Ramadan begins this weekend, or Ramazan, if you are Turkish, and I thought that it would be nice to open up this week's article with a link from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook for Ramazan Pide. Let the celebrations begin!
The pope's comments have been a hot topic of dicussion in the Turkish blogs this week. The pope is scheduled to visit Turkey soon and any sort of comments made by him as anti-muslim have been taken very seriously as Aydin.net explains:
The Pope has already been criticised in Turkey for his opposition to it joining the European Union, and his advocacy for a Christian element in the EU constitution. Salih Kapusuz, the deputy leader of the ruling party, which has its roots in Islam, said Benedict's remarks were either the result of “pitiful ignorance” about Islam and its Prophet or a deliberate distortion of the truth. The PM of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was asked if the flap would affect the planned trip to Istanbul, where the pope hopes to meet with Orthodox leaders who are headquartered there, and he left open the possibility of cancellation saying “I wouldn't know’ and mentioned that Benedict was speaking “not like a man of religion but like a usual politician.”
The movie put out by Mel Gibson two and a half year ago stimulated a lot of interfaith heat. And now, we have another interfaith controversy with the Pope himself at it's epicentre.
When it comes to Jesus and/or Christianity we seem to be going from one fitful controversy to another – a bit like the proverbial birth pangs.
The earlier cartoon controversy and now this present one suggests to me that the person of Muhammad and what Muslims have made of him might be the greatest barrier to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me explain why.
Fast forward to today. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O'Connor, spiritual leader of the four million Catholics in England and Wales, argues that Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, is not culturally part of Europe. Contrary to Tony Blair's wishes. But the Cardinal may have a point here if you believe ‘cultural’ allegiances are influenced by ‘religion,’ or vice versa as I believe, and ‘religious leaders’ are spokes-models for the ‘new world order’ as opposed to ‘elected’ not ‘selected’ leaders. You may be prompted to ask what is this world coming to?
But the good ole Cardinal asks “I think the question is for Europe. Will the admission of Turkey to the European Union be something that benefits a proper dialogue or integration of a very large, predominantly Islamic, country in a continent that, fundamentally, is Christian?”
I guess he believes it will be the latter, and he wishes the ‘political’ leaders took heed.
However, if you really want the full persceptive about Turkey joining the EU, have Erkan's Field Diary on your daily read list. His latest post illustrates an attempt at EU officials to use Turkish anger about the Pope's comments against their bid:
Angry Muslim reaction to the Pope's recent remarks on Islam has seen some centre-right MEPs make a last-minute attempt to insert a paragraph condemning the Muslim outcry into a major report on Turkey's EU accession progress while Kretschmer declares that (Turkish) Military does not respect legal order. Mehmet Ali Birand says Justice Minister Cicek might be right in his insistence that “we be patient, arguing, “The judiciary will fine-tune itself.” Afterwards, Elif Åžafak was found not guilty. Now the Supreme Court of Appeals will have its say. If it goes along with the decision, we will have passed a critical threshold. Ã‡iÃ§ek will have been proven as right. The only thing I'm worried about is the trials of the not-so-famous people. “
Links to visit this week…
1. Excellent food blog, in Turkish, called Mutfaktakiler, loosely translated as “Those that are in the kitchen”.
2. The Infidel talks about his experiences in moving to New York.
3. Amerikan Turk has a touching story of the death of his local barber.
4. Turkish Torque has an excellent translation of an article about the “Turkish Left”.