Syria; Losing the Revolution.

23 06 2013

Israel’s survival and security are always guaranteed by a very strong “offensive” army, unconditional military, economic and political support from the United States and Europe and more important from the presence of weak, corrupt, dictatorial Arab regimes and police states surrounding Israel. Assad’s Syria always provided that kind of security for Israel on its northern borders. So all of this talk about Syria’ being bastion of Arab nationalism and anti-Zionism is nothing but hogwash.

Bashar Assad knew this very well, when instead of seeking reasonable reforms that would transform Syria from a an Assad farm to a nation for all of its people decided instead to send tanks and planes to bomb and destroy Syria and the people’s uprising way before any one carried a gun.

Too bad for Syria and the Syrian people, the political opposition, a collections of a has been, want to be, washed out political and intellectual exiles, professors, rich Syrian exiles, failed to understand what is Assad Syria for Israel and Israel’s ally the US. It seems every one forgot that Assad Syria served as a “rendition” state, a torture contractor for America’s war on terror and never fired a single shot across the Golan Heights.

They made the fatal mistake of counting on America and its allies in the Arab Middle East to give the military support needed to topple Assad regime. They failed to understand that America will never ever support or sponsor “democracy” or true citizenship to Arabs, because democracy and free dynamic Arab citizenry will never accept to be “servants” of America’s imperialism and its unconditional support for criminal Apartheid Israel.

They also forgot that America refused to give to Saudi Arabia, its long time allies, the shoulder fired “stinger missiles” but gave it the Mujahideen.

How stupid of any one to think that the United States will allow any one to arm the Syrian military opposition with any weapon that may pose even the slightest military threat to an always-military superior Israel. Libya is too far to being a threat to Israel.

They failed to learn from Syrian recent history when Bashar’s father and uncle sent planes and tanks to level suppress the uprising in Hamah and level the city to the ground. Israel and the US will never allow strong vibrant a truly Arab democracy, or a military strong country to emerge anywhere on the borders of Israel, not in Jordan, not in Egypt, not in Lebanon, certainly not in Syria.

Equally troublesome is Syrian opposition failing to understand that Russia today is not Russian of drunken Yeltsin, but of Vladimir Putin, who believes and is committed to a Russia as world power, a powerful Russia that neither the US nor its allies in Western Europe can push around, and Syria is Russia’s high noon in Dodge City.

Now almost 3 years later and with over 100,000 dead and an almost totally destroyed Syria, Arab nationalists, anti-colonialists, liberals and Neocons, find themselves in the same bed with a dictatorial regime that rules Syria with an iron fist, killing tens of thousands, jailing hundreds of thousands without trial, looted the country, operating as a criminal enterprise, and falsely claiming the mantle of legitimacy and leadership to “Arab resistance and steadfastness” against imperialism, colonialism and Zionism.

The Syrian revolution was lost before it even began. It was lost because it relied on self serving Syrian hotchpotch self serving oppositions, not so different from the PLO minus Arafat, more interested in 5 stars hotels, hundreds of millions of dollars from generous donors. The Syrian revolution was lost by lack of well-coordinated military strategy and field operations. It began as an amateur revolution but miserably failed to transform itself into a well-coordinated military force. But of course it was no match for Bashar tanks, jets, scud missiles, the unwavering Russian military and political support, however and in all fairness it gave a good fight and proved Bashar’s Syrian Arab Army without Hezbollah is not even a fighting or winning force, with all of its tanks, jets and missiles.

The Syrian political opposition with so many “smart and intelligent” intellectuals failed to understand a simple political fact and reality. The United States will never, never allow the Syrian opposition to win, without first having a destroyed Syrian that will take generations to build and heal, as a favor to Israel.

