The Stealth Jihad in Turkey

June 11, 2008
Robert Spencer on one of the world's most skillful practitioners of the stealth jihad, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

Anyone opposed to the global jihad should be watching recent developments in Turkey very closely -- not just for what they reveal about the direction in which that country is headed, but so as to understand nothing less than the new direction of the jihad movement.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with President Abdullah Gul and their ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), have been moving for quite some time to dismantle Turkish secularism and transform Turkey into a state governed by Islamic law. But as Prime Minister, Erdogan has not engaged in a direct assault on Turkish secularism. Instead, he and the AKP have steadily chipped away at it, reintroducing provisions of Islamic law piece by piece, while professing to uphold the country’s secular character.

In 2004 Erdogan took steps to criminalize adultery, and late in 2005 the AKP banned alcoholic beverages in government cafes and restaurants in Ankara. In May 2008 a new law came into effect that effectively outlawed sale of alcohol by the glass in bars and restaurants.

In the 1990s, as mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan was forthright about this goal, expressing his opposition to secularism in no uncertain terms: “You cannot be both secular and a Muslim! You will either be a Muslim, or secular!...It is not possible for a person who says ‘I am a Muslim’ to go on and say ‘I am secular too.’ And why is that? Because Allah, the creator of the Muslim, has absolute power and rule!

Saying that Allah has “absolute power and rule” is a fundamentally political statement. And from its inception Islam has been a political and social system, not just a religious faith in the way most Westerners conceive of religion. The establishment of Islamic law as the only legitimate system of government is a goal that Erdogan shares with Osama bin Laden and other jihadists around the world; they only differ regarding the best means to go about this.

While Al-Qaeda and other jihad groups have focused on violent attacks on Western targets, Erdogan has shown himself a master of the stealth jihad: the slow, steady, step-by-step encroachment upon secular societal norms, continuing until Islamic law is fully in place.

This effort is proceeding, too, in the West. As a Muslim Brotherhood operative, Mohamed Akram, put it in 1991 memorandum outlining the organization’s strategy in the United States: “The Muslim Brotherhood must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” ...

And so they have in Turkey -- at least up until last week. In line with its small-step, indirect approach, for years now the government has been trying to overturn the law banning the Islamic headscarf in Turkish universities. But on Thursday the Turkish Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest court, overturned a new AKP-backed law allowing the headscarf in universities, saying it contravened the Constitutional tenets providing for Turkish secularism ...

The Turkish courts and military have intervened to save Turkish secularism before. They may now, and soon again. If Erdogan were to be down, he would not be out, and analysts would be well-advised to study his stealth jihad in Turkey: there are groups in Western Europe and the U.S. that are pursuing exactly the same kind of small-scale, step-by-step approach that the AKP has followed with so much success until last week ...
Turkey Steers into a Dangerous Identity Crisis, Spiegel:
The question is whether AKP will accept a ban without mobilizing its supporters. Speculation is already brewing of massive street protests and the possibility of early elections in the autumn. AKP, many suspect, would like to use the protests to build support for a referendum to install a new constitution that would strip the current court of its power.

The military will now be tracking AKP's moves closely. And if it has to, it will defend the country's secularity with any means necessary. Turkey, in short, appears to be on a dangerous path -- and one that may end in confrontation.
Hugh Fitzgerald, July 2007:
In the end, the secular Turks didn't do enough. They lazily relied on the army to protect them, the army that would stage a coup and come to their rescue. But an army can stage a coup only when Islam is still in a state of weakness. Now the same infiltration that has gone on in many parts of Turkish society has also been going on, still at the lower levels, of the army. And given the way in which the Islamic forces have so cleverly used their time in office to appear, quite wrongly, as a "moderate" force, a "new kind of Islam" -- the kind of thing that the defeated secularists and Western governments all want desperately to believe because the truth is too unpleasant, too hard to take -- one wonders if the army can indeed stage another coup.

Why didn't those secularists, all these years, for the past half-century, work and work and work like madmen to change the minds of men, to continue the work of Ataturk, to substitute not a crude cult of "the Turk" and the "Sun People" and Ataturk as the Great Man, but to steadily create a class of Western men, encouraging skepticism and a spirit of criticism and self-criticism, that could exist with a reasonable patriotism? Why didn't they, long ago, begin to discuss, for example, the Armenian question? Instead of shunning the issue and trying to shut down all discussion inside and outside Turkey, they could have studied those mass murders as being prompted -- as indeed they were -- not by "the Turks" engaged in ethnic warfare, but by Muslim Turks (and Muslim Kurds too) against Armenians because they were Christians, as the detailed first-person memoirs, with the shouts of "giaour" and the fiendish glee with which the pregnant wives of priests were immolated, help to make clear. Why not, in other words, blame Islam-maddened Turks and Kurds, and not "Turks and Kurds"? That is, why not blame Islam for what happened, since it is clearly to blame?

