Freedom of expression, which means that an individual can express his/her opinions and/or criticisms freely, is one of the basic human rights that form the basis of freedom of belief and thought, and declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. Individuals, institutions, governments, politicians and everything can be criticized within the scope of freedom of expression; including religions. As the Association of Atheism, Turkey, we are aware that the intended enlightment achieved by the questioning, research and learning process of an individual, can only be achieved in societies where freedom of speech exists. In this context, we would like to state that we are following wofully the dire attack which took place in France and all the other Islamic terrorist attacks which has happened since.
It is known that a teacher in France was brutally murdered by a Muslim, after showing his students a cartoon of the Muhammad, Prophet of Islam. It is thought-provoking that this inhuman event took place at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized freedom of thought and expression, called for secularism to the Islamic elements in his country and said “Islam should be reformed”. The above mentioned incident once again demonstrates that Islamist elements are not trying to integrate with the modern world. We, who have always been proponents of secularism and freedom of thought, condemn this event which has had a great impact in France and all over the world, within the scope of freedom of expression and the right to life, just like we condemned the “Ciao Bella“ song being played from a mosque in Izmir.
Islamic violence elements that declared war against freedom of expression with the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in 2015, also put people of Muslim origin living in Europe under suspicion. As Islam becomes politicized and radicalized, the pressure on Muslim associations, organizations and individuals naturally increases. How these events resonated in Europe can be seen from the statements of the French President Emmanuel Macron and the reactions of the French people who protested the attack.
We are also concerned about how all these events are reflecting to Turkey. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, who regards every segment that does not obey Sunni Islam as an enemy, did not make any condemnation against the the terrorist in this fatal incident, in which a person was brutally murdered for religious reasons; but instead insulted those who drew cartoons within the framework of freedom of expression. While western countries like Britain, Canada, Ireland and Greece are removing the blasphemy laws and including blasphemy into the scope of freedom of speech, sadly we are witnessing that the Republic of Turkey, which is supposed to be a secular country, is being driven by dark hands in the opposite direction of the civilized and prosperous countries.
As long as the Turkish officials do not quit their Islamic policies at the expense of destroying secularism, this snake will return to bite Turkey back. Thus, we hope for the officials to abandon this attitude as soon as possible. We condemn the dark mentality that does not condemn Islamic terrorism and murderers, but those who practise freedom of expression!