Now that the Turkish government seems to have come to terms with the idea of a woman wearing a scarf on her head, they can move on the bigger and more ambitious projects:
The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.
An adviser to the project, Felix Koerner, says some of the sayings – also known individually as “hadiths” – can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society.
“Unfortunately you can even justify through alleged hadiths, the Muslim – or pseudo-Muslim – practice of female genital mutilation,” he says.
“You can find messages which say ‘that is what the Prophet ordered us to do’. But you can show historically how they came into being, as influences from other cultures, that were then projected onto Islamic tradition.”
And for those of you who may be wondering, the project’s Felix Koerner is actually a Jesuit priest.