Terrorism Without Borders

7 02 2015

Sami Jamil Jadallah

In preparing this article I struggled to find a defined definition of “terrorism” whether in international law or in transnational law. All international experts including those of the UN all failed to agree on a definition of “terrorism”, most agree that the definition is subjective at best, depending on which side of the “conflict” one is on.

The word “terrorism “ has its origin in Latin “ terrorisme” or great fear. Maximilien Robespierre, a leader in the French Revolution proclaimed in 1794 “terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, sever, inflexible”.

However Title 22, Chapter 38 of the United States Code contains a definition of terrorism in its requirement that the Secretary of State to Congress submit annual country reports on terrorism every year. It reads

“The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents”.

However, please allow me to add my attempt at defining terrorism As “premeditated, politically, religiously, ethnically, and racially motivated acts of violence against civilians and noncombatant targets by states, national governments, and or sub-national groups or clandestine agents to include murder, targeted assassinations, kidnapping, coercion, unlawful imprisonment, destruction of private or public properties and causing utter fear and acts of violence as means of accomplishing private or national goals.

Of course the world focus these days on Muslims and Islam as the source of “international terrorism” prompting the likes of the Robert Murdock, the Israeli/American/British/Australian head of News Corps and Fox News to tweet

“ May be most Moslems peaceful, until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible” Robert Murdock 2:07 am 10 January 2015

Mr. Murdock gave his edict/fatwa the all Muslims are responsible for the jihadits among them. However Mr. Murdock failed to say at the same breath or tweet that all Christians and Jews should also be held responsible for the acts of “terrorism” committed by states like Israel, the US, France, England among others.

Contrary to the American Zionist Jewish Islamophobia promoters and inciters of violence against Moslems and Islam, modern day terrorism in the Middle East did not start with Muslims or Arabs certainly it will not end up or come to end by Muslims or Arabs.

If we are to look at modern day terrorism in the Middle East we have to look at the very beginning, the years leading to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The new European Zionist colonial settlers, in order to achieve the ethnic transfer and cleansing of Palestinians from Mandated Palestine undertook massive and systematic war of terror mainly against Arab populations, certainly against British Mandate soldiers.

Between 1936-1939 the Jewish terrorist group Irgun, Haganah among others, carried more than 60 terrorists attacks mainly against Arab civilians targeting public markets. There are some of the terrorists attacks committed by Mr. Robert Murdock own people.

July 22, 1938 attack on market place in Haifa killing 43. July 25, 1938 Jewish terrorists attacked another market place in Jaffa killing 24. On February 27th, 1939 Jewish terrorists carried out multiple attacks on Arab markets killing 33. June 19, 1939 saw the cold-blooded murder of 20 when Jewish terrorists loaded a donkey full of explosive and detonated the explosives killing 20 and the donkey at market place in Haifa.

On December 12, 1947 Jewish terrorists group killed 20 with a barrel bomb at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, again killing other 20 on January 7, 1947 in bomb at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. On February 18th, 1948 a bomb went off in a crowed market in Ramla killing 123 and injuring 43. Of course no one should ever forget the massacre of 107-120 Arabs killed by the Irgun and Lehi terrorists gangs at Deir Yassin between April 9-11 of 1948 not to forget the bombing of King David Hotel on July22, 1946 killing 91 and injuring 46.

Mr. Murdock should be reminded that Israel never stopped its terrorism and continued till today. I am sure he does not expect me or any one else to blame the Jews for the terrorists acts of Israel, specially after the attacks on Gaza where more than 5,000 killed and 15,000 injured in two wars destroying one third of Gaza.

We should not go too far. According to the logic of Mr. Murdock, WWII showed the massive cruelty of “Christendom” when America and its allies carried out massive raids on German cities. One need to remember the bombing of Dresden 13-15 February 1945 when 722 heavy bombers of the RAF and 527 bombers of the US Army Air force dropped 3,900 tons of high explosive bombs and incendiary devices over the city killing and burning alive between 22,700 to 25,000 Germans. Tens of millions died in WWII the majority were non-combatants.