And why did secular Turks not look closely at the example of Iran, where secular, leftist Iranians were snookered into helping overthrow the Shah by Khomeini and the True Believers, and then destroyed? (Yes, the Shah was corrupt and vainglorious, but compared to what followed, he and his court, those hoveydas and tabatabais, look better every day.) It will always be that way. The Muslims will use, as they are now using some among the secularists, to deplore the army, to deplore the laws that the threat of Islam makes necessary. And those secularists, not having studied carefully the example of Iran, fall for it. For god's sake, what happened to the elegant Bakhtiari? To Bani-Sadr? To Ghotbzahadeh? What happened to Iranian intellectuals? Who was jailed? Who went mad in jail? Who was murdered, who with his wife was decapitated, and their heads left on either side of the mantelpiece in their house? Haven't the past nearly thirty years of the Islamic Republic of Iran right next door taught the Turkish secularists, the ones who think that Turkey can be just as solicitous of civil rights as the United States, what they needed to know?

The Turkish secularists let the army be their final protection. They accepted Kemalism and the benefits it brought. It made their own existence possible. But they were not grateful enough. They did not continue to work to weaken the power of Islam over the minds of men. They were not sufficiently relentless and ruthless. They did not stress or even make the connection between all the failures of Turkish society and Islam ...

In the schools, beginning with higher education, secularists need to insist that this subject -- Islam and its influence on Turkish behavior -- be discussed. Along with this, why should there not begin to be open discussion of how a land completely un-Muslim became Islamized, and how, indeed, so many of those who proudly call themselves Turks would discover, if they could or would investigate, that they are in fact the descendants of forcibly converted, or seized, Christians and Jews? How many fiercely nationalist or Islamic Turks, for example, were Armenians two or three generations ago?

The problem of the Turkish secularists is that they represent, at most, perhaps 25% of the population. After 80 years of Kemalism. That isn't enough. It won't be enough to withstand a cunning, tireless, relentless enemy of secularism. The Islamic side knows how to wait, and work, steadily, for their ends ...

The Turkish secularists, like the Iranian secularists, did not realize that the primitive masses will always return to Islam -- or rather, that the hold of Islam is so great, that they will not have left it in the first place. And what happens in the capital (Istanbul,Teheran) is not what happens elsewhere. Never have the secularists, or "leftists" as they are often crudely and inaccurately called by the Western press, managed to outfox the upholders of Islam. It is always the other way round ...

The True Believers are always trying to infiltrate, through the lower ranks, and now up into the officer corps, the army. There are reports, but who knows if they are reliable or not, that they have recently been more successful at such infiltration than in the past -- just a bit better at hiding things, or perhaps being protected by others who secretly agree with them, slightly higher up. Anyone who assumes that "the Army" will always be ready and able to easily crush the forces of organized Islam is whistling in the dark.
And why is Turkey in this mess? Mark Steyn:
Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, there have been two Turkeys: the Turks of Rumelia, or European Turkey, and the Turks of Anatolia, or Asia Minor. Kemal Ataturk was from Rumelia and so were most of his supporters, and they imposed the modern Turkish Republic on a somewhat relunctant Anatolia, where Ataturk’s distinction between the state and Islam was never accepted. In its 80-year history, the population has increased from 14 million in 1923 to 70 million today, but the vast bulk of that population growth has come from Anatolia, whose population has migrated from the rural hinterland to overwhelm the once solidly Kemalist cities.

Ataturk’s modern secular Turkey has simply been outbred by fiercely Islamic Turkey. That’s a lesson in demography from an all-Muslim sample: no pasty white blokes were involved. So the fact that Muslim fertility is declining in Tunisia is no consolation: all that will do, as in Turkey, is remove moderate Muslims from the equation too early in the game.
When Spencer talks of the stealth jihad, it's a step forward in understanding that terrorism is not our only threat. But it's still a step short of the main problem: demographic jihad.

The solution for Turkey? The demographic jihad will only increase the stealth jihad and return Islam to it's totalitarian nature by usurping the courts and army with the weight of numbers. Secularists better start a separatist movement pronto. Ataturk has been defeated by a fundamentalist baby boom: get over it and go your separate ways.

Likewise in the West when the number of Muslims rise, Islam's nature "from its inception" of "absolute power and rule" will resurface. Islamic sympathisers will talk of an Islamic reform but, as Spencer says, Islamic reform is about as likely as an attack by men from Mars. The secular and Islamic have no long-term compatibility: they must get a divorce eventually.

Hasim Kilic, the head of Turkey's Constitutional Court, speaks to the media after the court announced its decision in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 5, 2008. Turkey's top court on Thursday annulled a law that freed Islamic head scarves at universities, inflicting a heavy blow on the Islamic-oriented government and deepening a divide between its supporters and the country's secular institutions.

A young girl walks by as Islamic demonstrators attend a head scarf ban protest , two days after Turkey's top court announced its decision on Islamic head scarves, in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 7, 2008. Turkey's parliament speaker on Saturday proposed a new constitution and re-establishing an upper house of parliament, apparently with the aim of reducing the power of the country's top court, the Constitutional Court, which infuriated the Islamic-oriented government by rejecting legislation that would have lifted a ban on Islamic head scarves in universities. The banners read: 'Head scarf is God's order!' and 'No to judicial despotism.'

Those dudes in the background are the future look of Turkey.

Only a couple of inches of skin left, girls. But don't worry, your full 'liberating' burqa will soon be the happening thang.

And also making a comeback: the long beards and finger pointing?

This post is dedicated to Australian academic Dr Liza Hopkins who tried to tell us that "because of Turkey’s fierce historic commitment to national secularism" Turkish Muslims in Australia "have no interest in, or commitment to, a larger national, supranational or global community of Muslims". The likes of Dr Liza will walk Australia down the same road of stealth and demographic jihad.

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