlled by it. In Turkey the army has forcibly prevented popular will towards Islamic policies from being implemented…not quite democratic is that? Turkish secularists have been caught in the advanced stages of a 9/11 type operation to be blamed on Muslims so that they could retake power and persecute the non-seculars. Mr Gul is the very definition of liberal fascist. Thank God he’s totally irrelevant to anything that matters

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  • sumair
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:52AM

    @umer who is stopping your from practising islam in turkey..you have fullrights more then in pakistan then why the same rhetoric rants? you seem to be from tabligi jamat with a certain mindset..your are sick

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  • Mujtaba
    Mar 15, 2012 - 7:37AM

    Sabah Hasan ‎”Why not the Turkey way?”

    Because it is more extremist as the one it replaced. So, why not Jinnah’s way?

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  • BlackJack
    Mar 15, 2012 - 7:39AM

    @Babur Chughtai:
    I agree with you – Ataturk’s primary aim was reviving the Turk nation that was at its lowest ebb after WWI; for this purpose he chose to remove religion as a significant variable in the political landscape. Turkey has been seeing a better investment climate in the last 10 years not because of the AKP party and its stealth Islamization, but because for the first time, democracy has prevailed and the overzealous guardians of secularism (the Turkish army) have been reined in – these benefits are accruing to Erdogan’s party. However, the level of diversity in Turkey is far less than Pakistan, and a Diyanet may not be practicable. Further, Turks do not need Islam in the foreground to remain Turks, while Pakistanis without Islam are just Indians who lost their way.

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  • Fardad
    Mar 15, 2012 - 8:15AM

    Fully agree with Imtiaz Gul. A paradigm change only can steer us out of the quagmire we are in.

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  • Mumbai Dude
    Mar 15, 2012 - 9:06AM

    I completely agree with the author. Religion should be separate from state so that every citizen feels part of the nation. Why should a Hindu, Christian or Ahmadi pakistani have to live under the Islamic rules? For Hindu, Hindu laws are cool or Christian their laws. Secularism is definitely the way forward.

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  • GhostRider
    Mar 15, 2012 - 9:16AM

    Quaid e Azam said….You are free to go to ur mosques, churches, temples etc….RELIGION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE STATE

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  • Baqar
    Mar 15, 2012 - 9:57AM

    @Ammad completelt agree religion is a complete way of life, but its not a complete way of running a government. Caliphate is an impractical model and if you see the Islamic history, every caliphate (keeping out first four pious caliphs) was run like a kingdom and was ended by a rebellion. In current time Religion should not be the basis of running the government rather Justice should be. And for your information the basis of government run by Prophet (PBUH) was based on justice and human rights if this is not Islam than what is?. We are all muslims and we have been taught Islam since our birth, running a government ratonally wont make us infidels.

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  • Zardari
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:20AM

    @sumair..
    perhaps you have no idea of the secular turkey where women were banned from entering the parliament and disqualified, banned from entering into universities just because they wore headscarves… is this you called free to practice religion? we are not tlaking about Israel..it is turkey, the mulsim majority nation….go and study some history before commenting…

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  • Noor M
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:59AM

    Not the Turkey way, because

    Quran tells us that those who donot implement Allah’s verdicts are Kafirs. (Surah Al-Maidah:44)

    We can’t separate religion & state,

    this separation caused the destruction of moral values in the west, why are we bent upon doing so, OR

    the western sponsored media wants it this way, whereas,

    the un-heard local citizens donot want it to happen.

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  • Mar 15, 2012 - 12:51PM

    @Cynical:
    “To put it simply, Turkey gave the world it’s Jalaluddin Rumi “
    Rumi was born in Tajikistan (exact name of the place of birth uncertain) which was then a part of the Persian empire.
    Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, as a child, accompanied his father on a hajj trip. From there on, they traveled to Turkey. Prospect of having a peaceful life, back home, for a Mongol family were not very bright, they decided to settle down in Konya, Turkey.

    Mesnevi (Masnavi), his magnum opus, is in Persian, like rest of his work. He is buried in Konya, Turkey.

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  • Mullah
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Mullahs are best..Secularism stinks.

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  • Mullah
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:44PM

    @GhostRider:
    Quaid-e-Azam said lot of other things too.Why concentrate on this???

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  • baba
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:14PM

    Pakistan has to be secular like turkey cause religion cant run a state. politics and religion have nothing in common or have any relation. if you want to be civilized and developed follow turkey model if not then stay 1000 years back in stoneage with these extreme corrupt politicians and mullahs.

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  • Jadoon
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:26PM

    @ Abid P.Khan Jalaluddin Rumi was born in Wakhsh.

