The age of responsibility

The age of responsibility

The German authorities have banned the carrying of posters that had cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad at the Leipzig rally organized by the fanatical anti-Islam PEGIDA movement.

Isn’t this a restriction of freedom of expression? Leipzig German authorities explained it as such: “We think that, after the Paris incidents, these caricatures will be tools for provocation.”

Yes, true. These cartoons have exceeded freedom of speech and have become “tools of provocation.” Terror in the name of religion and Islamophobia fuel each other.

The dark clouds of disaster of Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations,” published in 1996, are now seen on the horizon.

Islamophobic movements have spread in Europe. Both Muslims and Europeans should refrain from provocative attitudes and develop a culture of co-existence.

It was exemplary that the imam of the Drancy neighborhood of Paris, Hassen Chalghoumi, was one of the first people who rushed to the scene when the barbaric terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo office was made. It was also to be applauded that Turkish imams in Germany started a quiet guard duty in front of the offices of several newspapers and magazines to give the message of “freedom of expression and tolerance.”

It is also very nice that churches are making statements against Islamophobia and European statesmen called for co-existence.

The fact that the radical Islamists in Europe are mostly Arabic and Pakistani origin, and that Turks generally stay away from these streams, is noteworthy. This is a positive result of the fact that Islam was molded with respect to the state during the Ottoman era, and also because of the Islamic understanding encouraged by the republic's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) model.

In societies that lack a state tradition like ours and where there is no 150-year-old practice of modernization, then rage and radicalism can flourish easily. For example, the state was never able to control the madrasas (religious schools) in Pakistan, and medieval education continued. 

Islamic scholar Fazlur Rahman of Pakistan said that after the abandoning of Sufism (Islamic mysticism), which constituted the moral and spiritual essence of Islam, the situation evolved as follows: “These organizations that lacked the depth, and thus the tolerance, of the former Sufi sects, are moving toward narrow-mindedness and intolerance. Moreover, they are adopting methods that belong to communism and fascism, threatening the presence of the state.”

Radicalism and bigotry

Israel’s cruelty in Palestine, and then the following war in Afghanistan, have fueled this trend completely. The ideologist for those who enact terror in the name of Islam, Abdullah Azzam, from Palestine, in his book “Jihad and Islam,” associated “jihad” - which should mean self-training and an effort for goodness - with the terror methods of communist and fascist organizations.

The field that bred the terrorist movements led by the Azzams, bin Ladens, Ayman Zevahiris, and al-Qaedas, was Afghanistan. And they spread like a plague wherever there were clashes or chaos in the world.

Those who were excluded in the suburbs of the West embraced, with rage, this new definition of “jihad.”

The West should see that Islamophobia might be bringing even more disasters. The extreme right cannot be the defense of the West; it can only be its suicide.

The same responsibility is applicable for Muslims as well. In order to see what kind of a disaster radicalism and bigotry are, it is enough to just take a look at the regions where Islam is prevalent.

If we do not want the 21st century to be bathed in blood, then we should make it the “age of responsibility” against violence and fanaticism, both for Muslims and Westerners.