Below are excerpts from two articles in Roznama Islam, an Urdu-language Islamist daily in Pakistan, which examined the recent protests by secular forces in Turkey and their likely impact on the rest of the Islamic world.
In an article, "Last Hiccups Of Secularism In Turkey," columnist Dr. Sajid Khakwani argued that the era of secularism is now over in Turkey, and its impact will be felt in other Islamic countries, stating that like communism, secularism too will be buried forever.
In the second article, "Anti-Government Protest Continues In Turkey," Islamic cleric Maulana Mohammad Azhar argued that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist policies are popular in the country and that his party will win again. He also notes that viewng the Turkish protests as similar to the Arab Spring protests is incorrect, as they will not end the Erdogan government's reign.
"Like The Lamp That Glitters In Full Bloom Before Being Extinguished, The Remaining And Defeated Secularists Are Peeping Out Through Their Coffin … And Are Sabotaging Their Own Established Democratic Norms"
The following are excerpts from Dr. Sajid Khakwani's article:
"Ever since the artificial and conspiratorial ending of the Ottoman Caliphate, [Turkey's] secular leadership kept its tyrannical claws pierced the necks of Turkish Muslims, and for about three-quarters of a century military generals used gunpower to protect the secular rulers in the garb of democracy. After a long time, as the stinking ideology of secularism became unbearable to the Turkish people and their patience boiled over, and [in view of] the huge countrywide support that the Justice [and Development] party of the orthodox Tayyip Erdogan received in the last three elections, it would not be wrong to call it the last nail in the coffin of secularism.
"Like the lamp that glitters in full bloom before being extinguished, the remaining and defeated secularists are peeping out through their coffin with the blessings from internal and external elements, and are sabotaging their own established democratic norms against the Islamist leaders. These secular people have many complaints, and the biggest among them is that the present orthodox rulers have tarnished Turkey's secular image. They should first answer: why has secularism sullied the Islamic identity of Turkey, and who has given this right to the traitors of the Ummah to deprive the entire Muslim Ummah of the soothing shadow of the Islamic caliphate, and chain them with the tyrannical and brutal shackles and handcuffs of European secularism and hereditary monarchy?
"Allah gave power to the Justice party in Turkey for their services to the people. Najmuddin [Necmettin] Erbakan, and after him Tayyip Erdogan, won the hearts of the people during their rule. Urban areas of Turkey which were filled with filth during the rule of secular leaders are now clean like mirrors, because cleanliness and neatness is among the first teachings of Islam. Turkey, which was economically the sick man of Europe during the times of secular rulers and whose currency was touching the lowest ebb, is now being considered among the top countries of Europe under the Islamists' rule, due to their best economic policies….
"The secular rulers had maintained Turkey's foreign policy under [the influence of] the most notorious fascist state of the world, Israel, while the Islamist rulers gave Turkey a respectable status among the world community by maintaining a balanced foreign policy despite being a NATO member. The Turkish leadership not only raised its voice globally in favor of Burmese Muslims [following the recent killings by majority Buddhists], but also visited that country and put ointment on the running sore of the helpless Burmese Muslims. The secular rulers lived their tenure with military support, while Islamists drove away the military generals from the highest educational and administrative institutions of the country. Besides that, strengthening national and democratic institutions, including peace and security, educational development, safeguarding of human rights and religious freedom, instead of individual rules, have been the hallmark of the Islamist rulers. "
"Now The Writing Is On The Wall That Secularism Will Be Buried Beside The Grave Of Communism And The Future of The Human World Will Remain Attached To The Crown Of Prophethood [Muhammad]"
"The defeated secular elements are not able to digest these successes of Turkey's orthodox Muslim rulers because the path of secularism would be broken forever not only in Turkey but also in other Islamic countries due to these epoch-making successes, and the difference between secularism and the virtues of the Islamic way of life will become evident before the world…
"Turkey's secular elements have taken to the roads from the end of the past month against the reconstruction of a park in Istanbul. They object that this would destroy the city's greenery and pollution will increase in the atmosphere, etc. However, these objections are nothing more than the traditional hypocrisy and duality of secularism.