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  • Dr Omar
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:31PM

    Ataturk was lucky enough to live in the republic he created for about more than a decade. Thus he had ample opportunity to shape the nationalism and give Turkey direction.

    Jinnah on the other hand, died when his republic was still in its infancy (within a year if its creation), if he had lived and had a clean bill of health, he probably would have given us a foundation for a well defined, secular and saner environment!

    @ Meekal: Turkey was known as the “Sick Man of Europe” during the last years of Ottoman Caliphate (no secular/nationalistic government at that time)

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  • Shyam
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:44PM

    Secularism is needed so that the citadel of Islam does not become the cesspool of Islam

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  • Mar 15, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Kamal A.Pasha,was a nationalist,and he was in and out for the honor and glory of Turkey.Please study him carefully.He was against Arabic culture,Arabic Language,He even had Call to prayer changed where Allah was replaced with Turkish equavalent to Allah.He wanted Turks to be like European in out look,and wanted them to look westward.Even today more Turks wear 3 piece suits.Weather those kind of reforms will work in Pakistan is very doubtful.Some one rightly remarked take Islam out of Pakistani,then he is Indian,and that is what got them their own country.The bitterness,and I might add the hate in Pakistan for India,in fact every thing Hindu is so deep,Turkey like or even Malaysia/Indonesia type reform would not work,pl,note these 3 nations have healthy relationship with India.Another important factor is Turkey lot less ethnically and sect divided.Pakistan even the Sunnise are not unified as one.They have all the short comings of Hindu society like caste system with different connotation.What can be effective reform in Sub-continent,no one has definate ,idea or clue,even in India,the secularism followed has many flaws,neither Hindu or Muslim are not happy,reservation,affirmative action reforms have not done the trick..What will work is one similar to USa,but that to work ,we need ,,highly evolved,educated,very prosperous,wealthy,less fractures,and a society with social,ehtical,law abiding and open,less corrupt,and transparent,accountable 2 party system is needed with a strong Presidential type of Govt with a strong print media.Do we have that in place?Answer is resounding NO!.Case closed.Have a nice day.

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  • Cautious
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:54PM

    Turkey’s image is based on it’s improving economy and increasing stability – the complete opposite of Pakistan. Much of that has to do with the separation of religion and State but that’s an oversimplification. Their economy is dominated by the West – their military is dominated by the West – and their major cities are in close proximity to Europe and their educated class are generally not considered conservative Muslims. They have a long history of supporting the West and most Pakistani’s don’t known that Turkey via NATO has troops in Afghanistan. Can Pakistan become the next Turkey – doubt it.

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  • Mar 15, 2012 - 6:20PM

    @Dr Omar:
    You are partly right,but I happen to study both KAP and THE QUAID.If I recall,I’m getting up in age,so forgive me.I remember his daughter some where remarking her fathers immense admiration for the founder of modern Turkey.She said her father was reading the very famous biOgraphy”The Gray Wolf”by Armstrong,and he is said to have told her,this can not work in Pakistan,as around 1937 as he was touring Turkey and Europe with his daughter.Mr Jinnah in his personnel habit and working very much like KAP,but he knew he could not be ruthless dictator and killers of his opponent beside as you said he died very early and he did not have 10 years of rule as KAP and as I said in my prior blogg,Pakistan and Turkey are 2 all togather entity as people and nation,even your last dictatot Musheraff was great admirer of KAP,but it does not pay the rent at the end of the day.Lot of Ex Indians who have been exposed to USA and West know to impliment West in Sub-continent is at least 150 years in future,if at all,so we are pretty much serving life sentence for our present life.I’m resigned to that,and have made peace with myself,in the meantime,we have to be less dishonest and at least stop rewriting history and distorting past,present and future,if we could do that,we are on our way to undo the damage,can we do this,yes/and no.Have a good day.Recommend

  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Mar 15, 2012 - 6:39PM

    Excellent article sir ! Kudos !

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  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Mar 15, 2012 - 6:44PM

    @Noor M:
    Sir , I salute you . May your tribe increase.Pakistan is in best hands.

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  • ZYX
    Mar 15, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @Baqar:

    The Quran says very clearly that those who do not judge according to the book are not Muslims. It says that those who try to make haram into halal and halal into haram are not Muslim. It says that sovereignty belongs only to Allah, not to mankind. It prescribes the punishments, how to deal in market places, how to divide an inheritance, it provides rights for women and minorities…in short…it provides many of the rules that would form a society and its government. Therefore, if you choose to disregard what it written in the Quran and instead suggest that you will pick and choose as you please, then according to the book, you are not a Muslim. It is also very clear that the Quran must be the basis of the state and no executive branch, judiciary, referendum, parliament or any other body of human beings has the right to go against what is written in it. Clearly secularism has no place in Islam and if you read the Quran it tells you what category you fall into if Secularism is what you insist on….don’t go all ballistic and call me intolerant…just read the book and then decideRecommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 15, 2012 - 9:14PM

    @Cautious:
    The economy is dominated by the west?

