AK Party Member of Parliament, Talip Kucukcan, told his audience at a roundtable meeting held in London, last week that problems of extremism in the West and in some Muslim countries can be tackled with developing a deeper understanding of the trajectory of Islamic culture as developed in Anatolia.
The head of the Turkish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Professor Talip Kucukcan spoke at a roundtable meeting on the relationship of Islam with the European world, organized by the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics and the British Institute of Turkish Affairs (BITAF)
Kucukcan stated that European approach to Islam is marked with the prejudice that sees it as faith promoting violence, authoritarianism and violating fundamental human rights. There is a very negative image of Islam and Muslims in Europe. The main reasons for this are the essentialist view of Islam and Muslims and failing to see the diversity and pluralism within the Muslim World.
In his talk, Kucukcan touched upon the cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of the Ottoman Empire at the panel on “Islam, Turkey and the Future of Europe”, expanding that a deeply rooted Ottoman heritage exists in modern Turkey, which is echoed in the Anatolian culture creating a foundation for the rise of tolerant and moderate understanding of religion.
Kucukcan also stated that a harsh practice of secularism faded away under the AK Party rule wherein a normalization of secularism started to take place by lifting restrictions before the freedom of religion.
“Under the AK Party, the restrictions on the headscarf which prevented veiled women to go to university or to work at the public offices were lifted. The state institutions began to treat people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds equally. As part of the normalization process, the demands of the Alevi community were legitimized and taken on board. To address the concerns of this community, the government organized several workshops and high level meetings with Alevis. Moreover, the AK Party government passed a law that enabled non-Muslim foundations to claim their properties back once confiscated by the state. The heritage of the non-Muslims are now being returned to their owners one-by-one.,” he said
“Anatolian Islam does not give way to extremism”
Kucukcan also underlined that the “Islamic world includes many interpretations of the faith; such as Salafism, Wahhabism and numerous sectarian emerged in Muslim countries marked by national cultures and historical circumstances. Although the media coverage of the Muslim World focuses on radical elements, the overwhelming majority of Muslims subscribe to moderate and peaceful interpretation of Islam. Even outside the Muslim World especially in the West, radical views seem to influence some young people. Today, though in small numbers, western born and bred generations have been exposed to extremist and radical ideologies.”