Of course we need to shift to the East where two nuclear bombs one uranium (Little Boy) and one plutonium (Fat Man) were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 6, and 9th 1945 killing and burning alive 90,000-166,000 in Hiroshima and 39,000-80,000 in Nagasaki immediately and within the next few months.

The Japanese “Shinto” were also heavily engaged in state terrorism killing and murdering tens of millions in Korea, in Manchuria, in China, in the Philippine and in the Pacific Islands.

Vietnam was no different. The US with orders from the Noble Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger ordered the carpet-bombing of Cambodia and Laos in the spring of 1969 killing tens of thousands. Between 1969-1975 an estimated 600,000 Khamer died as a result of the American “Incursion”. Of course Pol Pot (Buddhists) not to be outdone by the Americans killed and murdered over 2 millions in the killing fields of Cambodia bringing Buddhists to the ranks of “terrorists”.

Napalm and Agent Orange, where extensively used by the American Occupational Forces in Vietnam and also by the South Vietnamese army where thousands were burned to death and where tens of thousands (Americans and Vietnamese) died and suffered incurable cancer because of the extensive use of Agent Orange. Of course more than three million Vietnamese died and injured as a result of the US Occupation.

Of course I did not mean to forget America’s war on Latin and Central America where our “agents and partners” in the military killed and murdered over 350,000 during the “civil wars” that took place in the 70’s and 80s.

It seems “Christendom” does not farewell at all. Not in WWII or in WWI. Both Germany and the Allies made extensive use of chemical weapons including tear gas, mustard gas, phosgene and chlorine with Germany “firing 18,000 artillery shells containing liquid xylylbromide” at Russian positions near Rawka River during WWI.

France and Spain, and Italy did not fare well on the “terrorism score board”. Here I am not talking about the tens of millions killed as a result of colonialism and occupations of Latin America and Black Africa.

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I am limiting my talk here only about North Africa where over one million Algerian died as a result of mass execution and massacres and of course full fledged wars on the indigenous population of Algeria by the French colonial army and settlers.

Morocco did not fare any better with Spain dropping chemical weapons on the Rif (North Morocco) to quell insurrections against the Spanish Occupation. Taking beheading to a higher level, France issued it postage stamp of 12 beheaded Moroccans around the City of Mekkness in 1922.

Well, Muslims also scored well on the “terrorism score board”. In Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Syria, in Palestine, in Libya among others where close to a million died in civil wars and sectarian violence.

Here we must give honorable mention to one and only one Mr. Saddam Hussein; America’s boy trained as a thug, died as a criminal at the same hands that brought him to power, the good old USA.

Mr. Saddam no doubt an “Arab nationalist” certainly not an “Islamists” who on the command of the Reagan White House decided to defends the honor of the “Arabs” by waging his war against the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran.

The US, Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Egypt, India, Luxembourg, Spain, China even Singapore all contributed to Saddam’s chemical war fare contributing material and know how.

Between 1983-1988 and during the Iran- Iraq war Saddam dropped 19,500 chemical bombs, 54,000 chemical artillery shells, 27,000 short range chemical rockets killing tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers in place like Faw, Panjwin, Hawizah Marsh, Um ar-Rasas, al-Basrah, Sumar and Mehan among others.

Well, America’s boy and darling felt immune from prosecution, decided to do the same with the Kurds, sending his MIG and Mirage fighters dropping chemical weapons on Kurdish Halabja on March 16, 1988 killing between 3,200- 5,000 and injuring 7,000-10,000.

Of course no one raised a finger or a voice, not Arab nationalists, not Muslim fundamentalists certainly not the Judeo-Christians Neocons.

It seems that “terrorism” is also a corner stone of Arab nationalists “secular” regimes with the Ba’athist Party taking the lead. Not only did it bring Iraq to its knees, but also it brought total destruction to Syria. In the last 3 years, over 300,000 Syrians died as a result of Bashar Liberation Army, using barrel bombs as standard menu of his “war on terror” killing his own people and destroying almost all Syrian cities. Barrel bombs were not the only items on the menu, chemical weapons were used extensively. The Syrian Opposition does not fare well on the “terrorism scale”. It too has its shares of committing acts of terror.

