THE U.S. THE
MIDDLE EAST AND THE TURKISH ISLAMIC UNION
The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon marked a turning
point and the beginning of a new world order. Some experts predicted that
this attack would lead to greater conflict and violence, while a majority
of voices pointed out that America's response and future policies must be
measured and just.
The 9/11 attacks that targeted innocent people were denounced
by Muslims, like the rest of the world.
In the aftermath of the attacks, America began a large-scale
offensive against terrorism. Most countries and international organizations
supported this effort, which, in essence, is a military operation directed
against terrorism and all organs that support it. At present, despite
some partial successes, this war has not met its objectives or achieved
a conclusive victory.
One of the primary reasons for this failure is that the American strategy
is based mainly on military operations to the exclusion of any educational
or cultural measures. Military measures, such as removing regimes that
support terrorism, cannot defeat terrorism, for terrorism is a socio-psychological
and ideological problem. Such a military-only strategy creates tragedies
in which countless innocent people lose their lives, as well as the radicalism
that, in turn, becomes yet another factor feeding terrorism. Only an intellectual
war can effectively diffuse the terrorists' propaganda and eradicate terrorism.
Military operations should be used only when appropriate.
For this reason, the war on terrorism must be conducted within the rules of international law and by the use of peaceful but effective measures. Every activity that ignores the law and human rights, especially when it is causing civilian deaths, will cast a shadow over this war, even if it began as a just cause. It is important for the American leadership to remember such facts when determining its strategy, for it is the ideology of terrorism that must be destroyed. The so-called "Islamic terrorism" thought to be behind 9/11 feeds off radical groups that seek to use Islam as a so-called justification for their quest for violence.
When the ideological structure of or education undergone by these groups are examined, one immediately sees that they possess a Darwinist mindset. There is therefore no significance to the way these groups claim to act supposedly in the name of Islam, because they actually have Darwinist mindsets. What is needed before all else is a powerful intellectual campaign against Darwinism and for people to be taught true religious moral values and the love, affection and compassion that lie at the heart of the Qur’an.
The Bush administration has stressed several times that this war
is not against Muslims but against terrorism. It is surely very
important for America to consider issues that are sensitive to Muslims
while making their policies.
It is mainly the Muslims themselves who should replace these mistaken views with the correct understanding of Islamic principles and prevent those who misunderstand Islam from acting upon their rage. Thus, American policy should support a solution from within the Islamic world. As we have stated all along, forming the Turkish Islamic Union is the only realistic solution.
It is in America's best interest to adopt this approach, not to mention
within the best interest of the Islamic world and the world in general.
Those who think otherwise should reconsider, as they might well be dragging
the world into a bloodbath. The American leadership also must be careful
not to be distracted by such misrepresentations that lead them to identify
Islam as a hostile religion and culture. The people behind such distortions
are strategists and ideologues who wish to see a bloody war between the
West and the Islamic world. They are doing their best to present American
anti-terrorism policies as a war on Islam. Some commonsense announcements
by the American leadership, which rejects the idea of a war between the
West and Islam, have had positive effects; however, they need to be seen
by the global community as affecting American policies.
How Can America Help Achieve Global Peace?
Paul Wolfowitz, the American Deputy Secretary of Defense, is one
of the theoreticians of the "Bush Doctrine" developed
In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration announced a new national
security and foreign policy strategy. One week after the terrorist attacks,
President Bush revealed the framework of this strategy in his speech to
the nation. Known as the "Bush Doctrine," it proclaimed, in effect, that
America would engage in preemptive strikes in order to defend itself.
While such attacks may sometimes be justifiable, in actuality it meant
the beginning of a new era. This strategy was hammered out under the prevailing
psychology in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, drawing heavily
on President Bush's patriotic feelings. Some hawkish circles in the country
promptly suggested that this new strategy should target almost all of
the Middle East and that the nation must be prepared to stomach a 20-year
war in the region. Less provocative circles pointed out such an approach's
inherent flaws and asserted that it risked escalating terrorism. Before
examining the potential risks, it is necessary to clarify the meaning
of "preemptive attack."
America, the world's only superpower, quite naturally should have political
interest, as well as a strategy, in different parts of the world. Besides,
American military intervention has had some positive results. For instance,
in the 1990s, American diplomatic and military intervention targeting
Serbia, which first attacked first Bosnia-Herzegovina then Kosovo, played
an important role in stopping Serbian aggression. The important question
here is whether or not such American policies are compatible with international
law, and whether they are just and conciliatory, in compliance with human
rights, and fairly protect the rights of each group.
American intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosova played a
major role in restraining Serbian violence.
In international relations, precautionary defensive measures by individual
countries are usually received with a degree of tolerance. Of course,
every country wants to defend its existence and future, and therefore
develops strategies for this purpose. However, this defensive approach
should not allow unjustifiable intervention into other nations' affairs.
The most successful and safest strategy for a country to adopt is one
that seeks to preserve peace and happiness. Peaceful strategies lead people
to prosperity and security, and every attempt to disrupt the peace and
prevailing order is very dangerous.
Within the American leadership, those who advocate preemptive attacks
are proposing a very risky strategy that far exceeds any country's legitimate
rights of self-defense. According to this flawed mentality, which is trying
to prepare the ground for all kinds of attacks, the assertion that "they
might become a threat in future" is the perfect excuse. However, turning
to military means alone to resolve disputes cannot succeed, as history
has shown over and over again.