    That’s a weird statement!

    If you mean they are aid dependent, please do some reading. They have a vibrant export sector with private capital inflows doing most of the financing.

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  • Durka Durka
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:17PM

    @Cynical

    Jalal Al Din Rumi was from Balkh, Afghanistan not from Turkey. Furthermore, you cannot compare a glorious empire like the Ottoman Empire to Pakistan.

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  • Mar 15, 2012 - 10:19PM

    @Meekal Ahmed:

    “The economy is dominated by the west?
    That’s a weird statement!”

    It may help understand realty better by reading, a slightly less sanguine description of their economy and gain a soberer perspective. Who is bailing out the country and why?

    Turkish economy out of the quagmire

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  • Dionysus
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:25PM

    @Meekal Ahmed

    Turkey has significantly benefited from the west.

    1) Turkey is a founding member of OECD. This helped in attracting huge investments from other member countries.

    2) Turkey is a candidate member of EU. There are no customs restrictions on Turkish exports to EU countries.

    3) The most developed region of Turkey is its western part bordering Europe.

    4) Turkey is littered with European tourists.

    5) A large number of Turks went to Germany as workers after World War and became permanent residents thus becoming a major source of remittance.

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  • ALi Tanoli
    Mar 16, 2012 - 1:38AM

    Mr Gul
    Turkey was a failed Democracy Dictatorship country not too long ago its a Tyb reciep Ardogan
    who made turkey out of that trouble and put on right direction with out listening out side instruction. pakistan need to stop listening others.

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  • saad
    Mar 16, 2012 - 3:21AM

    excellent article!! A follow up question: What stands in between Pakistan adopting this Turkish method and can we overcome these obstacles?

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  • Cynical
    Mar 16, 2012 - 4:18AM

    @Abid P. Khan

    Thanks for the information about Rumi’s birth place and background.

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  • Tahir
    Mar 16, 2012 - 5:48AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Yes you are right to certain extant that we have never seen any mullah as head of state or executive. But we should admitt that mullahs always had their role behind the scenes. And our politicians and establishment always bow down to them for sake of their own greed to rule at any cost. For example in Bhutto’ s case establishment used mullahs to destabilize his govt and some selfish politician join hands with establishment in this dirty business and then we saw the end result. In current regime there are examples which clearly shows how powerful mullahs are in our country. Failure of federal and provincial govts to stop ‘Defa e Pakistan council’ from hate preaching is one recent example.

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  • A Peshawary
    Mar 25, 2012 - 3:04PM

    Do’nt we have our own systems of doing the things? What is ministry of Religious Affairs and Awqaf is doing? Perhaps, getting salaries and underhand financial benifits.

    We must study other models as there is no subtitute to seeking the knowledge. But we of course, are capble of performing on our own modules, in our way instead of copying somebody else. The real problem is implemenation of existing systems, procedures and modules.

    Our esteblished and accredited writers, experts and scholars may have to reponder on their approach as well. We need not to be the followers, rather be master of our own desitiny. In order to achieve this goal one has to be innovater and initiater rather than talker and follower. These scholars are beating the drums for quite some times and no one is listening to or dancing on to thier beats. Have they ever thought! why majority of the people are not listening to them? They may be answer the question with colourful writtings and ideas (which could be very impresive but not appealing) even than they will not be able to quench the thirsty throat.

    A Peshawary Recommend

  • M. Airomloo
    Mar 26, 2012 - 3:02PM

    I am an Iranian; brought up during the secular administration of the last king of Iran, have lived more than half of my life in the USA and in Europe. Now that the idea of secularism has become attractive in many Muslim countries it is important to be objectively aware of not following any dictated idea blindly. Secularism as a concept explains a process whereby religious beliefs, practices and institutions lose their significance in people’s social lives. The focus of secularism is on the law, state and standard behavior. However human being believes in religion because it is about values. It can be observed easily even in secularized societies in the West, where millions of people believe in religion regardless of practicing it strictly or not. for example; according to Anthony Giddens, every three Europeans believe in God and in the USA the church is still of great importance and respect still being a standard way of living/thinking in the West. Furthermore, we should keep in mind that the economical, political and social structures of the societies in the West are very different from the similar structures in the Muslin countries. I believe that the Muslim countries must be empowered through a process which is based on their own identity and values so they can have their fair share of power and learn how to rule themselves independently and realistically, not finding the solutions in extreme manners or reactions.

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