By İhsan Yilmaz
January 09, 2015
As I wrote here in my previous piece, many radical Islamists and Islamophobes are mirror images of each other. They want to divide the world into two diametrically opposing, antagonistic and constantly belligerent political camps: “Dar al-Harb” and “Dar al-Islam.” They hate co-existence. They hate interdependence. They detest mutually beneficial and productive relationships in an increasingly globalized and shrinking world that faces common, clear, present and imminent dangers and problems.
On the one hand, they both want to prove that Islam is an intolerant, exclusive, hostile, anti-pluralist, anti-democratic, anti-secularism and anti-human rights. And on the other hand, they both want to prove that the West is entirely anti-Muslim, crusader, hostile to Islamic culture and civilization, imperialist and belligerent. They both try to prove their case by focusing only the marginal and radical and carefully ignore the fact that overwhelming majorities in both Muslim majority countries and the Western ones are happy with coexistence and are tolerant of each other.
France has the largest Muslim minority in the West. Almost 10 percent of its population is Muslim. This is the highest figure in the Western world. It is true that many Muslims suffer from discrimination, socio-economic deprivation and so on, but the majority of them have successfully integrated to the wider society and neither the wider society nor the state have purposefully tried to make life difficult for Muslims. On the contrary, when you compare Muslim-majority countries' treatment to their own Muslims citizens with the treatment that the French Muslims get, the leaders of the Muslim countries must be ashamed of themselves. France, despite its tradition of assertive secularism, has in one way or another embraced Muslims and, unlike Turkey, has not tried to create a "French Islam" with a top-down engineering by using the state power. Similar to several other bright Western experiences in this regard, France has been an exemplary country showing that Muslims and Islam can flourish in modern, secular, Western milieus.
Nevertheless, nowadays the country has been shaken with radical Islamist rage that wants to terrorize the French people so that they hate Islam and Muslims. These radical Islamists are not happy with dialogue between different cultures and religionists. They know that they or their politician backers will lose power in their constituencies if there is not a Huntingtonian clash between Islam and the West. They know by experience that they have ascended to and stay in power by making their people busy with the hatred of the outsiders, the other, the West, the non-Muslim, etc.
They know that as soon as their peoples do not have these external enemies, they will start asking questions of these secular autocratic or Islamist authoritarian, but always of kleptocratic, nepotist, perverted, ineffective and impotent regimes.
That is why, instead of mainly focusing on the internal weaknesses, deficiencies and problems of the Muslim countries, they keep attacking the West. For instance, they keep talking about Islamophobia and expect that nobody will see how they are engaged with and constantly fuel “Westophobia,” “Christianophobia,” “Judaeophobia” and “anti-Semitism.” I am not saying that Islamophobia does not exist and we must blame the victims. But is this really the biggest problem of the Muslims in the West and Muslims all over the world? Why do not we ponder on this problem, which is a pain in the neck: why our Muslims societies, cultures, countries, milieus and polities keep producing vandals, corrupt rulers, tyrants, violence-lovers, Islam-abusers and terrorists?
We all know that Islam never tolerates such sinful acts. We know very well that neither the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) nor his companions resorted tp such evil nor demon acts. We know that Islam is a religion of peace and that our Prophet was merciful to the universes. We know that, as Fethullah Gülen has taught us, a terrorist cannot be a Muslim and a Muslim cannot be a terrorist. So there must be something wrong. Blaming Western imperialism, the Crusades, international dark conspiracies, etc. is like blaming Satan for our personal sins.
Unless we have sincerely come to terms with our systematic, hereditary, inherent, internal and millennial problems, we will never be able to defeat these terrorists, who keep blackening the innocent face of Islam, the religion.