Oh we could not conclude without giving honorable mention to the Palestinians, mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad. These two organizations also engaged in active acts of “terrorism” carrying out extensive suicide bombings of restaurants, shops and buses, of course against Jewish targets.

Between 1992-2002 Palestinian organizations mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad, carried out a total of 107 separate suicide attacks killing over 500 Israelis.

Among the most infamous is the attack on the restaurant in Natanya that killed 30 on March 27, 2002. Also the attack on Rishon LeZion on May 7, 2002 that killed 15. Also the suicide bombing of the Hadera bus on April 13, 1994 that killed 5, and the suicide bombing of the Matzo restaurant on March 31, 2002 that killed 16.

Always leaving the best to the last. Iraq. No where has “terrorism’ made a name for itself than Iraq. Not only during the infamous reign of Saddam but during and after the criminal invasion and Occupation of Iraq by the Judeo-Christian-Zionist Neocons of the United States.

Of course there were NO nuclear materials in Iraq, but baby Bush, promoted by his circle of criminal blood thirsty Neocons decided to finish Iraq. Destroy whatever is left of Iraq after its war with Iran, after its invasion of Kuwait, and after 8 years of killing sanctions. Destruction of Iraq was Bush/Cheney gift to Israel and the emerging “Islamists/Ba’athists” terrorists.

With intent to destroy Iraq, the Bush administration could not chose a more incompetent, more inept, more reckless if not stupid other than Ambassador Paul Bremer to really fuck things up in Iraq. Paul Bremer as head of “provisional authority” in one year May 12, 2003-June 28, 2004 destroyed and ruined Iraq something that Saddam failed to do in 28 years of dictatorship.

With no historical, cultural or anthropological background or knowledge about Iraq, its mosaic of ancient culture and history and ethnic and religious diversity, Paul Bremer decide on ill advice and without even bothering to listen to some few “wise” aids decided to disband the army, the only “ power” that kept Iraq intact after all these years of Saddam iron hand rule. He also decided to disband the Ba’athist” Party criminal as it is, nevertheless it kept the bureaucracy of the state going and functioning.

Of course both Paul Bremer and the subsequent American administrator all failed to understand the complexity of the Iraqi society, the simmering feud between Sunnis and Shiites fueled by Saddam frequent attacks and killings of Shiites who always accused as agents of Iran. Of course no one can exonerate Iran ambition of ruling Iraq through proxy.

To bad for Iraq, too bad for both Sunnis and Shiites, Paul Bremer and subsequent American military and policy administrators did not benefit from any help especially from those Iraqis who came to “liberate” Iraq riding on top of American tanks.

With few exceptions, all were “sectarian” out to destroy Iraq from within, harvesting the seed of division planted by Saddam. The likes of Ahmed Chalabi, Eyad Alawi, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, Ibrahim al-Jaafari all should have taken charge and formed the kind of critical leadership Iraq needed at the time after all these years of devastating wars and dictatorship. Iraq and its people were badly in need of a leadership that can heal the wounds, reconcile years of divisions, political and social abuse, economic disfranchising of certain segment of society mainly Shiite and reuniting the country including Kurdistan. All Iraqi leaders post the American Occupation failed the test of leadership.

Nouri al- Malaki was worst of all. A die-hard “sectarian” he came to power with vengeance and meanness unmatched in modern history. During his 8 years tenure as Prime Minister Iraq was truly a failed country, a country divided along sectarian and ethnic lines. A country witnessing daily suicide bombings that spared no one, rich and poor, women and children, schools, hospitals, markets, restaurants, gas stations.

