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April 03, 2012, Tuesday

Quran, the AK Party and the MHP

A bill popularly nicknamed the 4+4+4 has been passed by Parliament. Under this bill, optional courses on the Quran and the life of the Prophet of Islam will be offered in schools. Even though they still have negative feelings towards each other, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) cooperated on this matter to ensure that these elective courses are offered in schools. Setting aside the discussions on the new bill, I would like to focus on this cooperation.

It is true that the hearts of the supporters of both parties beat in unison when it comes to the Quran and our Prophet. I should also note that it is also the case with the supporters and voters of the Felicity Party (SP), the Grand Unity Party (BBP) and the Voice of the People Party (HAS Party). I believe that the vast majority of supporters and voters of the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) hold similar sentiments and feelings when it comes to the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad. This nation is in love with the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad. In these lands, even those who are far from religion respect the Quran and our Prophet.

For this reason, those who discuss this matter with reference to allegations on the exploitation and abuse of religion and the use of religion as a political tool would offend the majority of the people. The people are happy now considering that their children will have the opportunity to learn the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, and for this reason, they pay no attention to the political aspects of the matter. I wish the CHP could have separated their objections and concerns over the 4+4+4 draft bill from the matter on courses related to the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad; it seems that the CHP gives the impression that they are still afraid of pressure from pro-secularists. If they held that the AK Party used religion for political goals, wouldn't it have been wise to support the bill that allowed inclusion of optional courses on the Quran in the curricula of schools so that you could abort this use of religion?

And if the CHP takes the law to the Constitutional Court, wouldn't this mean for the people that the CHP is opposed to Quran courses? Wouldn't this be the common perception? The perception that the CHP is far from religion would restrict the political sphere of the CHP.

It would be wrong to limit the case to Turkey alone. Today, there is growing interest and attention in the universal messages that our Prophet delivered in the name of Allah all around the world. Islam is experiencing a period of resurrection. In the Islamic region there is once again a strong tendency to embrace Islamic precepts. There is a visible process of enlightenment that envisages progress in science and technology.

The impact of ideologies -- aka -isms -- is weakening in the world of ideas, thoughts and academic activities in our country. The walls constructed between us and the Quran and the Prophet are coming down; all obstacles are being overcome. The period of alienation with the Quran and our Prophet is ending. Young people are marching towards Him like butterflies fly to light. This nation is reuniting with its spiritual roots. And this is a march, unlike some allegations that revenge is being taken, full of wisdom, forgiveness, passion and mercy based upon our own traditional values. Please do not undermine this beauty and try to invalidate it.

From this perspective, political considerations aside, the AK Party and the MHP have presented a good example of cooperation in respect to a crucial issue that holds critical importance for the future of our nation. It is necessary to appreciate the excitement and joy among the supporters of the AK Party and the MHP. Nobody has the right to question the sincerity of the MHP in their action by which they extended support for the bill on optional Quran courses.

The AK Party and the MHP have fulfilled the demands and desires of the majority of the people. They took a positive step towards enjoyment of freedom of religion and conscience. True, the most important imprint of the Feb. 28 has been erased thanks to the will of the people. This will should be activated and enabled in respect to members of other religions. Their problems should also be resolved, and their demands should be heard. It should be noted that not restricting democracy to ourselves is the most important expectation in respect to democratization.

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