The culture of co-existence is a core value of Islam. In many past societies that were ruled by Islamic laws, we see many examples of this co-existence that left their mark on history: TheOttoman Empire is surely one of these. However the winds of Islamophobia instigated by the Western world and the enmity against the West experienced by the Islamic countries aim to drive these two great civilizations apart to the point of setting them against one another. Meanwhile the worldwide disaster that will arise from such hostility – which is being advocated by some circles – is not given due consideration.
This being the case, how can the culture of co-existence be fortified?
The best way to hinder the conflict between the West and the Islamic Civilization is to deepen the common concepts such as love, compassion, mercy, cooperation, tolerance and justice, and to bolster solidarity and all sorts of cooperation between these civilizations, for in point of fact, there really are no deep differences, cultural gaps or conflicting cultural values between Islamic civilization and the Western world as is so often asserted. On the very contrary, there are many common values shared by the Judeo-Christian cultures that lay the basis of Islamic civilization and the Western civilizations. The members of the three divine religions believe in the existence of Allah, in the resurrection after death, in paradise, hell and the angels. They believe that Allah created the universe from nothing and that He created everything in line with an explicit destiny. These common values are not limited to issues related with faith alone: The moral values of the People of the Book – that is to say the Christians and Jews as they are referred to in the Qur’an – and Muslims are in great harmony. In our day, when moral degeneration has rapidly gathered speed, the People of the Book and Muslims aim for a model of a human being who is just, chaste, self-sacrificing, honest, compassionate, merciful, humble, truthful, loving, forgiving and gracious. They believe that every individual in this world should avoid pretension and hypocrisy, should respond to evil with goodness and to display all these virtues.
This being the case, what must be accomplished is to resolve the problems of the world by giving emphasis to these common values – which exceed the differences – and work towards cooperation based on love, compassion and mercy. It does no good to insist on settling the accounts of the past and to dwell on previous conflicts in order to come with new desires for revanchism. This is the time to close the pages of the history books and to unite our forces for a better future.
Building Bridges - Istanbul, Turkey