Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Converting to Islam

Mike L.

Say hello to my new friend Ceylan Özbudak.

 I had never heard of this young lady before today but, damn, she certainly makes an excellent first impression.
Ceylan Özbudak is a Turkish peace activist. She graduated from Istanbul University as a language major and is Executive Director and TV host on A9 TV, a satellite TV network based in Istanbul. Ceylan also hosts the Building Bridges Show, which has featured many prominent Middle East experts, authors, academician and religious leaders.
I have to say, she doesn't much look like a "peace activist."  I mean, I've known quite a few "peace activists" in my time and... well... never mind.

So, today I published a brief piece at the Times of Israel and so, naturally, I found myself noodling around that site when I came across Ceylan.  She's apparently a media personality out of Istanbul and she's started up a blog for TOI.

Her first piece is entitled, As a Muslim I say Hamas is harming Palestine.

She writes:
If the Palestinians wish to enjoy greater justification, the way to do this is not by slaughtering innocent people on the other side. Such attacks during a state of peace will attract a reprisal anywhere in the world. Civilian people in Israel are living in fear in shelters due to the rockets fired from Gaza. There has been blind conflict between the two sides for many years now; the children of Israel on the one side and the children of Ishmael on the other. These two peoples that should be living side by side in peace in those ancient, lovely lands are fighting one another instead.
Well, as a Jew I say that not only is Hamas harming Palestine, but that I am ready to move to Istanbul.

She writes:
As a Muslim I am reaching out with love and compassion to the people of Israel and the people of Palestine who are both our brothers. As Muslims, we should work together and strive for a union among our brothers living in the Holy Lands. Turkey and Israel working together hand in hand, will be a step toward the establishment of a new pact.
I don't mean to be too flip, really, and I certainly do not mean disrespect to Ms. Özbudak, but every once in awhile you run across something completely unexpected. I would say that Ceylan Özbudak is, as testament to my ignorance, completely unexpected. Here we have an amazingly beautiful Turkish Muslim media personality who also happens to be pro-Israel. The truth is that she represents a human type that I have simply not met before.

This is a person, whatever else anyone may make of her, that blows cultural stereotypes right out of the water.  I am a little surprised that the Turkish government allows Ceylan to be Ceylan.  Given its tension with Israel, and the fact that Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly of the Jihadi persuasion, it reveals something of the complexity of Turkish society that Ceylan is, at least for the moment, free to be herself.

Beautiful, blonde, Turkish, Muslim, and pro-Israel.

I'm sorry, but how often do we run into this?


{I am just speechless.}

So, anyway, my bags are packed and Ceylan says that she'll pick me up at Atatürk International upon my arrival.

I wish you guys nothing but the best and... y'know... Salaam Alaikum, my brothers.

Peace be unto you.


  1. Laurie is gonna kick your ass.

    1. The first thing that I said to her when I saw her this evening was, "Hi, Schmooops. I have good news and I have bad news..."


  2. If you get a chance, send me back some qisir and eksili ayran. Thanks!

    Oh, and what Stuart said. ;)

  3. I saw this when I was there making comments that seem not to get posted. We need more of people like this, who have great credibility, and we should support them as individuals and as a country, which too many human rights advocates fail to do.

    1. This, of course, may be due to the fact that those who call themselves "human rights advocates" and whatnot, the loudest, are in reality anything but...

      Re: TOI comments, I noticed that when I tried posting under a different account I generally couldn't, but the Facebook comments posted instantaneously. So I signed up for Facebook again, which I didn't want to do, but whatever. Clearly, other commenting options there do work for some, though...

    2. I thought I was using the facebook entry, as they show up on my page. I had a comment slip in, but most reach the cutting floor. Strange, actually, because there is nothing wrong with any of them.

    3. Yeah, that is strange then. I tried yahoo at first, a few months ago, and had trouble. No problems with Facebook, though.

    4. For the life of me, School, I have not the slightest idea why your comments are not getting posted and, in fact, this is pissing me off.

      I do not know what is up with their commenting system, but they will hear from me about it.