According to this flawed logic, international relations depend not upon law, but upon power. These people would like to see America show off its power and clearly demonstrate to its opponents that the nation is still going strong. The hawks believe, mistakenly, that America can maintain its superior military might only through war, and that therefore it must always be the one to strike first. However, not all members of the American administration share this dangerous attitude. From time to time, the hawks gain the upper hand in American politics. However, many bureaucrats as well as advisors advocate a measured and peaceful policy.
The twentieth century was full of wars that killed millions of people
and caused heavy material losses. In this new century, humanity
must seek peaceful solutions to all such problems.
All countries, especially America, must strive for peace and protect
and support it at all cost. Circles that push the ideas that "might is
right" or "the use of force will solve the problems in direct proportion
to its use" are, in reality, driving their country into a dead-end situation.
One aspect of this is the risk of escalating terrorism. Many strategists
point out that America has begun to lose its economic as well as political
power. American military might may well have its advantages, but the ongoing
threat of war, as well as the continuous state of alarm and readiness
for war trumpeted by the hawks, will deal a serious blow to its economy.
Furthermore, if this country is always at war somewhere in the world,
people will no longer perceive it as the guardian of human rights, democracy,
and freedom. As a consequence of its hawkish policies, America will become
a nation feared by, instead of respected by, the world community. Even
if some military objectives are achieved, America will suffer economically
and damage its international image. So, it would only be a very limited
success for the country. In reality, the American government also does
not want to end up in such a situation, and so it must be cautious and
measured when taking the hawks' flawed views into account and do its best
to follow rational policies.
Moreover, these circles should consider the example they are setting
for other nations and calculate the potential costs of other countries
behaving in the same way to protect their interests. It is fairly obvious
what kind of chaos and conflict the world would experience were such nuclear-armed
countries as Russia, China, India, or Israel to adopt the strategy of
preemptive attack. Even just the possibility of such a scenario represents
a great threat.
Clearly, America has the right to protect its national interests and
defend itself against potential threats. The international community respects
this, especially after the 9/11 tragedy. This right, however, can be used
to benefit America and the world at large if its use complies with international
law. The most important mechanisms for preventing this strategy from descending
to the level of a personal war are international law and the broad consensus
of the international community reached within its framework. If these
mechanisms are ignored, the proponents of this strategy will lead America
into a crisis and will represent a threat to world peace.
The fact that war is not a solution has been expressed many times
by American citizens and civil society, such as the American National
Council of Churches. Many religious leaders have stated that pious
Americans are in favor of peace.
United for Peace and Justice is an NGO that uses the Internet
to call for peace.
Veterans against the Iraq war is another NGO that carries out
an anti-war campaign.
America must reconsider its strategy in the light of all the above concerns.
The way to world peace and stability cannot be aggression and violence,
but common sense, fairness, and caution. The primary strategy for its
war against terrorism must be to support cultural activities. In order
to defeat every ideology that considers violence to be a solution, human
relationships a source of personal gain, and aggression legitimate, the
conditions that give rise to terrorism must be fought. The widespread
acceptance of religious morality, which demands tolerance, conscience,
love, and compassion instead of evil incited by anti-religious ideologies,
will provide lasting solutions to terrorism and many other social ills.
Appropriate cultural programs can be implemented by American cooperation
with non-governmental organizations, many of which are currently working
on such issues. This is an encouraging sign, no doubt, but lasting solutions
require state backing and a widening of these efforts' scope.
Besides, the American government must not forget that Christianity's
central tenets oppose war and hostility. God forbids people to incite
chaos or endanger peace and security. If America respects religious beliefs,
it must become a role model for all people by seeking to bring peace and
security, not fear and apprehension. Those members of the Bush administration who often perceive the need to mention their Christian faith must not forget that the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) commands them to be ambassadors of peace: "Blessed are the peacemakers." (Mathew 5:9).
American religious leaders have called upon the Bush administration in
this regard. In a letter (50 signatories) to President Bush in the days
before the American invasion of Iraq, the National Council of Churches
(NCC) gives important messages:
We write out of concern that those same
precious gifts [of God] may be damaged by actions being contemplated
by our nation.
We, leaders of American churches and church-related organizations,
are alarmed by recent statements by yourself and others in the Administration
about pre-emptive military action against Iraq for the expressed purpose
of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein. Understanding that Mr. Hussein
poses a threat to his neighbors and to his own people, we nevertheless
believe it is wrong, as well as detrimental to U.S. interests, to take
We oppose on moral grounds the United States taking further
military action against Iraq now
Military action against the government
of Saddam Hussein and its aftermath could result in a large number of
civilians being killed or wounded, as well as increasing the suffering
of multitudes of innocent people.
... As Christian religious leaders responsible for millions
of U.S. citizens we expect our government to reflect the morals and
values we hold dear-pursuing peace, not war; working with the community
of nations, not overthrowing governments by force; respecting international
law and treaties while holding in high regard all human life.25
Not so! All who submit themselves completely
to God and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord.
They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.
Each person faces a particular direction,
so race each other to the good. Wherever you are, God will bring
you all together. Truly God has power over all things.
The Devastation Caused by War
is an evil that always brings pain and tears to the warring parties and
causes terrible losses. Religious morality requires that people resolve
their disputes peacefully and in a conciliatory manner. Those who live
according to religious morality refrain from such harmful attitudes as
hate, revenge, and anger. Instead, they adopt a tolerant and forgiving
stance. When people are distanced from religious morality, an environment
conducive to internal and mutual communal conflict develops. Accordingly,
the two world wars were evils brought about by irreligious ideologies.