During his tenure sectarian violence took on a more sinister and danger level, all over Iraq, with both Sunnis and Shiites killing each other with impunity. It was Nouri al-Maliki that should take the blame and should be held responsible for the rise of the Daesh (ISIL) it was his policies and his disfranchisement of Sunnis and his failure to rebuild state institutions that gave Daesh reasons to exist. No one should ever forgive him for all the damage he did.

One could never understand the cruelty of those who killed and murder the Moaz al- Kasasbeh by “immolation”, an ancient practice where 50,000 people were executed as “witches” in Europe in the 15 and 18 centuries.

Here in the US, lynching, the practice of killing and hanging of Blacks was common practice in the South, where according to Tuskegee Institute recorded 3,446 cases of Blacks lunched with 1,297 Whites during the same period of late 18th century to 1960.

America does not do lynching any more; it sends its drones all over the world killing both “terrorists” and civilians alike. Since 2004 over 2,851 persons were killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia among others. Welcome to the world of “Terrorism Without Borders”.

Saudi-Iranian Detente

27 01 2015

By: Sami Jamil Jadallah

Americans — with divided loyalties between America and Israel, and with national priorities taking a back seat to narrow political ideologies — is not in a position to solve the Middle East problems by choice and by design. In fact, America is the driving force in the continued conflicts, especially the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Israeli occupation of Palestine is an internal American domestic issue, rather than an international one, and is driven by Congress and AIPAC.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

It is time for the Arab and Muslim worlds to wake up and face the ugly truth that America is the source, rather than the answer to, most of their ills, divisions, political and sectarian wars, conflicts, fleecing of their national wealth, corruptions and dictatorship. Sadly, America is the source and driving force in the continued Arab-Israeli conflict and instability in the Middle East.

The answers to the conflicts that have afflicted and continue to afflict people and nations in both the Arab and Muslim worlds in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain, do not lie in Washington, but in Riyadh and Tehran. Two regional powers (political and religious) neighbors that need to come to term with their own duties and obligations toward the people in the region and exercise their power and wisdom in the service of peace and stability. It is time for the leadership of these two key nations to sit down and work hand-in-hand solving one conflict after another. If there is a will, there is a way.

The ascension to the throne by King Salman, with his bold steps of appointing the second generation of Al-Saud to key positions in government is a first step that should lead to even bolder steps on the international level. A Saudi-Iranian détente is a good first step toward resolving many of the disputes that are consuming people and destroying wealth and nations in the Middle East. With many of their regional conflicts solved, Saudi and Iranian leadership could give their attentions to solving their own chronic problems of high unemployment and other social issues.

Like they stay, it takes two to tango, so Iranian and Saudi Arabia leadership, King Salman and President Rouhani, for the sake of hundreds of millions whose future is at stake, must exercise the needed leadership.

For the sake of millions in exile and in refugee camps; for the sake the thousands dying every day; for the sake of cities being destroyed beyond recognition; for the sake of the dead, the dying and the hardly living; the leadership of these two key nations, must take the initiative for “rapprochement”, leaving behind sectarian and geopolitical interests and begin to work on a grander scale for the common good.

Such détente will not be easy, given the power and influence of both Saudi and Iranian religious “establishments” — that for the sake of “Umma” must step aside and allow the political leadership to commit themselves — and work together hand in hand and within 6 months to solve regional conflicts in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen and Bahrain. They can do it, and there are no other choices but to do it.

Washington, Moscow, Peking, Paris and Berlin are not the answer… Tehran and Riyadh are the place to start solving these regional conflicts. Tehran and Riyadh should be the “Axis of Good”.

While the Iranian nuclear program is a source of fear and apprehension in all Arab Gulf countries, the onus is on the Islamic Republic of Iran to set these fears aside as a first step toward this much-awaited détente. Iran should initiate its own “nuclear discussions” with its neighbors in the region, no different from its own discussions with the Group of 5+1.

With good will from both sides, Saudi Arabia and Iran can work and should work together and defuse the political and sectarian conflicts that so far have costs hundreds of thousands of lives, cost hundred of billions, and rendered nations like Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya failed nations. Without a concerted effort for peace, there are no assurances these regional conflicts will not spill over to both Iran and Saudi Arabia, endangering these nations as well.

Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is translating to hot wars in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon certainly in Yemen.

Time to give peace and prosperity a chance. The time is now — not tomorrow — for a Saudi-Iranian détente. Once this détente is in place, other regional powers such as Turkey, Egypt and UAE can be invited to solidify the process of working for the future, initiating an Islamic Renaissance. There is no reason not to make these overtures!

Islam Supports Freedom of Belief

18 08 2013

In matters of belief, Islam offers people complete freedom, and in the very clearest language. That has been so ever since Islam was first revealed, and forms the basis of today’s Islamic morality. When a Muslim meets someone whom he wants to have faith, he only has the liability to communicate Islam and to explain the existence of God, to state that the Qur’an is the book of His revelation, that the Prophet Muhammad (saas) is His messenger, to explain the existence of the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment and the beauties of the Islamic morality. However, such liability is only restricted to communicating the religion. In one verse in Surat an-Nahl, God informs us that our Prophet (saas) also is only a messenger: Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided. (Surat an-Nahl, 125)

Another verse states, “… It is the truth from your Lord; so let whoever wishes believe and whoever wishes do not believe…” (Surat al-Kahf, 29) and our Lord addresses our Prophet (saas) as, “Perhaps you will destroy yourself with grief because they will not become believers.” (Surat ash-Shu’ara’, 3). In Surah Qaf God issues our Prophet (saas) this reminder:

We know best what they say. You are not a dictator over them. So remind, with the Qur’an, whoever fears My Threat. (Surah Qaf, 45)

For example, one person may immediately come to believe in the face of a believer’s preaching, while another mocks and attacks it. One person may use his conscience and decide to live in the way that is pleasing to God, while the other may join the deniers and respond to fine words with ugly ones. But that denial will never inspire despair or sorrow in the person issuing the call. In Surah Yusuf God says:

But most people, for all your eagerness, are not believers. You do not ask them for any wage for it. It is only a reminder to all beings. (Surah Yusuf, 103-104)

What’s important is that no matter what reaction he meets with, the person who abides by the Qur’an keeps on displaying the kind of morality that is pleasing to God, refuses to make any concessions on it, and puts his trust in God. God has told us that His religion is to be explained “in the kindest way” as revealed in the Qur’an: “Argue with the People of the Book only in the kindest way–except in the case of those of them who do wrong–saying, “We believe in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are One and we submit to Him.” (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 46)

We must not forget that all events, great or small, happen in the framework of the destiny created by God. And it is God who bestows salvation on someone who is invited to believe. For that reason, believers are never troubled by deniers’ behavior. There are many instances of this in the Qur’an. In the verse “Perhaps you may destroy yourself with grief, chasing after them, if they do not believe in these words” (Surat al-Kahf, 6), God tells the Prophet (saas) not to be troubled if the people he calls on to believe in the Qur’an fail to do so. In another verse we are told “You cannot guide those you would like to but God guides those He wills. He has best knowledge of the guided.” (Surat al-Qasas, 56) Therefore, one’s invitation, fine words and all the details one set out will only have any effect in the event that God so wills it. (Harun Yahya, Only Love Can Defeat Terrorism – http://www.harunyahya.com/defeat01.php)

God has given mankind both reason and a conscience. His messengers and the Divine books revealed to them have shown the true path, and people are responsible for their own choices. Islamic morality can be lived only by a sincere decision to do so–by surrendering oneself to God and listening to one’s conscience, which always commands one to do what is right. It is a total violation of Islamic morality to force anyone to believe, because what matters is an individual’s surrendering himself to God with all his heart and believing sincerely. If a system were to force people into a religion and worship, people would appear to be religious because of their fear of the system. From a religious perspective only religiosity lived for God and based on free and conscious choice is acceptable. God says the following to our Prophet (saas) in the Surat al-Ghashiyya:

