Turkish jihadi shoots judge in head over headscarf ruling

And wounds four others. In open court.

I wonder what might have led him to do such a thing.

Four of the justices, including Judge Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin, who died of gunshot wounds to the head, had voted in February against the promotion of an elementary school teacher who wore an Islamic-style head scarf outside of work.

The judges’ photos were published by the pro-Islamic Vakit newspaper.

The attacker, who was detained and was being interrogated by anti-terrorism police, shouted “I am the soldier of God!” before opening fire. He said the attack was to punish the judges for their decision, said Tansel Colasan, deputy head of the administrative court, the Council of State.

He’s being investigated for ties to Hezbollah (the Turkish version, not the Lebanese one), but he insists his jihad was of the freelance variety. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Two things make this story significant. First, it demonstrates how potentially important the judiciary is to reforming Muslim countries. Egypt has two judges on trial right now for daring to challenge the results of last year’s elections. Reformists have been out protesting, and getting beaten up, on their behalf for weeks. (Here’s the latest.) Second, the shooting could tip political momentum in Turkey back towards secularism. The fundamentalists have been gaining ground for awhile now, as exemplified by the election of Erdogan as prime minister. Turkey’s secularist president and Erdogan’s political enemies wasted no time pointing fingers at him today. I’ll keep an eye on the story over the next week to see if there’s any fallout.

Update: Here’s the front line.

Update: Or is this the front line?