But the most tragic and sad thing of all, the Syrian revolution was lost when the first Arab and Islamists “Takfiri Jihadists “ i.e Alnusra set foot on Syrian soil. Too bad Turkey with its presumed smart dynamic leadership failed to see the potential danger these criminal misfits, killers and murderers mercenaries would have on the Syrian uprising. These criminal Islamist mercenaries more than any other group not only killed, executed, committing horrific disgusting crimes, but they killed the Syrian uprising as well. Turkey may end up another Pakistan.

Turkey and Arab regimes that gave support to the Syrian uprising also failed to see and predict the potential danger these groups of Islamist criminals would have on the revolution, and more troublesome is the total failing of the Syrian political and military opposition failures to deal with these groups of criminal misfits, from day one. They should have stopped them at the borders and never allowed in. What a big stupid reckless mistake.

It seems that no one learned the lesson of Afghanistan, when Arab and Islamists mercenaries with suspect connections and sponsorship by the CIA joined forces with drug funded Mujahdieen that turned Afghanistan from a failing state to a failed state, where killing, murder and suicide bombings replaced building schools, clinics and roads.

Syria now, no thanks to any one, is not only destroyed but a country that no longer can claim to be “resistance and steadfastness” in face of Zionism. It is a country that can no longer give any credible support to Hezbollah that transformed itself from a truly Arab and Islamic resistance movement to a sectarian militia. Iran proved it is whether America likes it or not is a regional power to be reckoning with, and is a country that has the will power to stand by its allies in times of needs.

Uniting Against The Threat Of Radicalism

18 06 2013

It is very obvious that radical tendencies, irrespective of their origin, are one of the most dangerous threats to world peace and security. Radicalism means to advocate fundamental and sudden changes by means of uncompromising and hard-line policies. Radicals seek such changes by employing cunning and often aggressive policies. One of radicalism’s characteristic traits is the angry attitude visible in its adherents’ speeches, books, and demonstrations. Radical movements are dominated by blindly advocated taboos, instead of conscious behavior, and reflect amass psychology. This psychology, in turn, can get so out of control that people, who no longer know what they are doing or why, turn their aggression on others. In an environment where love, affection and understanding have ceased to exist, people begin to feel animosity toward different ideologies or races without knowing what the other party really represents or believes.

Thousands of people died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Ignorance enables radicalism to find new recruits, even though it is a harmful and destructive movement. Misinformed or one-sidedly informed people are vulnerable to extremist movements, whose philosophical programs they adopt without careful reflection. This is why education is an essential aspect of the ideological fight against radicalism.

In our own time, radicalism has emerged among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. This situation is abused and taken advantage of by proponents of Samuel Huntington’s proposed clash of civilizations theory. The scale of radicalism’s threat to world peace has become apparent in the 9/11 attacks on the United States and its consequences. The fact that these attacks are widely believed to have been carried out in the name of Islam resulted in a great deal of prejudice against Muslims and misunderstanding of Islam. Given the fact that Islam prohibits all acts of violence and aggression, most of the Islamic world condemned these terrorist attacks. Muslims prayed alongside Christians for the innocent lives lost, and American Muslims rushed to the aid of the victims. Despite this, prejudice against Muslims in the United States and some European countries has vastly increased, and incidences of violence have been reported. The arguments of those radicals who seek to divide the world into two warring factions have created an atmosphere of anxiety.

Certain circles tried to blame all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks, even though Islamic morality forbids violence and aggression. After the attacks, President Bush visited a mosque in Washington, DC, where he stated that Islam is a religion of peace and advised Americans to beware people who seek to misinform them. Muslims and Christians prayed together for all of those who lost their lives in the attacks.

In order to eradicate radicalism and its damaging consequences, cultural and educational campaigns designed to reach all sections of society must be organized. We can list the topics and the responsibilities of various sections of society to be covered by this program, as follows:

– Being aware that radicalism, an extremist tendency, that is incompatible with true religious morality, must be defeated ideologically so that its claim to be acting in the name of religion can be exposed as false. People of all three divinely revealed religions must be told that they have a responsibility to be compassionate, patient, gentle, friendly, polite, and respectful. They have to be made aware that God forbids violence, aggression, and anything that harms innocent people. They must understand that it is wrong to go down that path. These efforts will ensure that people who emerge, supposedly in the name of religion, and who support harshness and violence will be recognized as misguided liars and thereby prevented from finding new recruits.

