Diary of a Travelling Imam - Istanbul Conquest Part Two
Issue 96 September
“I found the inscriptions in the mosque to be a distraction. I am trying to focus on my prayers, and would prefer simple and plain walls.”
I was getting rather tired of Istanbul’s gridlock roads and busy metro. I wanted to see more of this vast city, but couldn’t work out where I would find history and excitement that was not too far away from Istanbul. My host suggested I tried Bursa, which was easily reached in a few hours by ferry. I jumped at the opportunity and left very early in the morning to arrive at the ferry station.
I found space for myself in the upper deck of the ferry, unbeknown to me that it was actually designated for first-class ticket holders only. Sat next to me was a young and smart looking Turkish gentleman who was looking very official. We stated speaking and I soon discovered he was a very successful businessman. He enjoyed the economic growth provided by the current government but was not a fan of their Islamic links, preferring the secular parties. He told me that the current government was too autocratic and only interested in introducing Shari’ah through the backdoor. I argued that the current governing party has robust moral and ethical principles that placed it head and shoulders above the rest of the political parties that have destroyed the country. He nodded in agreement but would still prefer a secular party to be in power. I wondered what is it within the Turkish communities that make them so scared of political parties with Islamic inclinations!