By Haşmet Babaoğlu
20 June 2014
The groups that presumed the rise of Islamophobia post-9/11 would prevent Muslims' integration with the West are now beginning to understand their mistakes.
The idea of "West versus Islam" is too sharp a distinction.
It might have hurt Muslims living in the West but it also increased the allure of political Islam for the masses facing the West's neo-colonialists.
The items of popular culture suggesting "Muslims are terrorists," have begun to fade from memory, with the 9/11 images almost sepia tinted.
Also, the interest shown in Islam increased more and more in academia and among the "unhappy" intellectual groups of the West.
Besides, the rapid progress in digital communication technologies succeeded in forming relations between the leading Western societies and the peripheries of the Islamic world.
Uneasy neoconservatives and chronic anti-Islamists developed a new plan which would alienate the West from Islam and undermine the Muslims' reluctance to secularize. In 2005, Washington discussed a strategy called "Islam against Islam" in detail. It was even emphasized that the West might have to take the risk of having "necessary pain" in economic terms to achieve this.
These thoughts, which were shelved when neoconservatives were politically defeated, were revived and tabled again from 2010.
Today, this plan might be implemented throughout the Middle East from northern Pakistan to Nigeria, and from Syria to Iraq.
This is a vicious strategy forcing a Muslim to bow his head and remain silent when an ordinary and naive Western man asks "Are the Muslims always in conflict with each other and shedding blood?"
The focus of the "Islam versus Islam" strategy is doubtlessly the sectarian conflicts. The sects are the Achilles' heel of the Islamic world and the West knows well all too well how to aim at it for its own interests.
Now we are on the brink of a critical process. The current situation of Iraq clearly illustrates it. But we were supposed to be ready for this.
We were supposed to be alert when a chaotic conflict atmosphere was triggered as the Free Syrian Army was suddenly and unexpectedly left alone by the West. When Ikhwan, which had a considerable political experience and aimed at both Sunni compromise and peace among the sects, were thrown away by the Egyptian coup, we were supposed to start an earth-shattering revolt.
Unfortunately, it did not happen. We could explain our concerns to the world. Turkey unfortunately was alone on the subjects of Syria and Egypt. It could not express its problems and future anxieties on these matters.
But Turkey made a mistake in that. The country could not see and interpret the monkey business in the background of the Salafi organizations supported by the West's best Arabic companions in the Middle East. It underestimated the situation. And now we are on the brink of a sectarian conflict, one which our Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said two years ago would be a suicide attempt for the region.
The Western media is constantly supporting the images of "Muslims decapitating each other."
Meanwhile, I would not be surprised if secular Turks would demand the breaking of all ties with the Middle East since they do not like the region at all.
The U.S., Europe and Israel, on the other hand, are waiting for the next move, rubbing their hands in glee.
The only thing that could stop this dangerous course of events is to collaborate for peace in the region with the leadership of Turkey and the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. I hope any international group is aware of this fact.