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. But as for anyone who turns away and is unbeliever, God will punish him with the Greatest Punishment. Certainly it is to Us they will return. Then their Reckoning is Our concern. (Surat al-Ghashiyya: 21-26)

It also needs to be emphasized that Islam leaves people free to make their own choices regarding religion and commands them to respect other religions. Even if someone believes in a superstitious faith, as the Qur’an describes it, still he can live in peace and security in Muslim lands and freely perform his own religious obligations. In verses God commanded our Prophet (saas) to tell those who denied Him:

“I do not worship what you worship, and you do not worship what I worship. Nor will I worship what you worship, nor will you worship what I worship. You have your religion, and I have my religion.” (Surah Qaf, 2-6)

Under the morality of Islam, everyone is free to carry out his religious obligations in accord with his own particular belief. Nobody can prevent any others from performing their particular religious duties, nor can he oblige them to worship in the manner he desires. That violates the morality of Islam, and is unacceptable to God. In the Islamic history a model of society emerges in which everyone is free to worship and perform the obligations attendant upon his particular chosen beliefs. In the Qur’an God describes monasteries, churches, synagogues, and the places of worship of the Peoples of the Book as all under God’s protection:

… If God had not driven some people back by means of others, [then] monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where God’s name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. God will certainly help those who help Him–God is All-Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Hajj, 40)

Our Prophet’s (saas) life is full of such examples. When Christians came to see him, he left his own mosque for them to use and pray in it. That kind of compassion was maintained during the times of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs who succeeded the Prophet (saas). After Damascus was captured, a church that had been turned into a mosque was divided into two, so that Christians might worship in one half and Muslims in the other. (You can obtain detailed information on the subject from the web site www.harunyahya.com, which is based on the works of Harun Yahya.)

Burcu Cekmece


Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey



The Error of Radicalism

31 07 2013

Radicalism means supporting sudden revolutionary destructive changes in any sphere and applying a strict uncompromising policy in order to achieve them. Radicals are characterized by their desire for revolutionary change and the stern, sometimes aggressive attitude they adopt. In this, as in every sphere of life, the guide for the Muslim is the Qur’an. When we look at radicalism in the light of the Qur’an, we see that it has nothing to do with the way in which God commands the believers to behave. When God describes a believer in the Qur’an, He depicts him as a loving, soft-spoken person, shunning conflicts and arguments, approaching even the most hostile people with warmth and friendship.

An example to guide us in this matter is the command given by God to Moses (as) and Aaron (as) to go to Pharaoh and speak gently to him:

Go to Pharaoh; he has overstepped the bounds. But speak to him with gentle words so that hopefully he will pay heed or show some fear. (Surah Ta Ha, 43-44)

Pharaoh was one of the most cruel and rebellious unbelievers of his time. He was a despot who denied God and worshipped idols; moreover, he subjected believers (the Israelites of the time) to terrible cruelties and murder. But God commanded His prophets to go to such a hostile man and speak to him gently. You will notice that the way shown by God was the way of friendly dialogue, not the way of conflict with sharp words, angry slogans and agitated protests.

There are a few other examples to show Muslims how to behave in the dialogue between the Prophet Jethro (as) and the deniers. This dialogue is related in the Qur’an in this way:

And to Madyan their brother Jethro. He said, “My people, worship God! You have no deity apart from Him. Do not give short measure and short weight. I see you prospering and I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing Day.

My people! Give full measure and full weight with justice; do not diminish people’s goods; and do not go about the earth, corrupting it.

What endures with God is better for you if you are believers. I am not set over you as your keeper.”

They said, “Jethro, do your prayers instruct you that we should abandon what our fathers worshipped or stop doing whatever we want to with our wealth? Yet you are such a lenient, normal person!”

He said, “My people! What do you think? If I do possess a Clear Sign from my Lord and He has given me His good provision, I do not want to oppose you in what way I am forbidding you. I only want to put things right as far as I can. My success is with God alone. I have put my trust in Him and I turn to Him.” (Surah Hud, 84-88)

When we examine what he says, we see that the Prophet Jethro (as) invited the people to believe in God and to adopt high moral principals and he did this with friendliness and humility. We can explain some of the reasons behind of the things said in these verses:

* When the Prophet Jethro (as) says “I am not set over you as your keeper.” to the people, he does not want to dominate them; his only intention is to inform them of the truth that God has revealed.

