ISTANBUL – This country is nothing like I ever imagined it would be.
When I first received an invitation to join moderate Muslims for Ramadan Iftar dinners in Turkey, I did not consider it to be a viable option. After all, isn’t Turkey a fundamentalist Islamic country? Isn’t it unsafe for an Israeli and/or a Jew to be in a country filled with burka-clad women and men in Islamic garb? But I agreed to participate only when promised armed guards, and an armored car for transportation And I was stunned by what I saw.
Istanbul and Ankara look no different than any major American city. Shopping malls. Sky scrapers. Stadiums and arenas.
Yes, I saw a large number of mosques, but the overwhelming majority of people dress in modern, nonreligious clothing.
The Muslim garb I did see was generally women in modern dress, with head coverings.
Actually, most of the modern-looking citizens who walk the streets are traditional.