Monday, December 3, 2012

Ceylan Özbudak Has Some Words

Editor's note - When I say that I appreciate alternative viewpoints, I mean that sincerely.  Ceylan gave me permission to reprint this at Israel Thrives and I very much hope that you guys will receive it, despite whatever disagreements, in the spirit within which it was written. - Mike L.

Peace has a special character. A maturity of its own, usually derived from the true teachings of the three Abrahamic religions. Peace has a different indoctrination, a specific teaching. The language of peace has a personality. In societies conflict brings other conflicts. This is because people have pride and do not give in for the greater good. If people are forced to accept something, they will not only not accept it but also apply force in return and the conflict goes on endlessly. Whereas love has the power to solve them all. Love soothes people and calms them down. It eases tensions between other parties, thus causes the conflicts to be solved in a warm environment. Everyone is calm where there is compassion and love.

In order to be able to agree on something, both sides should avoid destructive language. During the recent unrest between Israel and Palestine, what Hamas has done by starting the conflict is totally in opposition to the Qur’an. First of all, there was a treaty between Hamas and Israel, and according to the Qur’an, they cannot violate a peace treaty. The Qur’an gives permission to one side to defend themselves only when the other side violates the treaty. As Muslims, Hamas should not have violated this treaty. Some of the rockets Hamas have fired were aimed at the Dome of Rock and the tombs of the Prophets. Moreover, 20% of Israel’s population is Muslims. Those rockets could also have taken the lives of Muslims living in that region. Besides, how could they have fired rockets to a sacred place like Jerusalem? These are all against Islam religion. Islam does not command breaking a treaty and killing of innocent lives. It commands reconciliation by peaceful means. Yet Hamas’ people are convinced that they are acting in line with the commandments of Islam. In truth they are acting on superstition. They think they know the commandments of the Qur’an, but they do not read it with an unbiased mind. They act on what they have learnt from a few scholars and what their parents have told them. They are unaware of the true teachings of Islam.

One other point that I’d like to draw attention is that calling the current government in Gaza “terrorists” is also not a way to solve the conflict, either. If they are kept being told they are terrorists, in the end they will say, “Very well, then we are terrorists. And then what?!”. At that point they might make a pact with the extremists who support the existence of a never-ending conflict.

We have to call these people to the true teachings of the Qur’an. We have to tell them “You are Muslims; think about what are you doing. You have to come to your senses and see at the commandments of the Qur’an, this is unlawful!”

According to Islam religion, the people of the Book, Jews and Christians, are entrusted to Muslims. It is a Muslims duty to provide them with security and well being. The Muslim world seems to have forgotten that it was Khalifa Omar who brought Jews back to Jerusalem after their exile in the 5th Century AD and he gave security and safety to the city’s Christians and Jews. A Muslim’s interaction with them starts with “salaam”. Just like “shalom”, it means “peace”.

Some of our Muslim brothers oppose the existence of Israel in the region. First of all, damnation of the name Israel is a sin because Israel is the name of a Prophet and all Prophets are holy for Muslims. However, they forget that in the Qur’an Allah says the Jews have a right to live in the Holy Land and it is in destiny that they will be there. Allah says in the Qur’an to the Israelites “…so dwell in this land and when the promise of the end of days comes to be fulfilled, We shall assemble you altogether there ”. (The Qur’an, 17:104)

Both sides should refrain from any additional escalation. We have to avoid ratcheting up the tensions any further. Additionally, Israel has to collaborate with Turkey as an independent state and help establish a union in the region. Then there will be a major climate of peace in the region and peace will prevail in the Middle East. There is no other option. This will not only relieve Israel of its economic difficulties, but also its existence in the region will not face any opposition, both of which cannot be provided by short-term solutions. Besides Turkey can reach out to the Arab countries in a way that Israel can’t.

Peace has its own indoctrination. We should focus on speaking of the possibility and beauty of peace rather than engaging in warmongering. Israeli Jews have been living with a large Muslim population for decades now and this alone shows both parties are able to get along perfectly. The sons of Ishmael and the sons of Jacob have to refer to each other in a much more uniting attitude rather than a dividing one. They should keep the communication channels open. Both sides should inspire love and place trust in each other and focus on a shared history of thousands of years rather than their differences.
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.


  1. Issues, for me, are:

    1. The Muslim belief that people are entrusted is problematic.

    2. The concept of defense practiced in Islam seems far different than Westerners understand. It includes the right to violence for a cartoon.

    3. Is there a concept of abrogation with regard to the Qu'ran? Peaceful words are great, but what about the words that are extremely violent toward non-believers and those who wish to leave the faith, or women who desire individual rights?

    4. How should people who engage in acts of terror and war crimes be identified?

    That said, I appreciate the author's attempts to raise awareness, particularly among Muslims, that they have responsibility and can choose a different way, even if they won't for some of the issues indicated above.