– A program must be designed to give full and accurate information about all parties involved in the conflict, so that international cooperation becomes possible. An important step toward mutually friendly relations is the creation of an environment in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims can begin to know each other’s beliefs, traditions, and rituals better. This can be done through cultural and educational programs. As people come to know each other better, they will realize that they have many things in common. This, in turn, will make reconciliation possible. Muslims, Christians, and Jews should tell one another about their respective worldviews in line with God’s divine books of revelation, thereby preventing the mutual misunderstanding and radicalism caused by a lack of accurate knowledge.

– The media must support the cultural activities necessary to create an environment conducive to international cooperation. They should refrain from sensationalism, which incites violence and segregation, and focus on broadcasts that encourage moderation, affection and understanding. Carefully prepared broadcasts by the western media will play an important role in eradicating the currently widespread anti-Muslim prejudice. Muslim media organizations, for their part, must refrain from broadcasts and opinions that incite hatred toward non-Muslims and concentrate instead on cultural and spiritual education in the Islamic world.

– Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders and opinion makers must identify people who are bent on portraying myths and false beliefs as part of the religious code. They must teach people that God commands believers to be balanced and gentle, and that all extremism is incompatible with religious morality. Political leaders must support this awareness campaign in order to prevent extremism in society and must prepare the necessary ground so that a moderate conception, one that is compatible with religious moral values, should rule.

These and similar joint efforts will eradicate the conditions conducive to radicalism. In addition, believers must begin to show sincere respect for others’ beliefs and values. Genuine believers must seek to draw closer to God instead of accusing one another. They should concentrate on enhancing their sincerity and work to earn God’s good pleasure and mercy. In the following verse God reveals that people who act otherwise are wrong:

The Jews say: »The Christians have nothing to stand on,« and the Christians say: »The Jews have nothing to stand on,« yet they both recite the Book. Those who do not know say the same as they say. God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection regarding the things about which they differ. (Surat Al-Baqara: 113)

Eradicating the harm caused by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim radicals is possible only if all moderate, peace-loving, civilized, and genuinely religious people cooperate and form an alliance. Such an alliance will defeat those who present war and conflict as the only option, and disprove the assertions of those who advocate a show of force as the only way to achieve security and prevent further bloodshed, tears, and material damage.

Burcu Cekmece


Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey


America; The Not So Free

9 06 2013

As Americans we should not be surprised to wake up one day and soon and wake up to discover that our country is taken over by a Bolsheviks Politburo with tens of millions of secrete informers, no different from the former Soviet Union or East Germany with informers at home, in the office, in the sport club and in the markets and malls. The fight against terrorism is turning into a fight against America and Americans.

With no more freedoms to worry about, former President George Bush should not worry about the “terrorists” hating our freedoms as he declared on September 20, 2001 in a speech to the nations.

“ They hate what they see right here in this chamber; democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed (not a typo); they hate our freedoms: freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, and our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other”. We have no more freedoms to worry about.

Many of these freedoms are no longer available in the US. We are living the first stages of political and military dictatorship, a government run by “intelligence agencies” no different from Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, Saddam of Iraq, Assad of Syria, Erich Honecker of East Germany and Stalin of the Soviet Union.

It was not surprising that Barack Obama like his predecessor George Bush adopted the same approach to the National Security. In the words of Azra Klein and Evans Soltas

“ rather than dismantling Mr. Bush approach to national security, Mr. Obama has to some extent validated it and put it on amore sustainable footing”.

