13 March 2006
BBC on Islamic Calvinists

The public debate in Turkey on our report "Islamic Calvinists - Change and Conservatism in Central Anatolia" continued through February and March, raising some strong opinions both for and against the report.

Today, a BBC report on Kayseri notes about Kayseri:
"the new entrepreneurialism sweeping across the province is providing an unlikely catalyst for a remarkable religious transformation. A new form of Turkish Islam is emerging here, one which is pro-business and pro-free market, and it's being called Islamic Calvinism. …

Critics say it's a Western conspiracy to Christianise Islam, but others have passionately argued in its favour, holding it up as a model for how Islam and modernity can co-exist. One of its most prominent defenders has been Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Gül, himself a native of Kayseri and the son of an entrepreneur. He sees no contradiction in the term and argues that Turkey can provide a lasting template for a new kind of modern Islam. "The most important thing to ask," he says, is what kind of modernism do we want? Are you living in this world, or are you dreaming? The people of Kayseri are no dreaming - they are realistic, and that's the kind of Islam we need."

The full story, entitled "The Return of Faith", was on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves in a week long series.