Lecture| Are Islam & Democratic Liberalism Destined to Clash?
He explained the logic behind the “secular paradigm” or, those who call for secular authoritarianism. He also referenced groups calling for Islamic reform and the Muslim Martin Luther. Akyol disagreed with both perspectives, explaining that Martin Luther is not perhaps the right historical Western example. Rather, John Locke, a key important thinker from the British Enlightenment, offers “a reinterpretation of religion based on more individualistic terms.”
Akyol outlined this liberating message and need for interpretation with examples on the medieval origins of laws against apostasy, of corporal punishment, the early Mujiites and their call for judgment by God and not by man. Thus, “looking at early debates of Islam, we can find roots for tolerance.”
It is in the idea of enforcing religious morality on society, even if done in reference to family values or health concerns that a potential clash with liberalism emerges. “AKP is at a critical point. It has to decide whether their mission is to serve all citizens, to focus on government services, the economy, and foreign policy and liberate conservatives from secular oppression, or to bend society to their ideal of the good Muslim and engage in imposition of piety.”