PRISM is the code word for the extensive surveillance that have been on going for over six years now tapping into email, documents, and videos of nine US companies the likes of Google, Microsoft, Verizon, Apple, Facebook among others as part of the unpatriotic “ Patriot Act” that was put in place back in 2001.

The disclosure by the Washington Post forced the director of national intelligence to come out and defend the top secrete government surveillance program, forcing private companies to try and explain the extent of intrusion to the private accounts of hundreds of millions of customers and clients.

The program was put in place with the full support of all three branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial branch of government and as explained by the director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr, PRISM as

“An internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision.”

What is not being discussed in the national media is the extent of the Israeli Mossad and Israeli companies in the extensive surveillance program.

According to an article in the American technology magazine “WIRED” dated April 2012, two Israeli companies Verint and Narus which according to “Wired” have close ties with the Israeli security community.

With the two Israeli companies involvement in the extensive surveillance program, Israel through its extensive security and intelligence cooperation with the United States no doubt is also gathering information on hundreds of millions of US citizens

“Verint, which took over its parent company Comverse Technology earlier this year, is responsible for tapping the communication lines of the American telephone giant Verizon, according to a past Verizon employee sited by James Bamford in Wired. Neither Verint nor Verizon commented on the matter.
Natus, which was acquired in 2010 by the American company Boeing, supplied the software and hardware used at AT&T wiretapping rooms, according to whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed the information in 2004. Klein, a past technician at AT&T who filed a suit against the company for spying on its customers, revealed a “secret room” in the company’s San Fransisco office, where the NSA collected data on American citizens’ telephone calls and Internet surfing.
Klein’s claims were reinforced by former NSA employee Thomas Drake who testified that the agency uses a program produced by Narus to save the personal electrical communications of AT&T customers.
Both Verint and Narus have ties to the Israeli intelligence agency and the Israel Defense Forces intelligence-gathering unit 8200. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the 8200 unit, told Forbes magazine in 2007 that Comverse’s technology, which was formerly the parent company of Verint and merged with it this year, was directly influenced by the technology of 8200. Ori Cohen, one of the founders of Narus, told Fortune magazine in 2001 that his partners had done technology work for the Israeli intelligence.

The question of whether intelligence communities outside the United States were involved has been raised. According to The Guardian, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain’s intelligence agency, secretly collected intelligence information from the world’s largest Internet companies via the American program PRISM. According to a top secret document obtained by The Guardian, GCHQ had access to PRISM since 2010 and that it used the information to prepare 197 intelligence reports last year. In a statement to the Guardian, GCHQ, said it “takes its obligations under the law very seriously.”
According to The Guardian, details of GCHQ’s use of PRISM are set out in a 41-page PowerPoint presentation prepared for senior NSA analysts, and describe a “snooping” operation that gave the NSA and FBI access to the systems of nine Internet giants, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype.
Given the close ties between U.S. and Israeli intelligence, the question arises as to whether Israeli intelligence, including the Mossad, was party to the secret. “

The question that all of us Americans have to ask who is spying on whom and whether the US intelligence and national security community have decided to subcontract our national security and our privacy to Israel, a country well known to have deliberate killed our sailors spied on our country passing massive critical and damaging secret documents to Israel and the former Soviet Union (Jonathan Pollard) and whether such cooperation amount to acts of treasons on the part of key officials of our national security.

America as we known it the land of the free and the home of the brave no more. We are now living in a country that is far distant from the visions of its founding fathers. Both Bush and Obama once more prove that the “terrorists” are winning and America is loosing.

While the story of PRISM will not die any time soon, for sure the Israeli involvement with such surveillance will not see much coverage in the national media.

The Arabs; From the Barracks to the Mosques

28 05 2013

The “mosque” and religious establishment in the Arab world was hardly on the side of people advocating and speaking up for their rights to freedom, for decent jobs, for education, for social services, for freedom from arbitrary and midnight arrests and torture, and for the most part were part of and speakers of the ruling establishment. And when it did it was a forum for the likes of Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis to organize in order to take over and replace existing ruling elites, replacing the “mosque” for the barracks.