"The fact is that the Turkish government wants to bring a change in the map around this park to deal with the traffic rush and problems faced by pedestrians, which involves the construction of a mosque along with other works. How could the secular elements, which have been taught the freedom of Christianity by their lords in the name of the freedom of religion, tolerate the construction of a mosque? There stood military barracks near this park in 1909, constructed by the Ottoman caliphate. The secular governments demolished those barracks in 1940 and constructed the Ataturk Cultural Centre in its place, and all those things which are done in the secular world take place there. The Tayyip Erdogan government decided to rebuild those barracks of the Ottoman period by demolishing the so-called cultural center because the ills that are there have no place in Islamic culture. This is the real reason of the secularists' problem.
"The secular element's protest has proved to be the last straw [that broke] the camel's back, because making such a nationwide hue and cry on the reconstruction of a park does not hold any meaning. The fact is that the secular forces are terribly frightened over the paths that the enlightened orthodox Muslim leadership of Turkey has opened for implementing Islamic sharia in a short span of past ten years, despite the secular constitution. Only some time ago the government passed a law in the parliament according to which the sale of alcohol was prohibited at night. This is a clear indication that alcohol would be banned completely. The Islamist government lifted the ban on women wearing the scarf just after coming to power, while during the reign of the secular government police had order to snatch away scarves from the heads of veiled women….
"Now the wife of the prime minister, who is the country's first lady, is seen wearing a scarf. The present government has put a ban from the very beginning on kissing and other immoral activities at public places. Beside that, the Erdogan government not only sidelined the great hereditary generals with much precision and made them ineffective, but also put them behind bars by bringing cases of corruption against them. How could such actions be acceptable to the secular forces and their foreign lords? That is why all the rage is being vented against the development of Islamic values in the name of Gezi Park and Taksim Square.
"At present the world media in general, especially European media … while the Jewish media has raised the sky on their heads about these protests. The world media is so concerned about the alleged destruction of the greenery of a garden that it has created a global storm. Thousands of Muslims were killed in Burma and their innumerable properties and prayer houses were turned into ashes, and Buddhists slew Muslims by knives, but the Jewish and Christian media played the role of mute spectators by becoming blind, dumb, and deaf. Is this the standard of freedom of expression under secularism? This very attitude of the secularists will become the cause of the drowning of secularism, and now the writing is on the wall that secularism will be buried beside the grave of communism, and the future of the human world will remain attached to the crown of Prophet-hood [Muhammad] … from the beginning until the end, Allah willing."
"Turkey Is Still A Secular Country Constitutionally, But Now This Notion Has Become Popular That Forceful Implementation Of Secularism Is Against Human Rights"; "Hundreds Of Thousands Of Trained Activists [From Religious Seminaries] Proved To Be Very Effective In Creating Political And Religious Consciousness In Villages, Towns, And Cities"
Following are excerpts from Maulana Mohammad Azhar's article:
"For the past few days in Turkey, protest demonstrations have continued in Istanbul along with in some other provinces on a limited level. Apparently these protests started against the cutting down of some trees at Gezi Park in Istanbul, where the government wants to construct a shopping plaza; but in fact the catalyst of this protest and violence is the law under which open immoral activities and the sale and purchase of alcohol has been prohibited.
"Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, which has been victorious three times consecutively in general elections, enjoys the people's support as usual. AKP (the short for Justice and Development Party in Turkish) got 37% vote when it first came into power [in 2002], but due to its performance it got more that 54% of the vote in the last elections. AKP has prepared an army of volunteers by including hundred thousands of youth and women in its election strategy who are busy in the efforts of [establishing] the system of justice in the country with purity of intention. The Justice party is carrying forward its agenda with prudence and wisdom. Along with education, unemployment, health, distribution of wealth, social security, industrialization, freedom from debt-based economic burden, and civil facilities, the anti-Islam reminiscence of Kemalism [the ideology of Turkish ruler Mustafa Kamal Pasha, who brought an end of Ottoman caliphate in Turkey] is also being controlled without any oppression.