* “You are clearly the forbearing, the rightly-guided”: These words of the deniers to the Prophet Jethro (as) show his warm, gentle and courteous character and that this was particularly appreciated by the deniers.

* “My people! What do you think?” This expression used by the Prophet Jethro (as) shows that he calls on the deniers to use their intelligence and conscience. In other words, he does not use insistent pressure, but questions their ideas from an opposing stance and invites them to consider and come to a conclusion based on their own free conscience.

* “I do not want to oppose you in what way I am forbidding you”. The Prophet Jethro’s (as) prohibition here is not actually a prohibition. He explains that some acts are sinful and invites the people to abandon them. Moreover, when the Prophet Jethro (as) says “I do not want to oppose you”, it is not his purpose to dispute with the people; he does not want to make them uncomfortable and incite a quarrel; he wants only to invite them to faith and the practice of high moral principles.

An obvious characteristic of radicalism is its anger. This disposition can be clearly seen in the speeches, writings and demonstrations of radicals. However, anger is not an attribute of Muslims. When God describes believers in the Qur’an, He describes, “those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people – God loves the good-doers” (Surah Al ’Imran, 134)

There is no situation in which a Muslim displays anger. The only thing a Muslim wants from other people is that they believe in God and live according to moral principles, but this is possible only by the grace of God. No matter what we do, no matter how much we try to explain the truth to people, human hearts are in God’s hands. God reminds Muslims of this very important fact in this verse, “… Do those who believe not know that if God had wanted to He could have guided all mankind? …” (Surat ar-Rad, 31)

Muslims are responsible only for explaining their religion, they apply no pressure or coercion on anyone and are enjoined to speak gently to even the most tyrannical deniers. Such persons cannot be radicals, because radicalism stands for the opposite of those qualities we have enumerated. Indeed, radicalism is an unIslamic current of thought and a political stance that came into the Islamic world from outside. When we examine social phenomena described in terms of radicalism, it will be seen that these are basically a collection of methods and pronouncements used by communists in the past, or an expression of the “fanatical rage” that has no place in true Islam. (Surat al-Fath, 26)

All Muslims must totally reject an angry, unbending argumentative attitude which goes against the very nature of the Qur’an and in its place adopt a friendly, gentle, calm and compassionate one. Muslims must set an example to the world and be admired for their maturity, compassion, moderation, modesty and peacefulness. Muslims must live Islam in the best possible way and be its representatives to the world, not only in these things, but also by their achievements in the fields of science, culture, art, aesthetics and social order and others.

Burcu Cekmece


Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey



Islam States Men and Women are Equal

11 07 2013

No doubt, every society knows all of the traditional arguments about women’s ideal role and place. Their social status and importance in the family, whether or not they should work, and other social issues have been discussed seemingly forever. For Muslims, these issues were settled in the Koran: Men and women are equal. The facts that men and women have different physical builds and that women are generally weaker than men are irrelevant and cannot be used to reduce women’s value.

What truly matters in Islamic morality is not whether someone is male or female, but whether or not he or she is a believer who fears and respects God. Each believer is expected to strive to live by the Koran’s morality, for the results of this struggle are what God values and will measure in the Hereafter. God reveals the qualities that all Muslims, male or female, should have:

“The men and women of the believers are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, keep up prayer and give the alms [zakat], and obey God and His Messenger. They are the people on whom God will have mercy. God is Almighty, All-Wise.” (Surat at-Tawba: 71)

“They are the people guided by their Lord. They are the ones who attain success.” (Surat al-Baqara, 5)

As God reveals, all Muslims, regardless of their gender, have the same responsibilities: to worship God, live according to the Koran’s morality, command good and prevent evil, and abide by the Koran’s rules and advice. God promises everyone who fears and respects the limits that He has established for humanity that He will give them the ability to distinguish right from wrong:

“O you who believe! If you have fear of [and respect] God, He will give you discrimination, erase your bad actions, and forgive you. God’s favor is indeed immense.” (Surat al-Anfal: 29)

One’s gender has no bearing on this, for God has given everyone an intellect capable of leading him or her to the right path, reaching the right decisions, and giving the right responses in return for belief and devotion. Therefore, intellect has nothing to do with gender; rather, it has everything to do with one’s devotion, fear, and respect of God.

