The secular thoughts of the Turks in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands there are approximately almost half a million Turks, the biggest Islamic minority. However, the secular thoughts of these Turks are very different and divers. What strikes us, is that the Turks still form their secular thoughts according the political developments in Turkey. Roughly the groups can be categorized as following:
1. A group I like to call the ‘Laicité Turks’, these Turks desire an abolishment of religion out of all state affairs. Besides being very rigid concerning secularism, this group also supports for example the ban on headscarves in universities and public state buildings in Turkey. A similar secular system in the Netherlands is their aim.
2. Although the first group, as explained above, is a small number of Turks, there are similarities with this second group ‘Worldly Turks’. These Turks like the secular thoughts in Turkey set down by Atatürk, just like the first group, but would like to mix it with a certain freedom for religion. This group wouldn’t mind seeing girls with headscarves in universities but keeps being suspicious towards certain political parties like the Islam-orientated AKP. The same can be said of their ideas concerning the Dutch system, where they disapprove the latest religious restrictions by the rightwing PVV under leadership of Geert Wilders. Although the first group of Laicité Turks are a relatively small group, this group is much larger.
3. The third group still has a big amount of respect for both Atatürk as the secular thoughts laid down by him, but is open for criticism. A secular society with a religious-Islamic basis has their favor. These ‘Religious Turks’ are the biggest political group of the four categories of secular thoughts. To remain on the previous example; according to this group the headscarves need to be accepted in every public state building whether in the Netherlands or in Turkey.
4. Just like the first group there is another extreme group which I like to call the ‘Sharia Turks’. Although they are by far the most small group and politically the most unorganized group, they however have relatively a lot of media-attention. The aim of these Turks are to create a state (primarily in Turkey but with support from Dutch Islamists) based on the Islamic law, also known as the Sharia.
April 19, 2009
© Armand Sağ 2009