Are Muslim Democrats a Threat to Secularism and Freedom of Religion?

Talip Küçükcan

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
Are Muslim Democrats a Threat to Secularism and Freedom of Religion?

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In contrast to those who see the Islamic movement in Turkey as a threat to liberty, the chapter provides evidence for a positive push by the AK Party for democratic constitutional reforms and economic liberalization. While not discounting the existence of neighborhood pressure in Turkey, the chapter presents evidence for broad public acceptance of pluralism and a rejection of coercion in religious beliefs or lifestyles. The chapter also shows that the secular Kemalist regime has historically been a greater source of discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities than Islamic parties. The agenda of the AK Party, in part, has been to redress discrimination against Muslims, particularly traditional women. The chapter also documents initial steps by the government to recognize the rights of minority religious communities, though additional issues remain to be addressed.

Keywords: AK Party in Turkey; Islamic government in Turkey; Kemalist policies; democratic reforms in Turkey; Islamist parties; secularism in Turkey; head scarf controversy; Alevi community; Greek Orthodox Church

Chapter.  9054 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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