The First World War caused devastation from Europe to the Middle East
and killed more than 10 million people, while the Second World War, which,
like the first, had no valid justification, ended in horrific bloodshed
costing 55 million deaths. The survivors witnessed levels of cruelty rarely
seen in history, and millions of innocent people perished in concentration
Sadly, these two world wars and the resulting devastation still have
not convinced many people just how terrible a disaster war actually is.
The Second World War did not end conflict and war; instead, new ones broke
out all over the world, killing continued, and the political ambitions
of the few killed millions of people, crippled untold thousands, destroyed
entire cities, and devastated whole nations. Wars have also caused serious
psychological damage to the survivors and damaged the spiritual well-being
of an entire generation. Wars produced people who experience anxiety attacks,
shake uncontrollably, and suffer from sheer fear just by hearing the word
"bomb" or seeing a uniform. Some of them have remained schizophrenics
for years because of the terror they have witnessed, and others have failed
to readapt to society.
Those who believe that war can solve problems only have faith in military
solutions. Those who plan new wars, particularly in the Middle East, must
remember previous human tragedies and abandon their dangerous plans. The
cost of invading Iraq reveals another dimension to such affairs.
Do not corrupt the earth after it has
been put right ...
The two world wars caused great destruction and
killed millions of people. Humanity needed a long period of time
to heal their wounds.
Thoughts on the Cost of Invading Iraq
Many statistical studies conducted in America about the costs of invading
Iraq reveal that besides the direct costs, there are serious other implications
that need to be considered. For instance, the study by Senator Joseph
Biden, chairman of the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, puts this cost
at $100 billion. Biden also stated that another $50 billion would be needed
to rebuild Iraq, and that the total cost would be more like $150 billion.
At present, it appears that the invasion was successful and that everything
has been contained within the estimated limits. However, this will not
cause the tragedies experienced during the war to be forgotten and does
not justify using these resources for this war instead of the American
The cost of invading Iraq became a major topic of discussion before
and after the war.
The $100 billion cost is not considered a significant amount by the hawks. However, it is three times the education budget for children aged between 0 and 12, four times the country's foreign relations budget, and able to cover the health costs of all American children without health insurance for 5 years. This is indeed a thought-provoking fact: That this amount of money is spent on an invasion that costs the lives of thousands of people instead of used to increase the living standards of all Americans. However, given that these estimated costs have been calculated based on ideal conditions, many retired military and defense experts say that the costs will spiral, considering the potential risks of the post-invasion period.
Past American wars have shown that
the costs of these wars far exceeded the planned amount. For instance,
the Secretary of the Treasury in Lincoln's cabinet estimated the cost
of the Civil War for the North would be $240 million; in fact, the actual
cost was 13 times higher ($3.2 billion). In the 1966 budget, $10 billion
was earmarked for the war in Vietnam, which was expected to end in the
summer of 1967. But the war continued until 1973, at a direct cost of
between $110 and $150 billion.26 In addition, 47,000
American soldiers died on the frontline, another 11,000 soldiers died
in various circumstances, and a total of 303,000 soldiers were injured.
More than 1 million Vietnamese civilians lost their lives, 225,000 Vietnamese
soldiers were killed in the war, and 570,000 were injured.27
The Islamic Union will be a giant step toward world peace. Thanks
to this unity, various problems will be resolved peacefully and
God calls to the Abode of Peace, and He guides whom He wills to
a straight path.
These examples reveal that the cost of warfare can spiral out of control when things do not go according to plan. Therefore, all future wars and invasions must be prevented, for the human and financial losses on both sides can increase dramatically. Moreover, a democratic, peaceful, and moderate order cannot be created in the Middle East by means of war, as the American administration is intent on doing. Even if military success is achieved, it is next to impossible to create a lasting peace and order in this way. Winning a war on the battlefield is not necessarily enough to control and rule a region politically. And, what usually happens after any invasion is a very good proof of this.
The Middle East rests on precarious balances. History proves that it is highly unlikely that foreign powers will maintain these balances justly or fairly, or achieve an order that is acceptable to the region's very diverse population. Only a power that shares the region's culture and civilizational ethos can do this. This must be a central authority that unites all Muslim nations, one that reflects and represents their will. This authority is the Turkish Islamic Union, which will not only resolve the problems in the Middle East, but also all problems between the West and the Islamic world. Therefore, the West, especially America, must support the formation of the Turkish Islamic Union, which will unite all Muslim nations under a peace-seeking, tolerant, and constructive umbrella and cooperate with it. In this way, America will find a reliable political union with which to maintain dialogue and cooperation, a union stretching from Morocco to Indonesia.
Many American strategists and thinkers have pointed out this fact, and
William Nordhaus, a renowned economist and professor at Yale University,
states in the "conclusions and suggestions" section of his report, titled:
"The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq," the following:
From a political point of view, unilateral
actions, particularly those taken without support from the Islamic world,
risk inflaming moderates, emboldening radicals
in those countries.28
FROM MAJOR WARS
|War of 1812
|World War I
|World War II
|First Gulf War
AMERICAN COSTS OF MAJOR WARS
Direct Costs of Wars
Direct Costs of Wars
(% of annual GDP)
|War of 1812
|World War I
|World War II
|First Gulf War
The tables above reveal the losses inflicted
on America by the great wars in which she participated.
Who Is Behind the Invasion?
It is an interesting question to ask why America invaded Iraq despite the clearly visible damage and negative impact that such an act would engender. Many strategists think that this invasion had been planned well before 9/11, and suspicions concerning the American administration's claim that Iraq had, and possibly intended to use, weapons of mass destruction began to be heard.
Although oil seems to be the real reason for the war against Iraq,
researchers say that very different reasons lie behind the scenes.
