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Turkey: Islam and the European Union

It has been too long since I have written anything.  It seems since March my life has been extremely busy (or I am just too lazy to post anything!).  In mid-March, I went to Turkey for a conference and some vacation.

Turkey is a very interesting place.  I’m not sure what all I want to share here with you (sometimes it is better to remain quite).  Turkey is trying to get into the European Union.  I’m really not sure why, but they are.

While there, I heard several guides say, “Turkey is a secular country.”  Yet, everywhere you look around there are mosques.  Everywhere!  Near the hotel where I stayed in Istanbul, there were no less than 4 in the immediate vicinity, and they woke you up around 5 a.m. for the call to prayer.  I doubt that most European cities would allow church bells to be rung at that hour!

While there are mosques everywhere, I did not witness any people stopping during the day and laying out their prayer rugs to pray.   There was one occasion in those 3 days that I saw one man, in his own yard, praying.

So, maybe Turkey is more like Europe than I thought.  After all, most of Europe (including the country I live in) is full of beautiful, old churches that sit mostly empty except on high holy days.

Comments

  1. Doug Symes says:

    Whenever Ataturk ran Turkey, he ban the head covering (officially!) and redid the government so that Sharia Law was not part of the government as it is in Saudia Arabia and several countries in the Middle East. That must have been what your guides meant. I spent 10 weeks there with college students in 1998 and it was very interesting. I attended the english lang church in Istanbul and helped an Iranian believe connect with the believers from Iran there in Istanbul…very interesting situation. Basically, they are secular or “cultural muslims” for the most part…many do not practice as you saw. Students told me they were too busy to pray. does that sound familiar…you shall know a tree by its fruit.

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