The clear and present danger facing the Arab people and states is the inevitable move from the rules of the barracks to the rules of the mosque. The modern Arab world is paying the heavy price of the rules of barracks in Libya, in Egypt, in Sudan, in Iraq, in Syria, in Somalia, in Yemen and Algeria. As if 60 years of utter and total failure of the military/police state is not enough the Arabs now have to contend with perhaps another 60 years of rules by the mosque. Not sure if the Arab future lies in substituting the mosques for the barracks.

For over 600 years the “Arabs” never rose to the occasion and have lived a life of failings, subjected to colonial rules and foreign occupation with deep divisions along tribal and sectarian lines. The Arab Uprising of the late Sharif Hussain had nothing to do with Arab “independence” but personal ambition to establish collections of family owned states. Of course the price was the loss of Palestine.

The Arabs and for the last 6 centuries have been living in the Dark Age and ignorance, notwithstanding the tallest buildings, the most expensive shopping centers or signature hand bags, or fast cars. Civil and sectarian conflicts, illiteracy, malnutrition, ignorance, poverty, hunger, oppression, lack of freedoms, secret jails, high unemployment, wide ranging corruption from top to bottom, unfair distribution of wealth and absence of equal opportunity are the signature/ trade marks of modern Arab states.

Bureaucracy that created hell on earth for the hundreds of millions of people who have the unfortunate and necessary need to get a birth certificate, or a “family book” (book of family births and deaths necessary in everything in life), or driver license which require citizens to spend on the average one month a year just to meet the police and bureaucratic requirement of being a ‘subject” of an Arab state. I always believed that there is an invisible minister in every Arab country whose mission is to create hell for the people, a difficult and humiliating bureaucracy that makes bribery, corruption and subjugations a necessity and a way of life.

Of course the one institution that proved over and over its failure and incompetence for the last 600 years is the “military” with no known battles or wars won against foreign occupation and colonial rules. This failed institution having failed at what it is trained to spread its failing from the battle fields to cities, towns and farms. The military establishment failed miserable and the results we see today all across the Arab world.

Since early 50’s with the first military take over in Syria, followed by Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and to some extent Tunisia, Algeria, the Arab world have been afflicted with military rules that set the stage for civil wars, foreign interventions, lawlessness, massive influx of refugees escaping killing massive debts, destructive sectarian violence, absence of peace and security for the people, not to mention looting the country and wasting its wealth and resources.

Failed incompetent military officers like Gamal Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, Hafiz Assad, Moumar Qaddafi, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Omar Al-Bashir, took over nations with semblance of governing institutions. They destroyed what ever little was there and failed to build modern nation states with independent judiciary, free press, accountable transparent government, proper efficient bureaucracy in the service of the people and free transparent elections. Rather they spread fear, established police state and allowed whatever infrastructure was there in postcolonial rule to almost disappear. Post independent Tunisia and Algeria saw the establishment of a secular police state with governing institution in service of the ruling party and in the case of Algeria, a post independence state in perpetual service of the ruling military.

In the case of Iraq’s Saddam he took over a nation with well-educated population with tens of billions in bank accounts. He declared war against the newly established Islamic Republic of Iraq for an on behalf of Ronald Reagan resulting in the death of over a million on both sides and running a war bill of over $350 billions. As if this was not enough he decided to go to war against Kuwait, another war, which costs Iraq dearly with casualties in the millions and some $800 billions in total costs to Arab economies, leading up to the American invasion. Saddam war with Iran was the first step toward the destruction of Iraq. And the destruction of what could be counted as modern Arab state.