This military action is part of America's new Middle East strategy. Those
who developed this strategy had decided already in 1997 that America had
to hit Saddam and remove him from power. The first signs of this emerged
in 1997, when a group of strategists in Washington, under the influence
of the Israeli lobby, formed the Project for the New American Century
(PNAC) think-tank to advocate for occupying Iraq. The foremost names of
PNAC, later to become the most influential people in the George W. Bush
administration, were Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President
Dick Cheney. Even if they had originally set out to create a stable world
order under American leadership, they acquired the belief, assisted by
the Israeli lobby, that a war in the Middle East was necessary. Had they
made a comprehensive evaluation, they soon would have realized that such
a belief was mistaken. If the purpose was to create stability, it is obvious
that war never brings about stability and order. To the contrary, it destroys
the existing order and brings about nothing but loss. It is a historic
fact that stability can be achieved only by preserving peace.
An article titled "Invading Iraq Not A New Idea For Bush Clique: 4 Years
Before 9/11, Plan Was Set," published in the Philadelphia Daily News under
the name William Bunch, stated the following:
But in reality, Rumsfeld, Vice President
Dick Cheney, and a small band of conservative ideologues had begun making
the case for an American invasion of Iraq as early as 1997- nearly four
years before the Sept. 11 attacks and three years before President Bush
An obscure, ominous-sounding right-wing policy group called
Project for the New American Century, or PNAC-affiliated with Cheney,
Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld's top deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Bush's brother Jeb-even
urged then-President Clinton to invade Iraq back in January 1998.
"We urge you to ... enunciate a new strategy that would
secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the
world," stated the letter to Clinton, signed by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz,
and others. "That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of
Saddam Hussein's regime from power.29
But what was the reason for PNAC's members to be so persistent about
bringing down Saddam? The same article continues:
While oil is a backdrop to PNAC's policy
pronouncements on Iraq, it doesn't seem to be the driving force. [Ian]
Lustick, [a University of Pennsylvania political science professor and
Middle East expert], while a critic of the Bush policy, says oil is
viewed by the war's proponents primarily as a way to pay for the costly
"I'm from Texas, and every oil man that I know is against
military action in Iraq," said PNAC's Schmitt. "The oil market doesn't
Lustick believes that a more powerful hidden motivator
[for war] may be Israel. He said Bush administration hawks believe that
a show of force in Iraq would somehow convince Palestinians to accept
a peace plan on terms favorable to Israel.30
The relation of the pro-war group to Israel caused serious arguments
in America. Patrick Buchanan's article, "Whose War?"
deals with information that appeared in the media about this subject.
"Is It Good for Jews?" an article that appeared in the
New York Times, discusses the benefits Israel will get from the
invasion of Iraq. The two articles in the National Review called
attention to the error of presenting all Jews as being pro-war.
In short, the real architects behind the invasion are Israel and its
American allies. At this stage, it once again becomes apparent that America's
Middle East policy is heavily influenced by Israel. Some radical Zionists
acting in Israel's interest exercise great influence over America's decision-making
mechanisms and convince Washington to act according to Israel's Middle
East strategy. Moreover, they do so while claiming that American and Israeli
interests are identical, despite the fact that American interests in the
Middle East are not compatible with supporting radical Zionists in Israel.
Just by doing so, the US manages to affront the entire Arab world. Its
interests would be better served by persuading Israel to moderate its
policies and make peace with the Arabs, with itself serving as a just
This same Israeli influence can be seen in the planning stage of the
invasion. The Israeli lobby misdirected the strategists who would come
to hold influential positions in the Bush administration so that they
would see the "need" to invade Iraq. However, this has caused new tensions
in the region and gradually opened the way for a military action that
caused the death of many innocent Iraqi civilians.
Irrespective of how much these strategists talk about American interests, in reality they are defending Israel's interests, because it is not in America's interest to fight with the entire Middle East and to offend and alienate its people. America does not have an anti-Islamic ideology and strategy, as some circles claim. As we stated before, America was one of the greatest allies of the Balkan (e.g., Bosnian, Kosovan, and Macedonian) Muslims who were exposed, during the 1990s, to Serbian atrocities. The only American "frontline" that negatively affects the Muslim masses is in the Middle East, due to certain officials who, under the influence of the incredibly powerful Israeli lobby, take a pro-Israeli stand in foreign policy. Once these officials are freed from such manipulation and thus enabled to assess the Middle East without bias, fairer policies will be developed.
This is the reason behind the American strategy of rearranging the Middle East, which the American administration enacted after 9/11. Israeli radicals, playing upon Israel's long-standing fear of annihilation, have long sought to rearrange the Middle East to make it a more controllable and safer region for Israel. With this goal in mind, they have exerted their influence over America and manipulated its Middle East policy for decades.
Palestine must be a land where Jews, Christians and Muslims can
live together in peace. It is possible to re-establish the security
that once prevailed in Palestine under Muslim rule.
In reality, it is not in Israel's interest to be in conflict with the Islamic world either. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have the right to worship as they wish in these lands, but the policies of atheistic Zionists influential in Israel oppress Muslims and worries Christians and Jews. It would be far better for the Israelis, as well as for all Middle Easterners, if Israel withdrew from the Occupied Territories and made true peace instead of being in a constant state of war with the entire Middle East. Therefore it is necessary, also for the safety of the 4.5 million Jewish citizens, to intellectually fight the atheistic Zionist philosophy that seeks to perpetrate war in the Middle East as well as to incite a clash of civilizations.
