Interview with Merve Kavakci

Merve Kavakci is proud to say that America is the best place on earth for Muslims. As a student in Turkey she was not allowed to go to medical school because of her hijab. As an elected official she was harassed and thrown out of parliament on her first day for it. In a Muslim nation, Dr. Kavakci was unable to practice her freedom of religion.

She came with her family to the United States and a crucial part of her personal worship as a Muslim, and at the same time to become educated and successful. As she and her mother, a German literature professor, were forced out of their professions due to the headscarf, her father decided to accept an offer to be the imam of a mosque in my hometown of Dallas where she could wear the hijab. The family moved and they loved it. She even describes herself as “half Turkish and half Texan.”

She had her two girls in Dallas, raised them in small towns such as Wylie, Texas, coincidentally the same small town where my family lived when I was very young. She says that the people there were respectful, welcoming, and understanding, even in the girls’ school where they were the only Muslims. She went back to Turkey to introduce her daughters to her culture and history, which is when she got involved in politics and it ended so ignominiously.
Dr. Kavakci has since gone on to teach at George Washington University and advise the State Department on issues dealing with terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs, especially Turkey. She has made a huge impact not only in her home countries’ politics, but around the world as a symbol of a woman’s right to defend her self respect and her ideals.

Hailey Woldt


9 responses to “Interview with Merve Kavakci

  1. For some reasons, rulers and government in muslim countries do not really practice the true teaching of Islam although they are muslims. They normally put their personal interest above all. The question is why the US can be heaven to many muslims while at the same time, muslim world is condemning some aspects of the US government policy towards them?
    I was a student at Denver for my undergraduate study and and my stay there for 2 years was such a memorable one.

    Saiful Azmi
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  2. Mrs. Kavakci was right, if we look at Turkey as a “hard line-secular” country, and maybe at some points US is a better place for living as a muslim, but it does not mean, US is the best place.

  3. She is an a la carte Muslim. Were she to live in Saudi Arabia, she would have to wear a tent whenever there is someone around her who is not her muhrim, and also she would not be able to go out to work, let alone to do her grocery shopping by herself, since she’d have to be accompanied by a male who is her muhrim.

    Yes, this great US of A is a great place to live in this world for a Muslim, especially a Muslim like her, she’s free to go out by herself, to work, etc. etc.

    Not so for a non Muslim who lives in a Muslim majority country.

    I wish muslims in the west would teach and educate their families and friends back home about human rights, and that everybody has equal rights, etc. instead of complaining about how muslims have been misjudged, especially after sept. 11.

    Weren’t the perpetrators of sept. 11 all Muslims who professed to do it because of Islam?

    Expunge the killing verses and women are deficient verses from the Koran, maybe then we will see much less Islamic terrorism and allahu akbar killings all over the world.

    • M.Fatih Sanli

      Those posts by Jasmine are actually showing us the causes of violent cases in all around the world.
      What i see from the posts are:

      –People are rest assured of their knowledge on some very important topics that they are not dominant.

      –Prejudiced opinions which are coming from insufficient information.

      –Practicing less empathy than the expecting it for oneself.

      Instead of explaining what I want to say I prefer to ask questions.

      1. Which Muslim country (supposedly) is ruled by real Muslims not someone who believes “THEIR” interpretation of Secular system?
      2. However they seem to have democratic governments, which Muslim country (supposedly) is not under control of the Military System?
      3. The Military System of which Muslim country (supposedly) is not strongly tied to USA and EU?
      4. Have you ever heard/read that USA&EU commented on the democratic rights of Muslims in of those Muslim countries (supposedly)?
      5. Have you ever thought may be there is no deficient verses in Koran but there must be deficiency in understanding of someone who is doing bad things-as any human being have potential to do good and bad at the same time- otherwise wars and violence would not stop since the beginning of the ISLAM and nowadays civilization would still be under the dark ages ruling?
      6. Have you ever thought that there are ~1 billion Muslim in entire world and if all of them were thinking the same way as those sept.11 terrorists did (I did not know still exist someone who believes they were Muslim and they did it for ISLAM-just Google the lies of September 11 and see the documentary Zeitgeist-), there would be a peace on this earth?

      There are many things to say but for now, just let’s make bit empathy and think about the answers of those questions.

      I am Muslim; I have never had any discriminative or prejudicial discussion with any of my Jewish, agnostic, Catholic, protestant, atheist, Buddhist, Spiritualist and many other tribal religion believer friends. I don’t have any problem with their beliefs and practices since it’s not offending the belief of the others.
      Since I am happy with my beliefs and they are happy with theirs and we respect each others with all aspects, the peace is with us and I hope it to be with the entire world.

      Is that saying has any deficiency ?

      “if you kill one person unjustly as if you killed the whole humanity, and if you saved once person as if you saved the whole humanity” (Google it pls)

    • I think we have to be careful. I disagree with allowing Muslim students to pray in school. Are Christians, and Jews allowed to pray in school? Is there a place for any of these groups to pray in school. There shouldn’t be. What happened to separation of church and state.

      Students can’t pray before a football game, or have a prayer at graduation. Why can Muslims pray in school.

      This seems to be a clear contradiction. You can’t have it one way for some and not allow others.

  4. Oh, I forgot one more thing. Expunge the Mohammad is insan al kamil, an example to follow by muslims.

    No wonder there are so many proud allahu akbar beheadings!

  5. My post didn’t make it apparently through your censorship. I guess you don’t like to hear the truth about Islam or, if you didn’t agree with what I said, we could have a discussion.

    But there’s nothing you can do to prove me wrong about the violent passages in the koran, or about Muhammad an exemplary human being that you should be following as a good Muslim.

  6. Oops, I apologize for my last posting.

    My previous posts only showed up after I submitted my last post.

    My sincere apologies for accusing you for not posting my message.

  7. This is the problem, when people starting to judge themselves superior than others. We came from different backrounds, cultures and without understanding each other, there would be no hopes for our civilization. There’s always difference between muslims cultures and western cultures, one nation with other nation, one ideology with other ideology, one relogion with other religion, this is not the end. By having dialogues and putting aside our differences, it should be a good start for living side by side. Before we talk about why some muslims hate US Goverments, I think we should start to dig more about the fundamental cause which is US foreign policy in muslim’s countries.

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