All of these military leaders brought with them fellow officers to manage the nation, manage commerce, transportation, education, finance, health care, municipalities and regional governors, They all failed miserably. How can such failed officers who failed at what they were trained for could manage such complex needs requiring professional subject matter expertise and understanding of social and economic complex issues. The results we see it today in Egypt, Syria, in Libya, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Iraq, and in Yemen. The only thing these failed military officers succeeded in was in establishing a police state ruled by fear, jails and summary executions and destructions of the little infrastructure that was out there.

Non of the military rulers succeeded in setting up and establishing accountable and transparent state institutions, independent of the one party state and independent of the rule and supervision of “mokhabarat” or secrete intelligence services dreaded and feared by all citizens including officials of the state, certainly independent from the barracks.

Sixty years of barracks rules brought the Arab world to the brinks of civil war as we are witnessing now in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. Civil and sectarian wars as we are now seeing in Syria and Iraq with Lebanon on the brinks of a renewed civil war, the inevitable result of military dictatorships.

As if these failed experiences are not enough, the Arab world is now seeing the emergence of the ‘mosque” as a key player in the affairs of the nation, replacing military officers who came on top of tanks with turbaned clergymen coming down from the pulpit. If the military could not manage the affairs of the state, can the mosque and Muslim clergy with their slogan “Islam as the solution” can fix what the military destroyed. I doubt it.

Not so sure if these clergymen with their followers, mostly illiterate, unemployed, with no hope in the present life can address and fix such endemic issues as illiteracy, poverty, hunger, failed educational and health systems, failed almost non existing transportation system, poor housing conditions for millions as we see in Egyptian, in Iraq, in Yemen and in Libya. For the most part these Muslim clergymen are not offering solution to existing miserable conditions; they are offering Heaven as an easy way out, hence the jihad.

Religion and faith should be an inspiration, setting forth a value system of fairness, justice, equality of citizenship but these value systems in and of themselves do not solve what ails the Arab world. Intellectual political competent leadership with support from social and scientific, financial leadership and expertise is the hope for the Arabs, not the mosque, certainly not the barracks. The Arabs as it stands now lack the leadership necessary to end the Dark Age.

Let’s accentuate the common values of the three monotheistic religions

22 05 2013

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.

Ebru Altan

Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey

The Outlook of Islam on Christians and Jews

14 05 2013

In the Qur’an, Jews and Christians are called the “People of the Book”. This is because the members of these two religions abide by the Divine Books revealed by God. The outlook of Islam on the People of the Book is extremely just and compassionate.

Christian and Muslim beliefs have many aspects in common. Judaism too shares many beliefs with Islam. In the Qur’an, God relates that Muslims share the same faith with the People of the Book and that they say to them “We have faith 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)

All true adherents of these three great religions:

– believe that God has created the entire universe out of nothing and that He dominates all that exists with His omnipotence.

– believe that God has created man and living things in a miraculous way and that man possesses a soul granted him by God.

– believe in resurrection, Heaven and Hell and angels, and that God has created our lives with a certain destiny.

– believe that besides the Prophets Jesus (as), Moses (as) or Muhammad (as), God sent many prophets including the Prophets Noah (as), Abraham (as), Isaac (as) and Joseph (as) throughout history, and they love all these prophets. In one verse, that Muslims make no distinction among prophets is related as follows:

The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him by his Lord, and so do the believers. Each one believes in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers. We do not differentiate between any of His Messengers. They say, ‘We hear and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord! You are our journey’s end.’ (Surat al-Baqara, 285)

The beliefs of the People of the Book are in harmony with Muslims, not only in terms of faith-related issues, but also of moral values. Today, in a world where such immoralities as adultery, homosexuality, drug addiction and a model of egoism and self-seeking cruelty have grown widespread, the People of the Book – Christians, Jews – and Muslims share the same virtues: Honor, chastity, humility, self-sacrifice, honesty, compassion, mercy and unconditional love.

Burcu Cekmece

Building Bridges – Istanbul, Turkey

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