Islam And Modernity, History Running Backward From Cairo To BerlinRoundup
There are photographs of Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul, taken in the 1960s, that show elegantly dressed women sitting in street cafés. There are similar photos from the period shot in Ankara, Cairo, Damascus and Karachi.
A half-century later, comparable scenes are nowhere to be found in many of these cities.
Ankara is the last city whose inhabitants have not been overtaken by an obscure Islam that involves civil war, destruction and fully veiled women. The former joy of life in Middle Eastern cities has been replaced by a kind of hostility to life that began with a devaluation of metropolitan bourgeois culture.
In the Orient, this Western-oriented culture developed after 1800. Educational institutions as well as cultural centers were reformed based on Western models. Turkish culture took this furthest, but Cairo too was for a long time a major hub of modernization in the Islamic world.
Today, this world that brought equality for Muslim women, educational opportunities to young people, and bridged the gap between city culture and rural areas is now endangered, even in Turkey. The threat of a collapse of civilization looms, the consequences of which would be just as significant as the collapse that took place in Germany in 1933, and finally ended up overshadowing nearly all of Europe...
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