Atheistic Zionism, a racist, chauvinistic, and oppressive ideology, aims to force non-Jewish residents from Palestine or even to kill them. It also intensely oppresses devout Jewish people. However, the ongoing lack of knowledge and misinformation combine to prevent both Jews and Christians from realizing the truth about atheistic Zionism. It is the responsibility of every person working for world peace to show radical views’ danger to humanity at large. Genuinely religious Jews, along with conscientious Christians and Muslims, must unite to invite everyone to the righteous path. When people come to realize the truth about the fascist, social Darwinist, and oppressive ideology known as atheistic and radical Zionism, this large obstacle to world peace will be removed, and people who now advocate violence will become defenders of peace.
The Turkish-Islamic Union will be the salvation, not just of Palestine, which has suffered terribly for more than half a century, but also of Israel. Israel has effectively imprisoned itself behind giant walls, but will escape the predicament into which it has fallen by way of the justice, peacefulness and loving nature of the Turkish-Islamic Union, and peace and security will come to the whole region. These lands played host to friendship and brotherhood for 400 years under Ottoman rule. Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in brotherhood, worshiped as they pleased, settled where they wished, engaged in trade freely and lived in complete security. The only means whereby this beauty of the past can be brought back to life, in an even better form, is with the foundation of the Turkish-Islamic Union.
Both in Israel and America, many Jews advocate
peaceful coexistence with Muslims and that both sides make sacrifices
in order to establish this peace. Jews who advocate peace severely
criticize the Israeli policy of violence against the Palestinians
as well as the Iraqi war. In its website, Tikkun, a Jewish organization
in America, reveals the blunders of pre-emptive military action.
News about the anti-war demonstrations in Tel-Aviv in which both
Jews and Arabs participated (above left).
An article by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, "Why Jews Should Oppose
War on Iraq," stresses that Judaism is against all kinds
of violence and belligerence.
Jewish Religious Leaders Call for a Fast for Peace
This advertisement, prepared by the Shalom group, explains why sincerely
religious Jews have to oppose war.
Below is the text of the call, "Fast for Peace."
Rabbi Waskow (bottom left)
Ever since the beginning of the Iraqi crisis, religious leaders from
all over the world have made genuine efforts for peace. One such effort
was made by Rabbi Waskow, a leader of the peace organization Shalom, which
calls upon people to fast for peace. Many religious leaders of various
denominations joined in and once more demonstrated that Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam are all anti-war:
We call upon Americans to fast:
To reflect, to seek a truer peace, to pray
In the name of the God of compassion, Who commands us to
seek peace and justice
God calls on us all to seek peace and pursue it.
Yet with deep concern we see the danger that neither the
government of Iraq nor the government of the United States is taking
this calling as its primary goal
God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love
the stranger and the foreigner, to do nothing to others that would be
hateful to ourselves
God calls us to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe
the naked, heal the earth, free the mind and spirit
God calls us to reflect-to think, to feel, and to pray
before we act.
Yet we see that with no evidence of any imminent and urgent
danger, our government is rushing into a war that threatens to bring
death to many families-"our own" as well as those who live in another
country. A war that may engulf in rage and destruction an entire region
of the world, one that all our traditions hold especially dear
At this moment of great danger, we turn toward God
Saddam Hussein's Darwinian Ideology
Saddam Hussein is one of the many Arabs misled by the "Arab
socialism" that pervaded the Arab world in 1960s.
From the first day of the Iraqi invasion, the stated main goal was to
remove Saddam's regime. Such a strategy, irrespective of the offered justifications,
cannot be implemented successfully by military means. The lives lost during
the invasion prove that this choice was wrong and that it should have
never been made. However, it is also clear that Saddam was a dictator
who was damaging to the region and whose regime needed to be removed.
The radical Ba'th ideology made Saddam adopt a cruel policy even
toward his own citizens. However, in order to totally eliminate
the detrimental effects of this ideology, a cultural struggle
must be carried out against the ideologies in question.
Saddam Hussein is just one of many people who, in the 1960s, were led
astray by Arab socialism, which was sweeping through the Arab world at
that time. Arab socialism fused extreme fascism with a fanatic third world
leftist agenda supported by the Soviets. Stalinism, the Soviet version
of communism, stamped its mark upon the worldview of Arab socialists,
who developed aggressive, oppressive, and provocative policies. Saddam
was a leading Ba`th Party militant, the embodiment of this erroneous ideology
in Iraq. In his youth, he organized and carried out attacks on political
organizations and individuals opposed to the Ba`th movement through the
Jihaz Hanin (the Apparatus of Yearnings) terrorist organization. Following
the Ba`thists' first coup d'etat, an interrogation unit was formed under
Saddam's command and subjected its victims to horrific torture. It was
known that Saddam even devised new torture techniques.
Under the influence of the Stalinist ideology in which he fervently believed,
he became a ruthless and merciless dictator known for his cruelty. In
1980, he ignited a bloody 8-year war by invading Iran; 2 years after that
tragedy ended, he invaded Kuwait. He was violent with all domestic groups
and individuals that he considered potential threats, as his chemical
weapons attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja (northern Iraq) proved:
5,000 innocent people died. And, this was just one of his regime's crimes
All of this clearly proves that Saddam was not fit to rule Iraq. People
expect their leader to deliver peace, security, happiness, and prosperity,
as well as peace and stability both to their neighbors in particular and
the world in general.
