The Search for Shared Idioms: Contesting Views of Laiklik Before the Turkish Constitutional Court
Muslim Communities and the Crisis of Secularism, p. 225, Gabriele Marranci, ed., Springer, 2010
17 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013
Date Written: 2010
This paper is a critique of how the Turkish Constitutional Court has formulated and sustained a rather oppressive and exclusionary meaning of laiklik, or Turkish secularism. The Court's decisions have helped create the mechanism through which all those who would like to see a shift in laiklik's definition and boundaries have been rendered the unacceptable and integrity-threatening others of Turkish society. This paper explores how the subjects of the law, as well as the interpreters and the sustainers of the law perceive laiklik and how these perceptions inform the cases before the Court. After a brief discussion of the history of laiklik, and how the Turkish Constitution defines it, the paper focuses on the language used to define, defend and attempt to deconstruct and redefine laiklik in the cases that have been before the Court. The cases discussed range from challenges to bans on wearing the Islamic headscarf to the Court's closure of leftist parties to a Bahai man's quest not to be classified as Muslim.
Keywords: secularism, comparative law, law and religion, Turkey
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