Mahathir on Turkey

Nathan Gardels, NPQ, August 2007

"Since Kemal Ataturk, the Turks have believed they could become a modern state like the Europeans if they became secular and separated religion and state," Mohamad Mahathir told me when he was still prime minister of Malaysia.
"This strategy is not convincing to Muslims, who, after all, are believers. If you say that modernization means secularization, then it will be rejected in the Islamic world."

How the Turkish crisis is settled, and the impact it has on the rest of the Muslim world, if any, is the biggest test of relations between Islam and the West since 9/11. God willing, secularism will survive democracy in Turkey and Muslims elsewhere will realize the value of both.

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