Now that Saddam and his regime have been removed from power, the post-invasion
strategies are crucially important. It is not enough to portray Saddam
as a tyrant for a lasting peace to appear in the Middle East. What is
needed is an analysis that can correct the conditions and ideologies that
led him to tyranny. What made Saddam a bloody dictator was the Ba`thist
ideology and the fascist culture that sought to resolve all issues with
force or even bloodshed. A comprehensive education campaign and enlightened
policies are needed if the Arab world is to be cleansed of this ideology
and culture, both of which must make way for a civilized generation and
people who are compassionate, loving, and humanitarian, as required by
Islamic morality. In a society that practices this morality, such problems
will not be encountered.
It must not be forgotten that this provocative ideology and culture does
not just exist in Baghdad, but also is found in many other regions-often
under the guise of religion. Its real solution lies in telling people
of the true religious morality in an effective way.
Achieving Law and Order
Some circles in the American government
seek to secure stability and order in the Middle East through war.
If their policies are followed, wars will follow one another and
the so-called goal of establishing security will bring the entire
region closer to war. However, establishing the Islamic Union will
eliminate the possibility of war and thus enable a permanent order
It is highly probable that the Iraqi invasion will cause wide-ranging and prolonged instability in the Middle East. It appears that circles with influence over American policy at the period when the invasion started wanted to rearrange the whole Middle East, and even the Caucasus and Southeast Asia, if necessary, by war. Some members of the then American administration expressed the view that "America could take action against '40-50 countries'," by which they divulged such plans.32 Irving Kristol,
a PNAC participant, argued that "it is always a positive sign when the
American people are prepared to go to war,33 which
is another example of this mentality. All of this means that even those
who devise these plans will probably not live long enough to see the end
of this continued state of war.
This state of war, which will drag the world into pain and destruction,
will rock the world order and deeply affect the people in the region and
mankind as a whole. As we pointed out earlier, America and all other nations
have the right to protect their national interests and to take precautions
against situations endangering their security. But like all nations, America,
as the only superpower, must use this right on the basis of ensuring world
order and peace. The national security strategies of all countries, especially
America, must comply with international law in order to prevent arbitrary
actions. Also, when issues like terrorism threaten world security, multilateral
cooperation and international alliances increase the chances for peace.
Reducing tension and resolving conflict by supporting moderate and democratic
forces, instead of trying to suppress violence with violence, must become
the way forward. If we want to make the twenty-first century one in which
all people's prosperity and security are guaranteed, all leaders must
drop any ambition of creating a world order in which only the strong rule
and have rights by means of continuous warfare.
Both America and other Western nations, as well as all Muslim nations,
want potential threats to world peace to be eliminated, wish for economic
stability, call for the strengthening of democratic regimes, demand an
end to human rights abuses, seek to end all forms of tyranny over people's
lives, and seek a better quality of life and an equal share of world's
rich natural resources. Some strategists portray Muslims as the intended
targets, which, in addition to affronting the entire Islamic world, is
an equally dangerous and flawed strategy. People who interpret religion
wrongfully are susceptible to myths and false beliefs and become extremists
by moving against the grain of religion. Such people, who can be found
among Muslims, Jews, and Christians, are all a great danger to world peace.
Removing this danger is only possible by preventing extremism and forming
an alliance of all moderate, peace-loving, civilized, and sincerely religious
people. Only such an alliance can weaken the influence of those who present
war as the only option and believe, erroneously, that it guarantees security.
Thus, even more bloodshed, tears, and financial losses will be prevented.
God calls to the Abode of Peace, and He guides whom He wills to
a straight path.
In order to create this alliance, Westerners need to abandon their prejudices,
come to really know and understand the Islamic world, and formulate joint
policies that will help it develop. All parties can eradicate mutual misunderstandings
by means of educational and cultural programs, for radicalism is the result
of ignorance. While these educational projects will enable the West to
understand Islam better, the myths and false beliefs anchored in the Islamic
world will be done away with so that mutual tolerance and understanding
will take root. Hate, anger, and malevolence will be replaced by peace,
tolerance, and security. The resulting culture of peaceful coexistence
will lead to peace between different civilizations, and cultural sympathy
and interaction will deliver social progress, contrary to the claims of
those who advocate a clash of civilizations.
Clearly, the Islamic world needs a culture of tolerance just as much as the West. From time to time, some Muslims come under the influence of bigoted views that make them hostile to people of other religious denominations or ethnic groups, even though this is against the Qur'an's morality and the Sunnah of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace). Throughout history, Islamic societies were centers of justice and tolerance, especially at the time of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace). Ever since that time, history has been full of examples of oppressed Christians and Jews seeking refuge in Muslim lands, known for their compassion and protection. Bearing this in mind, especially at a time when peace is so badly needed, Muslims need to develop exemplary models based on the prophetic Sunnah and the Qur'an's values. These models will develop the Islamic world's core values and deprive all foreign powers of their ability to claim that they will bring stability and democracy to the Islamic world. Rather, the Turkish Islamic Union will lead the way.
Muslims and the People of the Book
In the Qur'an, God calls Jews and Christians the "People of the Book" and reveals in detail how the Muslims should interact with them. From the birth of Islam onward, tolerance and mutual understanding between Muslims and the People of the Book have usually been very good, for even though their holy books and some of their beliefs have been tampered with, they still have many moral values and concepts based upon divine revelation. The Qur'an encourages respectful and civilized conduct between Muslims and the People of the Book. For example, Muslims can eat their food and vice versa, and Muslim men can marry their women (Surat al-Ma’ida: 5). These rules show that it is possible for individuals belonging to these three religious communities to have friendly and neighborly relations, bond as relatives, and accept each other's invitations to share a meal.
