: EU Says ‘Freedom of Religion’ Or Else
J. Grant Swank,
The European Union has given
a mandate. It is to open the entire country to freedom of religious
Now of course Muslims rule and Islam is the
nation’s religion. Those of other religions live constantly with
discrimination in various dimensions. But if
ever hopes to enter the EU membership, it will have to comply with the
following, according to Asia-News/Forum 18:
The European Commission specified the following
· it must fully protect "freedom of
religion" by adopting a law comprehensively addressing all the
difficulties faced by non-Muslim religious minorities and communities in
line with the relevant European standards;
· "suspend all sales or confiscation of
properties" belonging to non-Muslim religious community foundations
pending the adoption of the above law;
· adopt and implement as soon as possible provisions
concerning "the exercise of freedom of thought, conscience and
religion by all individuals and religious communities in line with the
ECHR, taking into account the relevant recommendations of the Council of
Europe's Commission against Racism and Intolerance;
· establish conditions for the functioning of these
communities, in line with the practice of Member States, including legal
and judicial protection of the communities, their members and their
assets, teaching, appointing and training of clergy, and the enjoyment of
· protect the right of each community to organize
itself in ways other than as a foundation and to choose its leaders free
from government interference. (The government has often removed
individuals from boards of directors, something that the Armenian
Apostolic and Greek Orthodox foundations know all too well.)"
At present, it seems impossible for Muslim Turkey to
comply with the above, let alone with any one item in the above. The
stipulations are so foreign to the Muslim hold on Turkey that to expect
that Islamic politic to open cordial doors of religious freedom to others
is a pipe dream.
Turkey’s parliament has debated for decades
regarding religious freedom; but it has come to naught.
If Turkey complied to the EU statement, there would
not only be religious _expression permitted but church properties taken
over by the government would have to be returned. Some of them have been
destroyed; therefore, monetary compensation would be expected.
There are some Turkish regions that are openly
hostile to those of other religions. Therefore, of course it is hard to
break the hard back of habit’s entrenchment based on prejudice.
In addition, Turkey does not trust entities with
religious titles. Turkey does not know what entities to trust as genuinely
religious or scams appearing to be religious organizations.
Further, the Turkish constitution would have to be
changed, "bringing in an accompanying law to concretely introduce
full individual and collective religious freedom rights." To the
Muslim mindset, this is heresy.
To those who believe that Islam world rule is the
next planetary plateau, to grant religious freedom in a stubbornly
ensconced country like Muslim Turkey is unthinkable. Therefore, there
would be much opposition. However, if Turks want EU membership, they have
to comply with the EU mandate and not cower before their own
In addition, Islamics despise and at times kill those
who move from Muslim to another religious faith. How then could Muslims
honor that stipulations in the EU mandate? Those who leave Allah are
considered the worst of the worst. They fear for their lives. They are
tortured, cast out of the house, treated as if they are dead, and at times
publicly ridiculed beyond belief. Frequently, they are killed.
Presently, the constitution "includes no
guarantees about the freedom to change one's faith or to join together
with others in religious communities. No guarantee is given to religious
communities' right to organize themselves freely as they choose, own
property directly, and have legal recognition. That is why the
constitution must fall in line with Art. 9 of the European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR), which guarantees full religious freedom.
"This right includes freedom for individuals to
change religion or belief, ‘and freedom, either alone or in community
with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief,
in worship, teaching, practice and observance.’"
Granted, there are some in Turkey who want the EU
mandate operative. But they fear speaking up in case their positions would
provoke the powerful military. In other words, freedom of speech is not
operative in Turkey, let alone freedom of religious _expression.
Copyright © 2005 by J. Grant Swank, Jr.