Any man or woman who acts on the impulses of the intellect derived from belief can achieve success in many areas. This depends on their will, motivation, and persistence. Believers never rest on their laurels, for it is part of Islamic morality to always strive to be more intelligent, talented, responsible, and virtuous, as well as to seek to always improve upon their character. God reveals that believers pray to Him for a character that will make them role models for those around them:

“Those who say: ‘Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children, and make us a good example for those who guard against evil.’ ” (Surat al-Furqan: 74)

A Muslim woman who does her best in everything she undertakes and who works to develop an exemplary character and morality, will excel in her society. She will carry out her responsibilities competently, reach the right decisions, find the best solutions, and take the most appropriate actions.

Burcu Cekmece


Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey



Islam Defends Freedom of Thought

2 07 2013

Islam is a religion which provides and guarantees freedom of ideas, thought and life. It has issued commands to prevent and forbid tension, disputes, slander and even negative thinking among people. In the same way terrorism and all acts of violence are determinedly prohibited in Islam, even the slightest ideological pressure to be put on them is also forbidden:

There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly distinct from error. (Surat al-Baqara, 256)

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. (Surat al-Ghashiyya, 21-22)

Forcing people to believe in a religion or to adopt its forms of belief is completely contrary to the essence and spirit of Islamic morality. According to Islam, true faith is only possible with free will and freedom of conscience. Of course, Muslims can advise and encourage each other about the features of Qur’anic morality. All believers are charged with explaining Qur’anic morality to people in the nicest manner possible. They will explain the beauties of religion in the light of the verse, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition…” (Surat an-Nahl, 125), however, they must also bear in mind the verse, “You are not responsible for their guidance, but God guides whoever He wills.” (Surat al-Baqara, 272)

They will never resort to compulsion, nor any kind of physical or psychological pressure. Neither will they use any worldly privilege to turn someone towards religion. When they receive a negative response to what they say, Muslims will reply along the lines of: “To you your religion, and to me, mine” (Surat al-Kafirun, 6)

The world we live in contains societies with all kinds of beliefs: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, deist and even pagan. Muslims living in such a world must be  compassionate towards all beliefs they come up against, no matter what they may be, and behave forgivingly, justly and humanely. This responsibility placed on believers is to invite people to the beauty of the religion of God by means of peace and compassion. The decision whether or not to implement these truths, whether or not to believe, lies with the other party. Forcing that person to believe, or trying to impose anything on him, is a violation of Qur’anic morality. In fact, God issues a reminder to believers in the Qur’an:

If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can force people to be believers? (Surah Yunus, 99)

We know best what they say and you [O Muhammad] are not a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an whoever fears My warning. (Surah Qaf, 45)

A model of society in which people are forced to worship is completely contradictory to Islamic morality. Belief and worship should be directed to God by the free will of the individual. If a system imposes belief and worship on people, then they will act as if they are religious out of fear of that system. This will mean the encouragement of hypocrisy and no Muslim would approve that. From the point of view of Islamic morality, what really counts is that religion should be lived for God’s good pleasure in an environment where peoples’ consciences are totally free.

The history of Islam is full of the compassionate and understanding practices of Muslim rulers who have respected all religions and built religious freedom with their own hands. For example, Thomas Arnold, a British missionary employed in the service of the Indian government, describes that Islamic morality favors freedom in these words:

“But of any organised attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christendom, throughout which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of the Muhammadan governments towards them.” 


Burcu Cekmece


Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey



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