Only argue with the People of the Book 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
Our Prophet, (may God bless him and grant him peace), was always just
and compassionate to Jews and Christians and sought to establish an atmosphere
of mutual tolerance and love among all members of these divinely revealed
religions. During his lifetime, he made agreements and gave assurances
that the Christians and Jews could practice their religions freely and
continue their existence in autonomous communities. In the early years
of Islam, some of the Muslims who had endured Makkan oppression and cruelty
sought refuge with Negus, the Christian king of Ethiopia, with the Prophet's
(may God bless him and grant him peace) blessing. On the other hand, the
believers who migrated to Madinah with him developed a model of coexistence
that became an example for all succeeding generations. In the period of
Islam's growth, this entered history as an example of Muslim tolerance
and justice toward Jews and Christians.
For instance, the text of an agreement dictated by our
Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) and written down by the
Christian Ibn Harris b. Ka`b and his fellow Christians stated: "The religion,
churches, lives, chastity and goods of all Christians living in the East
and the West are under the protection of God, the Prophet and all believers.
None of those living by Christianity will be forced to turn to Islam.
If any Christian is subjected to any killing or injustice, Muslims must
help him."34 And then read this verse from the Qur'an:
"Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way, saying,
'We believe in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to
you." (Surat al-‘Ankabut: 46)
Numerous accounts relate that our Prophet (may God bless him and grant
him peace) attended Jewish and Christian wedding receptions, visited their
sick, and hosted them generously. When the Christians of Najran visited
him, he spread out his cloak and asked them to be seated thereon. His
marriage to the Egyptian Christian Maria is an example of this mentality.
Following his death, the good treatment accorded to the People of the
Book had at its heart the same tolerance that the Prophet (may God bless
him and grant him peace) had shown toward these two communities throughout
Muslims Treated the People of the Book with Tolerance
Christianity was born on Palestinian soil but spread towards present-day
Syria and Iraq because of the Christian church's oppressive rule. When
our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) began to teach Islam,
there were many Jewish and Christian communities in southern Arabia. Therefore,
from the very beginning of Islam, Muslims, Jews, and Christians maintained
With the spread and strengthening of Islam, the region's
Jews and Christians came under Muslim rule. Relations based upon tolerance
and mutual understanding continued, and various agreements made at the
time of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) granted the
Jewish and Christian communities certain privileges that guaranteed their
rights and existence. The privileges granted to the the monks of the St.
Catherine Monastery at Mt. Sinai are examples of this. These documents
guaranteed the legal, religious, and social rights of those Jews and Christians
who came under Muslim rule or acknowledged Islam's sovereignty. Problems
were resolved by referring to these documents. For example, the history
books mention that the Christians in Damascus presented the documents
recording their privileges to Caliph Umar when they encountered a problem
and asked him to resolve the issue accordingly.35
O You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing
witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you
into not being just. Be just. That is closer to heedfulness. Have
fear of God. God is aware of what you do.
God commands you to return to their owners
the things you hold on trust and, when you judge between people,
to judge with justice. How excellent is what God exhorts you to
do! God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Qur'an, 4:58)
The caliphs who succeeded the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him
peace) practiced God's justice according to the prophetic Sunnah. In the
conquered lands, both the native population and the new arrivals lived
in peace and security. For example, Abu Bakr, the first caliph, gave the
following command to his army before sending them toward Syria:
Stop, O people, that I may give you ten
rules to keep by heart: Do not commit treachery nor depart from the
right path. You must not mutilate, nor kill a child or an aged man or
woman. Do not destroy a palm tree, nor burn it with fire, and do not
cut any fruitful tree. You must not slay any of the flocks or herds
or camels, save for your subsistence. You are likely to pass by people
who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them to that
to which they have devoted their lives. You are likely, likewise, to
find people who will present to you meals of many kinds. You may eat,
but do no forget to mention the name of God.36
The rapid growth of Islam brought Byzantine-ruled Syria and Egypt, as
well as Sassanid-ruled Iraq, under Muslim rule. Each of these regions
had large Christian populations. These Jews and Christians witnessed first
hand the Muslims' justice and compassion. None of them were asked or pressured
to change their religions or traditions. No practice or intervention that
would have altered the existing social order or unsettled them was permitted.
Various Christian sects that were being oppressed by Rome or Byzantium
actually preferred Muslim rule. The Western historian Phillip K. Hitti
Under the stimulus of Islam, the East
now awoke and reasserted itself after a millennium of Western domination.
Moreover, the tribute exacted by the new conquerors [Muslims] was even
less than that exacted by the old, and the conquered could now pursue
their religious practices with more freedom and less interference.37
According to Princeton scholar and author Samuel Moffet:
Under the patriarchal caliphs and all
through the turbulent years of the civil wars, apart from the killings
and horrors to be expected in any war, treatment of Christians in the
[Muslim] conquered territories of Persia and Byzantine Syria proved
to be remarkably generous.38
When examining their social and religious lives under Islamic rule, the
following picture emerges:
On Islamic territory, true freedom of religion existed. No one was forced
to change his or her religion, and communities that rebelled and came
back later under the authority of Islam were given the same rights as
before. The Islamic authority, save for a few exceptions, never intervened
in the election of patriarchs or the appointment of religious authority,
and guaranteed not to intervene by signing various agreements. These communities
continued to speak their own languages in their private lives as well
as in their religious lives. For instance, the Nestorians who left the
Byzantine church chose to leave their Greek language also for the Suryani
(Assyrian) language, and were free to do so. In the Christian and Jewish
schools, religious education continued freely, and monasteries and other
institutions that educated the community's future religious leaders preserved
their autonomous status. Likewise, the sanctuaries of other religious
denominations were protected by the Muslim authorities. During the conquest,
places of worship were never harmed, for synagogues and churches were
guaranteed protection by agreements made with the People of the Book from
the time of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace).
