HONORARY PRESIDENT of The Niagara Foundation
‘A Real Muslim cannot be a Terrorist’
It appears that al-Qaeda network has a cell in Turkey. You explained about the religious side of the matter. Does it have different meanings as well?
One of the people in the world I hate the most is [Osama] Bin Laden, because he spoiled the bright appearance of Islam. He created a dirty image. Even if we try to fix that terrible damage with all our best, it would take years.
We will tell about it everywhere in different platforms. We will write books about it. We will say, ‘this is not Islam.’ Bin Laden replaced Islamic logic with his feelings and desires. He is a monster, as are the men around him. If there is any one similar to them, they too are nothing more than monsters.
We condemn this observation. However, prevention of this in a world appears to be Islamic -and I stated earlier that I do not accept an Islamic world. There are only countries in which Muslims live- of Muslims solving their problems.
It becomes of question of will they think differently when they elect their leaders or will they do reforms. For the growth of well-groomed generations, Muslims should solve their problems. Not only in the terror issue, which is certainly not approved by God, but also drugs and cigarettes, which are another of God’s prohibitions. Dissension should also be added to the list.
Hassles and not overcoming poverty are also frowned upon. To be lead by others in contempt, to put up with this leader, to always be insulted are others.
As [Mehmet] Akif [Ersoy] said: slavery, various troubles, addiction, accepting things out of habit and derision are commonplace. All of these are God’s anathemas placed primarily on our nation. Overcoming of them, in my opinion, depends on being a just man and that is to be a man of Allah.
These pro-terror people grew up before our eyes in Muslim families. We thought they were Muslims. What kind of a process have they undergone such that they turned out to be terrorists? Aren’t we all guilty?
Our guilt is the guilt of a nation. It is the guilt of education. A real Muslim, who understood Islam in every aspect, cannot be a terrorist. It is hard for a man to stay as a Muslim if he becomes involved in terror. Religion does not approve of killing a man to reach a goal.
But of course, what kind of efforts did we make for them to be raised perfect? With what kind of elements did we tie them up? With what kind of responsibility have we raised them that we now wait for them not to engage in terror.
We have not set forth the required sensitivity if being bound to Islamic values, fearing God, having a promise of an afterlife or just the fact that they would be opposing rules of the religion are not enough to stop one from engaging in terror. Even now, there are some methods to deal with this subject. We are trying to stop them [from devoting their life to terror].
We say it should not be. That is, it should not be a lesson of culture and morality. [The inclination towards a life of terror] should be wiped out in the institutions of education. We say that every requirement of life should be given to one at school. Information on health should also be given. Physicians should teach that class, I say. Classes related to life and home life are better taught there.
Relations between spouses should be taught well. How to raise a child should be taught very well. The issue is not just that. Turkey and the Islamic world suffer from narcotics. The Islamic world suffers from gambling and embezzlement. Almost every one is a thief in Turkey. Some places that were supposed to be reached were reached. However, there are places that cannot be reached. You cannot question them. You cannot call them to account. Thus, those are covered, sealed and left alone.
All these are the ones who grew up among us. All of them are our children. How come some were raised as tough guys? How come some were raised as boors? How come some rebelled against human values? How come they came to their own nation and blew themselves up as a bomb?
All these people were raised among us. That is, there was something wrong with their education. That is, the system has some deficiencies, some points to be questioned. These need to be removed. This means raising a human was not the first priority. Meanwhile, some generations were lost, destroyed, wasted.
The unsatisfied youth became the ones with no spirituality. Some gave them a couple of liras or made them robots. They drugged them. Nowadays, this has been talked about. It is in the magazines. They were disabled to use their minds. They were used as murderers with the excuses of ideals or goals and made them to kill man. They wanted to achieve certain goals by using them.
A friend of ours had gone to Israel. He stayed in Palestine for a while. He told me a very interesting thing. He is a very bright one doing his Doctorate there. “I stayed in Israel five or six months. They made an offer to me to be involved in the executive committee,” he said.
Who made the offer?
“I was offered by Israelis,” he said. “A Palestinian prevented me. I realized that the Palestinian was a weapons merchant. He has some business in it. He wishes the business to go on. Perhaps, some other very close ones think the same.” Therefore, some want to make a living by keeping these kinds of incidents fresh.
These people are turned into robots. It could be said that same thing occurs in Istanbul in my humble opinion. Perpetrators of terrorist attacks are sane, believing people, they are not the ones who are outside the mosque and attempting the work.
Maybe his religious knowledge is weak. He must have a master or a hodja, and maybe he said, ‘such and such could be killed.’ Many were killed in Turkey. That group killed this person, the other killed this person. On March 12, everyone was into a bloody fight. The military came and intervened. On September 12, people were out for each other’s blood. Everyone was killing one another.
By killing the others, some were trying to reach a goal. All were terrorists. Those sides were terrorists; these sides were terrorists. But, they were labeling it. One was saying, “I am doing this in the name of Islam.” The other was saying, “I do it for my land and people.” A third was saying, “I am fighting against capitalism and exploitation.” Those were all some sayings. The Koran names “sayings”. Those were the things of no value. But, people just kept on killing. Everyone was killing in the name of an ideal.
In the name of those ‘ideals’ many were killed. Someone at the top would say, “Remove this,” and it was. That was saying, “remove”, this was saying it as well. Perhaps, there were such directives for you and me; however, fate did not allow it. There was something that I clearly had a hold of that said: “he should be removed as well.”
