Council of Europe in Strasbourg, April 13, 2011/Vincent Kessler)
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused France of violating the freedom of religion on Wednesday after Paris began enforcing a law barring Muslim women from wearing full face veils in public. He told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that Turkey was the only Muslim country that had copied the French law on secularism, or separating church and state.
“It’s quite ironic to see that secularism is today under debate in Europe and is undermining certain freedoms,” he said. “Today in France, there is no respect for individual religious freedom,” he said. The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe monitors human rights across the continent.
Absolutely stunning for a country that considers that other religions threaten Turkey:
Although missionary work is legal in secular Turkey, the mistrust of missionaries has been expressed by state institutions. In 2001, a report prepared for Turkey’s National Security Council, which brings together generals, politicians and the president, said missionary activities constituted a threat to national unity as their ultimate aim was to “divide Turkey”.
“Missionary activity, the prime threat to Turkey, has nothing to do with freedom of religion,” Namik Kemal Zeybek, leader of the Democrat Party, or DP, a small right-wing group, said in a speech last week, according to press reports. “These missionary activities, called ‘Evangelical’ and supported by US dollars, are a threat for the whole of humanity.”
- Turkey faces questions about free expression (sfgate.com)
- TURKEY: Murders of Muslim women up 1400% since Erdogan took office (barenakedislam.wordpress.com)