"There was a time when Kemalism had brought the country completely on the lines of Western atheism. The onslaught of Western culture and civilization, the change in Turkish script, ban on the original Arabic words of Azan [calling for prayer from mosques], adoption of Western dress code, ban on hijab [veil], etc., were steps which had changed the national culture. This was the time when [20th century Turkish Islamist scholar] Badiuzzaman Said Nursi started his [Islamist] movement and tried to spread the teachings and explanations of the holy Koran to the greatest possible extent. Ustaaz Said Nursi's movement kept spreading despite the government's power and the influence of Kemalism, and the effect of his message became evidently visible in the '70s, ten years after his death.
"Turkey is still a secular country constitutionally, but now this notion has become popular that forceful implementation of secularism is against human rights. Education, and especially religious education, is the basic right of every human being. Therefore, the trend of religious education in Turkey is astonishing. There has been increase in the Koranic [study] circles at the rate of more than 135 every year from 1983 to 1990. In 1990, there were about 5,000 Koranic circles active in providing courses on Koran. About one million youth completed courses on the Koran from these circles.
"Similarly, the numbers of the graduates from the [religious seminaries] Imam Khatib schools were 29,000 in 1975, reached 201,000 in 1981, and by 1991 it reached 3,009,000. These hundreds of thousands of trained activists proved to be very effective in creating political and religious consciousness in villages, towns, and cities. Parents got their wards admitted to the Imam Khatib schools to save their children from narcotics, smoking, and other moral ills. When these children reached the universities, there started a clear change."
"The Secular Groups Accuse The Present [Erdogan] Government Of Curbing People's Civil Liberties"; "Some People Are Comparing The Protests Emanating From Taksim Square With Those Of Egypt And Other Arab States, As If These Protests Are The Logical End Of The Government"
"However, secular forces did not remain silent during this period. These forces are against the process of seeping in of Islam into the society. Therefore, these people keep organizing protest demonstrations on one or another pretext against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has unflinching faith in Islam, and his government. This time there seems to be comparative severity in these protest. But this does not mean that … Erdogan's popularity has gone down or people are against the act of purification [policies by the government]. The fact is that he is not seen as a politician only, but as a statesman. Most of the present progress of Turkey is the result of his intelligence and hard labor.
"The secular groups accuse the present government of curbing people's civil liberties in the name of implementing ethics. The evidence they give are about government orders, including fixing the time of alcohol sale, banning young couple from meeting in parks, and a ban on use of sharp-color lipsticks and nail-polishes by stewardesses in government-run airlines. However, the Turkish people appreciate these things and call it in accordance with their cultural and religious traditions.
"Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan went on a four-day visit to North America. He is so popular that when he came back, there were tens of thousands activists at the airport to welcome him, without any announcement. This was a message to the anti-government protestors that the people of Turkey support the policies of Tayyip Erdogan.
"Addressing his supporters [at the airport], the prime minister called the protests unjustified. At that moment his enthusiastic supporters demanded that he suppress the protestors, but the thinker and moderate prime minister asked them to remain peaceful and return peacefully to their homes. Replying to the demands of his resignation, he said that he is not only the PM of t50% of the people, but he is working for 76 million Turkish citizens.
"The foreign media has acknowledged that the passionate welcome of the PM suggests that he remains popular among the masses. Some people are comparing the protests emanating from Taksim Square with those of Egypt and other Arab states, as if these protests are the logical end of the government. The clear difference between Turkey and the Arab states is that while the protests were due to the dictatorship and lack of democratic set-up [in Arab countries], in Turkey not only is democracy strong and established, but the ruling party enjoys the absolute support of the people. Therefore, there is no such threat of temporary turmoil or limited protest demonstrations. It is hoped that the Justice party would make a new record by being victorious for the fourth time."