‘My brothers and sisters in Europe, have not just three but five children’
Whatever else you think of Turkish strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and he is a nasty piece of work, you have to admit that he knows what he wants and is determined to get it.
Under his rule Turkey has changed from a secular nation to an Islamist dictatorship. A modern, majority-Muslim nation of 80million has rejected its 90-year experiment in relative Western liberalism and has chosen the authoritarian rule of a man who describes himself as a ‘servant of Sharia’. In Erdogan’s view, democracy is merely a means to an end: ‘You ride it until you arrive at your destination, and then you step off’.
Reviving ‘Imam Hatip’, or ‘Imam and Preacher’, schools is an important part of Erdogan’s drive to put religion at the heart of national life after decades of secular dominance. Turkey is pouring billions of pounds into Islamic schools. According to Erdogan these schools will raise a ‘pious generation’ ready to ‘work for the construction of a new civilisation’.
Since 2012 total pupil numbers at Imam Hatip schools have risen fivefold to 1.3million in more than 4,000 schools. The Erdogan government has also increased religious education teaching at regular state schools, some of which have been converted into Imam Hatip schools. The government declines to say how many.
What is important is not that Islam is being taught in Islamic countries: the real question is what kind of Islam? Whilst Islamic apologists in the West speak of a distinction between ‘moderate’ Islam and fanatical Islam, Erdogan utterly rejects the concept of moderate Islam.
During the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh on October 25, 2017, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke of his desire to turn his country into a bastion of ‘moderate Islam’. Erdogan responded: ‘Islam cannot be either “moderate” or “not moderate” – Islam can only be one thing.’
He went on to claim the concept of moderate Islam is a Western plot to weaken Islam. The ‘patent of this concept originated in the West’, which ‘really want[s] to weaken Islam’.
Whilst our ruling political caste assures us that unregulated immigration from Arab and Muslim countries is an unalloyed benefit which will usher in a utopia of multicultural harmony, Erdogan sees things differently.
For him, mass migration is a tool of transformation. At a rally in March 2017 he confidently declared that Turks ‘are the future of Europe’. In his view, a growing Turkish population would be the best answer to the EU’s ‘vulgarism, antagonism, and injustice’. ‘I am calling out to my citizens, my brothers and sisters in Europe,’ Erdogan pleaded, ‘have not just three but five children.’
Whilst Church leaders in the West may fall over themselves for inter-faith dialogue and worship, Erdogan is clear. The powers-that-be in Ankara defiantly declare Christians to be kafirs, or ‘those who cover up the truth’.
In keeping with Erdogan’s stance, the Turkish government-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) published a detailed 140-page report in July 2017 which stated that Islam is ‘superior’ to Judaism and Christianity, and that ‘interfaith dialogue is unacceptable’.
This government-funded Islamic revival is not confined to Turkey. The Erdogan government is involved in training imams for mosques in Germany. The Diyanet has ties to more than 900 German mosques.
The Western political elite may have replaced their moral compass with pointless virtue-signalling, but Turkey’s Erdogan hasn’t. He knows exactly where he wants to take his country. As he indoctrinates Turkey’s youth and weaponises migration, the West is increasingly losing its ability or desire to resist and repel such onslaughts.
Erdogan’s project of Islamic and nationalist revival comes at a time when educational and cultural institutions in the West face a relentless activist-driven campaign to purge their inherent Western cultural and spiritual identity.
Gherush92, the Italian organisation which advises UN bodies on human rights, even asked to have Dante removed from school curricula in Italy because it is supposedly ‘Islamophobic’. In his Inferno, Dante places Muhammad in his poetic Hell.
One would expect the Christian church to resist the encroachment of Islam. Instead, inter-faith dialogue is held up as the way forward. Even the intellectually incoherent inter-faith worship is increasingly being practised.
Interfaith dialogue tends to be a one-way street. After the murder of an aged priest in a church in Normandy last July, the Christian clergy opened the doors of their churches to Muslims. This gesture was supposedly a turning point in relations between the two religions. From a population of six million Muslims in France, only a few hundred participated.
The Koran was sung during a service at St Mary’s Episcopal cathedral in Glasgow, including a passage which denied the deity of Christ. Lord Harries, retired Bishop of Oxford, has suggested the next coronation service should be opened with a reading from the Koran. In the US, more than 50 churches, including the Washington National Cathedral, hold Koran readings.
This is not confined to rootless neo-Protestants. Three years ago, for the first time in Vatican history, Pope Francis helped set the trend for Roman Catholics by allowing the reading of Islamic prayers and Koran readings in the Vatican.
A week after the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, Islamic songs including ‘Koran is Justice’ were sung in Florence’s Cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore. Under the Dome of Brunelleschi, Islamic chanting mingled with Christian melodies, and Europe remained under threat of terrorism.
Even whilst Erdogan refuses to tolerate the mere mention of the word ‘moderate’ in relation to Islam, Western progressives continue to appease colonising Islam. All this from their rejection of Christian civilisation and embrace of a supine multiculturalism, and from fear of ‘Islamophobia’ accusations.
Should we wonder that Christianity and Judaism are under increasing threat in Turkey, as they are in the rest of the Muslim world?