The Struggle Between Secularism and Religious Freedom
On Wednesday, February 6, 2008, Turkey’s Parliament voted on whether or not to ease the ban on women wearing headscarves on university campuses. The ban was implemented by the Turkish military in 1980 due to fears of the over-involvement of Islam within Turkish government and politics. But in Turkey, where the population is predominantly Muslim, about two-thirds of women wear headscarves and have out of strong religious belief, refused to attend university because of the ban.
The ban itself has caused controversy, but the recent vote on easing the ban has as well. “This step will encourage radical Islamic circles in Turkey, accelerate movement towards a state founded on religion, lead to further demands against the spirit of the republic,” said Hakki Suha Okay, member of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP). CHP also plans to potentially challenge any amendments made on the ban at the constitutional court.
Those who have seen the dangers of religion in politics fear that easing the headscarf ban will pressure more women to wear them and de-modernize an advancing Turkey. But the many Muslim women of Turkey, who wish to devoutly follow their religion and receive a college education, must unfairly sacrifice one of those things.
As America has long ago wisely created a separation between church and state, Turkey is also trying to do the same thing by banning headscarves in universities. But, how far can secularism go? Should people not be allowed to practice their religion as well as attend university if they wish? It is not as simple of an answer as it is in the U.S., where there is a separation between religion and politics (to some degree), yet a free practice of religion. The major difference is that Turkey is largely Muslim, and so easing the ban may have a different effect. Perhaps what Turkey should consider most in making its decisions is how easing the ban or simply letting it be, might influence the nation’s potential membership in the European Union.
Petroleum Possibly Not a “Fossil Fuel”
Traditional petro-geologists posit that the oil that powers our cars and lubricates our economy is a "fossil fuel", derived from decayed organic matter such as plankton, trilobites, debris from ancient forests, and perhaps even dinosaurs. However, according to a study published on February 2nd in Science Magazine by Giora Proskurowski of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle, petroleum oil could be the product of abiotic chemical processes that take place in the Earth's mantle.
In 2003 and again in 2005, Proskurowski and his team descended in a scientifically-outfitted submarine to collect liquid bubbling up from sea vents on the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Proskurowski found hydrocarbons containing carbon-13 isotopes that appeared to be formed from the mantle of the Earth, rather than from biological material settled on the ocean floor. Carbon 13 is the carbon isotope scientists associate with abiotic origin, compared to Carbon 12 that scientists typically associate with biological origin. "Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water and moderate amounts of heat," Proskurowski wrote. Although this discovery backs a theory favored by a distinct minority in the scientific community, it has immense socioeconomic implications that will doubtlessly be discussed for years to come.
Source: Information Liberation
The Euro's Covert Op: Taking over the States
The US economy totters on a precarious edge and the dollar finds itself trailing behind the new coin in town, the euro. The creation of the EU and the introduction of its currency brought a threat to the dollar, even at its inception. Now the threat proves to be a fairly formidable one, so much that in some New York City stores the euro flies in as much as its older, but much less cultured, monetary brother. Business owners who have begun accepting this new form of payment allege that the change came about because of the recent proliferation of European patrons. New York traditionally attracts European tourists, particularly in the fashionable areas of the city. The rise can be attributed to the lowered value of the American dollar, allowing the Europeans to buy more for less.
The businesses also accept other foreign currencies, the British pound and Canadian dollar included—both of which carry more weight than the American dollar. Do you think this new trend foreshadows a new global economy? Do these business owners know something we don't? Let us know what you think by posting a comment.