In agreements dating back to the initial period of Islam, clauses allowed
Muslims to stay in monasteries while traveling. This shows that Muslims
sought to develop a dialogue based on mutual respect with the People of
the Book. Moreover, these communities were also permitted to rebuild derelict
churches or build new synagogues and churches when they wished. For instance,
the St. Sergius monastery outside Madain was destroyed by Patriarch Mar
Emme (644-647 CE) but rebuilt at the time of caliph Uthman. Many such
examples can be cited: Uqba, the governor of Egypt, helped build a monastery
for the Nestorians; during Mu`awiya's reign a church in Edessa was renovated,
and the Marcos church was commissioned in Alexandria. The fact that churches
and synagogues in Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq still remain
is an indicator of the Muslim's respect for other divinely revealed religions.
Another example of Muslim tolerance is the Monastery of Mt. Sinai, one
of Christianity's important pilgrimage sites.
The source of the Muslim's tolerance is the Qur'an's morality, which
if God had not driven some people back by means of others, 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
(Surat al-Hajj: 40)
The People of the Book were free to celebrate their festivities as part
of their religious tradition in their places of worship as they wished,
and Muslim leaders often joined these celebrations. The Nestorian Patriarch
Isho'yab III (650-60 CE) wrote a letter to the Bishop of Persia following
the Muslim conquest that voices the Muslim leadership's compassion and
tolerance toward the People of the Book from a Christian perspective:
The Arabs to whom God has given at this
time the government of the world
do not persecute the Christian religion.
Indeed, they favour it, honour our priests and the saints of the Lord
and confer benefits on churches and monasteries.39
Say: “O People of the Book! Come
to a proposition which is the same for us and you – that
we should worship none but God and not associate any partners
with Him and not take one another as lords besides God”...
… There is a community among the People of the Book who
are upright. They recite God’s Signs throughout the night,
and they prostrate. They believe in God and the Last Day, enjoin
the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They
are among the righteous.
Besides these freedoms and respect, the justice and fairness with which
these non-Muslim communities were treated is remarkable too. The Muslim
leaders' sense of justice was renowned, and many Christians brought their
cases to the Islamic courts even though they had their own courts. At
one time, the number of Christians using Islamic courts reached such high
numbers that the Nestorian patriarch Mar Timothee I (780-825 CE) issued
a declaration warning Christians.
The People of the Book living in Muslim-ruled lands were not considered
captives, but dhimmis, which gave them a legal status: non-Muslim people
who recognized Muslim authority paid a jizya tax. In return, their lives
and property were protected, they enjoyed freedom of thought and religion,
were exempted from military service, and allowed to resolve their internal
affairs by their own laws. From time to time, the jizya tax was even returned
to them. A majority of historians recognize the fact that the dhimmis
lived under a tolerant and just system. The renowned historian Bernard
But by and large their [dhimmi's] position
was infinitely superior to that of those communities who differed from
the established church in western Europe in the same period. They enjoyed
the free exercise of their religion. 40
People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to you, making clear
to you much of the Book that you have kept concealed, and passing
over a lot. A light has come to you from God and a clear Book.
By it, God guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways
Our Prophet (may God
bless him and grant him peace) said: "On the Day of Judgment
I will dispute with anyone who oppresses a person from among the People
of the Covenant [i.e., a Dhimmi], or infringes on his right, or puts a
responsibility on him which is beyond his strength, or takes something
from him against his will,"41 thereby
describing the correct attitude toward dhimmis. In line with this morality,
Muslims considered it one of their important responsibilities to protect
the non-Muslims under their authority. During a war with the Byzantine
army, our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) ordered that
the tax collected from non-Muslims be returned, for the Muslim army was
unable to protect them.42 This is the type of morality
that he taught Muslims. Another good example of compassion and consideration
is Umar's words to an old dhimmi woman: "By God, we would
not be fair if we take from him when he is young and disgrace him when
he is old."43 Taking the jizya only
from non-Muslims is not unjust, because Muslims had to serve in the army;
non-Muslims were exempt from military service.
For centuries, Muslims lived side by side with Jews and Christians in
peace and security. Those Jews and Christians who lived in Muslim-ruled
lands engaged in free trade and acquired property, chose their desired
profession, held offices in the state bureaucracy, and even worked in
the ruler's palace. They benefited from the official policy of freedom
of thought, were part of their society's scientific and cultural life,
and wrote books that we still have today. The exercise of their rights
was not challenged or prevented. Considering that at the same time in
Europe people belonging to other religions or non-Orthodox sects were
cast out, persecuted, and killed, and books that published different views
were burned in piles, the freedoms and peace that reigned in the Islamic
world becomes even more significant.
All of these practices are requirements of the Qur'an's morality prescribed
for Muslims. Peace and security were the norms in the lands administered
by Muslims practicing this morality. Muslim administrations sought the
people's happiness and prosperity and developed systems that set the standards
for generations to come. The Islamic world of today needs to return to
the Qur'an's morality and our Prophet's (may God bless him and grant him
All of these historic facts point to another important matter: Remodeling
the Islamic world according to the Qur'an's values is not only important
for Muslims, but also for all members of other religious denominations
living here as well as for members of all civilizations, especially those
living in the West. The existence of strong nations based on the Qur'an's
values will remove the West's concerns about the Islamic world and become
one of the cornerstones of world peace.
... Each one believes in God 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.”
Among the people of the Book are some who believe in God, in what
has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and
who are humble before God. They do not sell God’s Signs
for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their