(can't crop image on the road! but love the birds in this one)
Being amid a very conspicuously religious culture - call to prayer over loud speaker, men finding a solitary moment to run through their prayer beads in very public places (subway cars, spice markets, busy intersections), women staying true to their head-scarves while sporting channel shoes - all these prominent committments to religion have begged the question why religion? An overly ambitious question, and not one that I would attempt to answer, but I've always dismissed religion as a crutch people rely on when they can't find proper answers / comfort in the present reality...ie., religion and the notion of an after-life as a security blanket for those unhappy with the limitations of existence. But, while I remain an 'atheist' (a very commonly used term here, btw) and obviously disagree with the bountiful political conflicts that have resulted from extreme religious views, I very much appreciate the pause for prayer that permeates Istanbul or more accurately, the daily routine of individual relfection...as long as that prayer remains a choice and those who choose not to aren't chastised!