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Merih 09 Jan 2010



We moved on, changed countries 2 times.  We started with private Qur´an classes in our house, because I wanted my kids to know what they believe or don´t, unlike me.  But everything went funny when my relatives came from Turkey to visit us.


The first visitors were my uncle and aunt.  Both doctors, very well educated.  The moment they landed, they started to look at everything with disgust.  We live in Dubai, and the womens national dress here is Abaya.  They are mostly educated from UK and US, they speak a couple of languages very fluently, they work, they drive, and they are rich.  It is totally the opposite concept of what we think in Turkey.  It took some hours of explanation and a great deal of time for them to digest this and have a look at things from a different perspective.  When they were leaving, my aunt was stuck to the georgeous designs of the Abayas.  But still, my husband stood away from the sensitive topic during their stay.


When my mum came over, it was another scenario.  She made a point of walking around in her western clothes when the imam slash Qur´an teacher was there.  In her first days, she couldn´t stand seeing the girls putting on hijab (a requirement when reading Qur´an).  Then she literally closed her eyes when the girls put on their Abayas, asked them to leave the room.  It is not that they wear Abayas, but little girls love these long dresses.  They wanted to have one, so I bought them.  But no, for my mum, it was intolerable.  She asked me, many times, in confidence if my husband was going to force the kids to put on hijab or not.


This year, my darling husband went to Hajj with his parents.  This was the boiling point.  Some of my relatives asked if everything was going to be the same once he is back.  And, to tell the truth, I didn´t have the courage to tell some of them, as I was scared of the prejudice.  My Turkish friends asked me, if I was going next, and what after that, a hijab?


Why aren´t we allowed to learn, believe or practise religion, be it Islam, or Christianity,etc. if we want to and why suddenly our qualities and humanity downgraded because we think otherwise? 


At these times, I don´t like to be around these kind of people.  I don´t want to be judgemental.  I don´t want to be forced from neither side.  The thing we call democracy gives everyone the freedom to think and speak for themselves.  Not in Turkey! (and of course many other countries nowadays)  Unless you agree with them.  I felt like an outcast when I said what is wrong if somebody wants to wear a burquini in the pool, or so what if the high school kids pray on the roof. 


All throughout our history, we have been proud of ourselves for being tolerant, for allowing others practise their religion... but now we don´t allow our own people to practise their religion anymore.  My kids don´t want to put on a scarf if their grandmother is around although they know that it is a must while reading Qur´an and they don´t even want to study.  And this is exactly what I don´t want them to learn.  Being intolerant.


Once Erdogan said something very very important, which got lost in the lines.  I think it concludes the misunderstanding, and where we are wrong in one sentence:

Devletler laik olur, insanlar degil.

"The countries are secular,not people"





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