Shared Values for Generations in Turkey & America, Part 4

For generations the Muslim world has been a part of the American landscape, and living in Turkey for ten years helped me remember pieces of what we share about our religious values.
Semih Akcomak reminds us again that the differences between Turks and Europeans pale when compared to the similarities. Unfortunately, in Who Speaks for Islam, it revealed that there's a negative perception '...the war against global terrorism is really war against Islam.'
Americans seem to have forgotten that America was built on the backs of immigrants from diverse cultures and countries to include Muslim-Americans from America, Turkey, Europe, Africa, Asia or wherever. There's no need for Islamophobia here, but a greater need for understanding and learning.
Roger Cohen recently wrote that there's a war going on for Turkey's soul, but I disagree. Turkey is going through a time, like many nations, to figure out who they are and how they wish to evolve. He also talks about how countries change.
Islam and democracy have been working in Turkey in many aspects since the 1920s; although, freedom of speech and ability to surf the internet at times has been impeded. They'll continue to seek out their way to integrate religion into daily life.
How will they do this? A look at some responses given by Turks in Turkey will help them pave a strong way for religion and democracy to stand in unison. While a majority of Turks embrace the Sunni sect of Islam along with 85 percent of Muslims as a whole, there are few disagreements among Turks on major issues.
Foremost, a vocal 88 percent of Turks living in Turkey believe that a constitution for a new country should include guarantees of free speech. Conversely, 97 percent of Americans do.
Turkey, a new republic only in 1923, gave women the right to vote in 1934 for parliamentary (national) elections. Since 1934, Turkey has had female heads of ministries and state and women in the cabinet.
In contrast, America, founded on a secular society several hundred years ago, has never had a female head of state, although in 1920, women did gain the right to vote nation-wide.
Oddly enough, Islamic activists in Turkey have emerged as an "alternative elite" in mainstream society, where the AK Party was overwhelmingly elected by democratic vote in 2002 and 2006. Those who've faced Turkish courts for crimes against the state still get elected to parliament and cabinets and as prime ministers.
On the other hand, America, too, has fundamentalist elites in mainstream society and voted in office while mixing religion and state affairs. Fortunately, seeking public office with a criminal record is largely rejected.
What's troubling for many who don't understand Muslim values or why militant groups terrorize is that in the name of Islam Muslim societies throughout the world are terrorized more than the West.
Turkey experiences bombings throughout the year by the PKK in the southeast, on tourists in Turkish Riviera vacation spots, and in Istanbul at banks and synagogues. Even Al Qaeda fingerprints have been tied to bombings in Istanbul.
Unfortunately, due to these numerous bombings throughout the world and what the Western media equate to both Muslims and Islam, the book "Who Speaks for Islam" states that 57 percent of Americans surveyed believe there's either nothing redeemable about Islam or Muslim society or that they know nothing of either.
So, while religion plays an important part in Muslim, American and other societies, it is primarily Islam, in all of its diversity of opinion, cultures and practices, equated to the well-known side of world terrorists, extremists and militants.
Next time, we'll look at Muslim and American demographics disclosing our moral, spiritual and social values and similarities.
Until then, weigh in with your comments below this article.
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About Bea Vanni

Known as the Solution Master, Bea Vanni specializes in the design, development and delivery of products for non-fiction authors, educators and multipreneurs. Bea works with gifted spiritual creatives who are business preneurs sharing spiritual, health or how-to business content. Bea provides hands-on help for publishing projects and creates and supports your online presence in social media. An editor, writer, project manager and certified author’s assistant and social media manager, you can depend on Bea for your publishing and online visibility solutions. http://www.remarkablesolutions.com, soon to be http://beavanni.com.

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