Islam Critic Necla Kelek: An Enthusiastic Defender of Freedom

The subject of this article is Necla Kelek, a controversial Turkish-German writer who grew up “in a completely Turkish world” under patriarchal authority, where she “experienced what it was not to be free.” Kelek is known for her criticism of the oppressive aspects of Islam as well as her praise of Western society and its freedom, democratic institutions, and enlightenment. Her critics say that Kelek, in her condemnation of Turkish communities, ignores how there are certainly Turks in Germany who also support the ideas of democracy and freedom. The author of the article defends Kelek against her critics, who have labeled her a “hate monger,” and argues that her writings contribute to the debate. In fact, the author finds Kelek’s love for German society refreshing when many Germans seem to find this enthusiasm for freedom disconcerting. Instead, many are quick to talk about the downsides of freedom like “obsessive consumption or pornography.”

Though her positive views on German and Western society go hand in hand with her negative views on Turkish communities, from the viewpoint of someone who is unfamiliar with Kelek’s work, it’s surprising that she’s been so vilified by her critics when it seems so much of her beliefs consist of a great love for Germany. Though there is the argument that Germany itself is not free of problems, which is noted at the beginning of the article, it’s encouraging to see someone embrace the many positives found in her current home. When so much of what we hear in the media describes the negative experiences of immigrants in Germany, Kelek’s story is about finding the joy in freedoms she previously did not possess.

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