Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Turkey goes Islamist

Turkish Alevism is Not Islam

In the case of Turkey the population is 10-25% Alevi, often classified as Shia. Most are really not even Muslim in my view. Even Ataturk in 1925 refused to recognize the Alevi from the beginning making Sunni Islam the de-facto official religion. So much for secularism. Like the Kurds (many are also Alevi) they have faced persecution including murder and pogroms.

To me there are clear elements of pantheism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity.

See Religious Themes

This is a partial extract. L. Loflin

The following is from Persecution of Alevis in Turkey: Threats, Arbitrary Arrests by Uzay Bulut January 18, 2018. Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist born and raised in Turkey. She is presently based in Washington D.C.

The founding government of the Republic of Turkey, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, banned Alevism and its places of worship in 1925, while institutionalizing Sunni Islam through the establishment of Diyanet (Directorate of Religious Affairs) in 1924. The Diyanet was, and still is, a major violation of secularism.

Since that ban, Alevism has not been officially recognized; Alevis have been deprived of religious liberty and freedom of expression regarding their faith. Alevism is a distinct religion, philosophy and culture, the existence of which predates Islam. Alevism upholds secularism and humanism.

A common misconception about Alevism is that it is a sect or an interpretation of Islam. A group of Alevi dedes and pirs (faith leaders) carried out a workshop on Alevism in the city of Dersim (Tunceli) in 2015; there, they agreed that Alevism is a faith outside Islam.

Mustafa Genç, an Alevi dede (faith leader), one of the Alevi representatives who attended the workshop, said that Alevism and Sunni Islam "are never on the same line":

"In Sunnism, they pray five times a day and fast for a month. These things do not exist in the Alevi faith. According to our faith, God is in the human and not in the sky. In the Alevi faith, women are sacred and to divorce a woman is the most difficult thing. This is not the case in Sunnism. Sunni Muslims think a man can marry four women."

The prominent Alevi scholar Mehmet Bayrak also emphasizes that Alevism is a distinct religion, separate from Islam.

"As our people [in Turkey] only think of divine religions when religion is discussed, they cannot comprehend that Alevism is a distinct religion. They immediately ask 'Who is the Allah and prophet of Alevism?'. However, there is a category called natural religions and they still exist. And Alevism is one of them."

Bayrak explains that Alevism took certain things from other religions and gave certain things to them and is much closer to Christianity than to Islam.

"For example, one cannot see one tenth of the similarity between Alevism and Christianity in the similarity between Alevism and Islam.... Islam has a history of at least 1400-1500 years and they [Alevis and Muslims] have lived side by side or with one another in this area.

So, Alevism took some motifs from Islam and melted them within itself. For example, there is a massive difference between the culture of Ali in Alevism and the Ali in Islam. Alevism created a new, distinctive cult of Ali."

Bayrak lists some of the differences between Alevism and Islam:

"Islam has five pillars. Alevism do not practice any of them. For example, Alevis fast but it is completely different from the fasting in Islam. Alevis do not do pilgrimage [to Mecca], they do not say shahada [the Islamic declaration of faith].

And Alevis do not do salah [five daily prayers] ... For someone to be a Muslim, they should also accept the requirements of faith (iman).

Muslims say, 'I believe in the God of Islam and its prophet; I believe in the book of Islam; I believe in the afterlife; I believe benevolence and evil come from Allah.' Alevis do not believe any of these things.

They carry out neither the pillars nor the requirements of faith of Islam. So, Alevism is a distinct faith. And it is completely wrong to see Alevism as an entity, version, denomination or sect of Islam."

According to Bayrak, one of the reasons why some Alevis say they are Muslim is their misconceptions about their own religion. "Due to the centuries-long propaganda they have been exposed to, some of them think that they are true Muslims," says Bayrak, and adds that a more alarming reason for their denial is fear of persecution.

"As Alevis are still under political, social, and cultural pressures, they are still scared of saying that Alevism is outside of Islam. It is impossible for them to express themselves freely."

Western efforts to persuade Turkey to stop persecuting Kurds and religious minorities have failed. The Erdogan Islamists now make this government policy.

Where is President Trump on this? Why are Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. not treated as hostile players in the phony war on terror and not listed on a travel ban? We need a war on Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood - Islamic fundamentalism in general.

Any Muslim immigrating to the West needs to be given an ideological test - fundamentalism is ideology.