Those were all terror. Not only Muslims, but all people were doing the same. Since everyone did it one after another, this turned out to be a “doable” thing. It was made a habit out of that. Everyone began to get used to it. Killing a man is an evil action. One of my dearest friends broke the backbone of a snake. He was a theology graduate and now a preacher. I did not talk to him for a month. I said: “That snake had the right to live in the nature. What right did you have to break its backbone?”
Now the situation is such that in some place if 10 persons killed 20 and if the numbers were not as high as expected, we would say, “that is good, not many died.” This violence was becoming accepted by the people. “Good that we are saved by the death of 20-30,” we say. This means, they made the society accept this.
Education can prevent this from happening. Prevention is the rules and regulations of the State. Now, some segments are showing reactions, are willing to intervene with tiny little things. Some circles exaggerate tiny little issues, perhaps they have not intervened because of an armor created so to speak.
They are exaggerating. There is a remedy for this business. The remedy is to teach it directly. It should be explained that Muslims cannot be terrorists. Why should it be explained? If you did something evil, even if it is tiny as an atom, you will pay for that.
Yes, killing a man is very big. The Koran says that killing one is the same as killing all. Ibn Abbas says, a killer of a man will stay in hell for eternity. This judgment is also true for unbelievers.
This means, that man is subjected to the same thing as an unbeliever is. That is, the killer of a man is equivalent to an atheist and one who does not accept Allah and The Prophet. Now, if this is the fundamental of the religion, then it should be taught through education. They do not do it.
After September 11, we saw that Muslims tend to complicate theories a little more. Does it always have to be the “others” who are guilty? Does it always have to be that they want us to be the bag man? Why there is no culture of self-criticism in Islam?
Now, it is necessary to correct the statement of, “Islam does not have a culture of self-criticism.” There is self-criticism in Islam. Everything is questioned by Muslims, except for holy messages.
I do not think such self-criticism exists in others. For example, The Caliph Omer represents Islam. While he delivers a sermon at the minbar (pulpit), a woman objects to him saying, “You said this wrong. This is how it should have been said.”
An army commander says that he had been treated with this and that. An unknown GI leans on his sword and says, “Sir, this thing you do is rebellious. If you are not right, we will do this to you.”
Scholars and theologists have discussed and debated Islamic issues so many times that these fill countless volumes. Every one had criticized the other in Islam. These criticizms had been met within a sensable tolerance. For example, Ghazali had written a tahafut (a critic on incoherences of philosophist). Then, someone else had replied to that. Had there been a state of Islam at the time, these people would have been punished. However, they had said nothing. That man lived. There are many different thoughts.
Prayer for Peace
In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other).” (Hujurat 49:13)
O God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad!
Bring peace and tranquility to the people in this country and all over the world who have been plagued with pain and suffering;
O God! We appeal to you to help our nation to be one that is given to truth and justice.
O God! We call you with your beautiful names: the One, the Holy, the Sovereign, the Just, and the Peace. We call with love and sincerity to bring peace to our world and guide our steps to do what is right and what pleases You.
O God! You are the Source of Good, the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Supreme: All Glory belongs to you!
Help us to see our glory in serving you and upholding the values of compassion and justice on earth.
O God we beg you to forgive our sins and ask you not to hold us accountable for mistakes and missteps we did or were done in our names.
Our Lord give us the humility to recognize our mistakes and limitations, and the strength and courage to choose right over wrong and justice over pride.
O the Eternal and Compassionate Lord!
Fill our hearts with your Love, and help us to love one another, and show compassion to your servants throughout the world and your creation.
O God! We ask you in submission and humility to allow wisdom to triumph over vanity, truth over falsehood, and love over hate.
Here, we gather to commemorate the tragedy that happened ten years ago. We pray for the souls of innocent people who lost their lives in this tragedy.
We pray for those who have fallen victim to hatred and inhumanity,
for those loved ones left behind to mourn,
for the souls of those whose hearts are cold, Lord, hear our prayer.
for the children who are being born into this world of conflict and violence,
for women and mothers who suffer needlessly, Lord, hear our prayer.
The people behind this tragedy are so called Muslims. We know that Muslims cannot be terrorists, and terrorists cannot be Muslims. You have decreed in the Qur’an that:
“On that account, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a human being for other than punishment for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.”(Maidah 5:32)
You have also decreed:
“Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense (in the Hereafter) is Hell, therein to abide; and God has utterly condemned him, excluded him from His mercy, and prepared for him a tremendous punishment.” (Nisa 4:93)
You have also forbid us to commit suicide. In the Qur’an, You decreed:
“And do not kill yourselves (or one another)” (Nisa 4:93)
We, as Muslims, condemn these violent acts. This tragedy took so many lives, including innocent Muslims. We denounce any violence against innocent people which are committed as crimes against humanity in the name of Islam.
We condemn what has happened in New York, what has happened in Norway and what has happened in India. We condemn all violence taking place in the name of religion. These violent people do not either know You, or understand Your message of peace and serenity.
Oh God! We pray for the souls of those innocent victims. We pray that all atrocities may come to an end so that peace and love may reign.
Oh God! Let this be an opportunity to educate ourselves, to know each other better, to unite for the common good of the humanity. We pray that our biases and prejudices be erased through knowing each other and living what our respective religion is teaching us.
Almighty and Everloving God,
yours are all things in heaven and earth;
Mercifully hear the urgent supplications of your people,
stay the hand of the violent,
and grant us peace.