Opposites: Side by Side
by Sanar Yurdatapan and Abdurrahman Dilipak
Foreword by Aron Aji
Afterword by Jonathan Sugden
Hardcover, 220 pages
9.1 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
$27.50 (Can $32.00)
A powerful testimony of friendship cultivated in civil disagreement based on mature intellectual positions, rather than on bargained-down, diluted personal values. We may quarrel with some of the claims made by either author, but therein lies the book's achievement: Opposites envisages-and invites us to participate in the kind of peace that is possible through listening to and understanding our adversaries. What good is freedom of expression otherwise?
—Aaron Aji, from the foreword
In Opposites: Side by Side, Turkish authors Sanar Yurdatapan and Abdurrahman Dilipak-one an atheist and the other a devout Islamic theologian-present their opposing views side by side in the spirit of freedom of expression. Rather than allowing themselves to be isolated by their fundamental disagreement, they've achieved a genuine respect for each other's differing views: "We wanted to show that we could live together with our differences, holding onto them."
The book is composed of two halves, each divided into short essays, in which both men separately tackle such contentious issues as faith, fundamentalism, gender roles, human rights, jihad, and human origin. The theologian Dilipak's half serves as an antidote to the unfortunate misperceptions that have recently come to define Islam in the West, earnestly and knowledgeably advocating the centrality of reason, individual confession, education, and democracy in true Islam. Yurdatapan's portion is marked by the energy and urgency of a seasoned activist and human-rights worker, and he writes, like Dilipak, with insightful clarity about his positions on such issues as atheism, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and conscience crimes. Each essay ends with a notation that refers the reader to the corresponding essay in the other half of the book. Readers of all faiths and ethnicities will appreciate this sincere attempt at mutual understanding.
A musician, composer, publisher, and author, Sanar Yurdatapan has been a tireless fighter for civil liberties in Turkey for more than three decades. After a twelve-year forced exile from Turkey, he returned home in 1992.
Abdurrahman Dilipak is a scholar, author, publisher, and journalist who has long promoted human rights and free speech in Turkey. He has worked in capacities ranging from creator and presenter of commentary programs on Turkish television, to Director of the Reconciliation Rights Agency, to press advisor for various organizations.
Both of the authors have been recognized by Human Rights Watch for their work