ENGİN CİVAN

ENGİN CİVAN

International Finance Advisor

Marijuana For the Sheikh

04 Eylül 2020 - 12:50

Marijuana is illegal in America. The reason is the high addiction rate and visible street trade, especially amongst the black community, causing a overrepresentation of black persons in the general prison population.

The American state cracked down on marijuana users with an iron fist.

The state struggled mightily with the issue for years. But it’s struggle proved unsuccessful even in the face of its’ vast material and moral resources.

In the end academics with years of expertise in the area who said “Don’t outlaw marijuana” were proven correct as 11 states have now legalized recreational marijuana use.

Long term research has demonstrated the favorable economic benefits of moving the marijuana trade from an underground to an above board activity.

The economic benefit to the Federal Government (yes yearly!) is 130 billion dollars; estimated to represent a boost of between 5 to 35 billion for individual states.

In short, a sector that previously produced no tax revenue has now begun to bring in tax receipts.

You know how it’s said on the street that “bad money drives out the good”. It’s the same situation with the marijuana example which turned out to be a textbook case.

The laws stating that a “A non-tax paying sector will grow at the expense of a tax producing sector” have been overturned.

At the same time, legality has caused American youth to lose interest in marijuana as it no longer carries its’ former cache of secrecy and excitement.

WHAT RELIGIOUS SECTS (TARIKATS)! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “SECT” OR “TARIKAT” IN TURKEY?

Yes, well No!

Because it’s illegal to found, launch, or become a member of a tarikat!

However, organizations not recognized as “tarikats” are able to carry on activities in plain sight when barriers are not placed by the state.

As with the “Gulen Community/FETO” affair, a defense of outright denial as in “there is no such group” is always available should the question come to a head.

I’d like to take a closer look as a follow on to my prior year analysis “Was Ataturk The Father Of Moderate Islam?”.

The Republic’s founders, in response to the underdeveloped situation confronting them, acted according to their perception of Islam as it then stood.

It’s for this reason that they outlawed sects on the same day that they ended the Caliphate and created the Department of Religious Affairs.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, being closely acquainted and influenced by French culture, made secularism a fundamental tenant of the Republic

So what’s the result! Did tarikats come to an end?

Of course No! They went underground.

Once İnönü brought back the multi-party system they reappeared; despite their illegality they continue to flourish.

A CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ISSUE

Not a day goes by without a scandal involving a tarikat sheikh triggering commentaries regarding the unconstitutional nature of such groups or the degrees to which such behaviors stray from contemporary norms etc.

You’d think that these people are obsessed with sexuality.

However a logical analysis of the scandals need not be obscured by rhetorical smoke screens.

If we take the American experience as an example, the important thing is to legalize the tarikats rather than outlaw them.

A this moment no State organ asks or conducts the smallest research concerning the tarikats.

There is no data on their revenues, expenditures, membership totals, or activites.

It’s not possible to ask such questions of an illegal entity causing the State to suffer a large tax revenue loss to boot.

There is also a constitutional perspective that needs consideration.

Freedom of belief is a fundamental human and democratic right.

Mysticism can capture peoples’ hearts!

In conclusion, ‘Tarikat’ is word with Arabic roots meaning “Road” which is used for groups claiming to provide a spiritual path of enlightenment or salvation.

With mysticisms most basic teaching being “Ending Harmful Habits”, an acolyte who is unable to control their habits will leave the tutelage of the sheikh.

And with individuals unable to act openly, illegality brings the secrecy of the closed curtain. So “bad money” can no longer replace “good money”.

Sects or tarikats ought to be legally regulated in a manner comparable to other civil society groups, foundations, and associations.

Lastly I’d like to make one additional point.

A new social consensus regarding the tarikats may be derived through the Religious Affairs Department (inherited from Ataturk) which has itself come under increased scrutiny and criticism lately.

And more importantly a new consensus surrounding the ever illusive societal interpretation of secularism needs agreement.

In short a legal above board Sheikh should be free to smoke his self-rolled joint if he’s paid the tax on it.

Translation: Deniz Mehmed