  2. This is a beautiful piece Mike. Thanks for posting it.

    1. We're considering a spring ceremony, perhaps in Antalya.


    2. btw, Stuart,

      for the life of me I still cannot understand why you would support Obama's hard-line, conservative foreign policy.

      I thought that you are a liberal.

    3. I'm not sure which hard-line, conservative foreign policy you're referring to. (Please don't explain again that he helped the Muslim Brotherhood take control, which is somehow less liberal than a non-elected dictator) And when taken as a whole, his policies, economic, social, and foreign, are significantly more liberal than the alternatives.

    4. Why should I not point out the fact that the Obama administration supports the most hard-line conservative political movement in the world today?

      This is a political movement that is so conservative that it is not above stoning women to death, for chrissake, and yet this administration supports it.

      And please don't tell me that Obama's support for political Islam somehow doesn't count as support.

    5. But...but...but RRRRRRROMMMMNEY!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAGGGGGCCCGGGGGhhhhh!!!!!! /kos

  3. I mean, really, Stuart, there must come a point where you face reality.

    In Obama's Sept 25 speech before the UNGA he says it directly:

    It's been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that's taken place, and the United -- the United States has supported the forces of change.

    Do you still honestly think that the Arab Spring was the great upwelling of Middle Eastern democracy?

    Or was it, perhaps, something else.

    1. Maybe it developed into something else. It may be some sort of democracy, I don't really know. Ask me a few years from now after constitutions are in place. I'm not terribly optimistic. But I think the argument that Obama has supported change, and therefore must be in favor of hard-line conservative politcs lacks any semblance of logic. It's grasping at straws.

    2. Is there any accountability for having supported change that many could see would result in an authoritarian state based on religious ideology?

    3. Stuart, if someone supports a movement that means that they support the movement.

      A = A.

      He said quite specifically that he supports the political movement that we call the "Arab Spring."

      This is not "grasping at straws" but facing reality as it is.

      On September 25, 2012, Obama stood before the world community and said that he supports this movement.

      And all I am saying is that Obama supports this movement.

      Yet, somehow, you disagree with both of us.

      Truth is not a function of one's political inclinations and hopes. Truth can sometimes be difficult to know, but sometimes there is enough overwhelming evidence that one can claim, yes, this is true.

      But, needless to say, you are under no obligation to acknowledge that which is obvious.

  4. Here's a pic you might like Mike

    1. Thanks, Doodad.

      G-d only knows how many Egyptians are absolutely horrified at the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in their country.

      The Brotherhood are Nazis.

      Their history goes to the Nazis and, yet, they have the support of the president of the United States.

      I simply do not understand why left diaspora Jewry cannot speak the truth as it is.

    2. There must be millions of Egyptians that do not want to end up like the Germans, living in totalitarianism.

      That said, supporting "forces of change" does not mean that Obama is a proponent of the MB.

      He should have been more specific and clear about the change, however, and more proactive in speaking out against the Islamic ideology.

    3. School,

      if the "forces of change" are the Muslim Brotherhood and Obama supports these "forces of change" than by logical necessity it means that he supports the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Now, it is possible that when Barack Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood... which is an organization that, itself, supports the oppression of the Copts and of women, the murder of Gay people, and the genocide of the Jews... he may have thought that these were Jeffersonian democrats interested in the Rights of Man.

      I suppose that's possible, but that would make the guy a complete moron, would it not?

      So either the guy knowingly supports genocidal fascism or he unknowingly does so.

      Which do you suppose is better?

    4. I think you have taken a leap too far, although I would not argue a claim that Obama was negligent.

      I would be interested to hear from his ardent supporters what his invitation to the MB to his 2009 speech meant, especially when it caused Mubarak to stay away.

      When Obama is long gone, we may see him much like Carter, who also seemed to believe the Iran Revolution would usher in democracy.

    5. I don't know, School.

      What I do know is that I oppose these left-wing conservatives who, whatever their best intentions, support the oppression of women and the genocide of the Jews.

      When we support Obama on foreign policy, this is what we are supporting, whether we acknowledge it or not.

    6. I think the matter is more nuanced than to call it support and to assume the matter is black and white.

      That is not to disagree that anti-Israel progressives are ignorant of the fruits of their actions, and who suffers.

    7. Did not say you were going wrong, but that the claim that he supports the MB takes away from the strength of the argument you are trying to make to progressive Jews to provide real push back against his policies.

  5. "The Brotherhood are Nazis."

    I knew it. You knew it. Lots of posters we talk to knew it. WTF didn't Obama know it? Here's this supposed genius with access to the world's smartest advisors in the greatest nation in the world. WTF went wrong? First clue....he INSISTED they attend his Cairo speech. Add ice, shake and pour into rim slated glass.

    1. Ya got me, Doodad.

      There are any number of scholars who have documented the MB / Nazi connection including Matthias Küntzel, Jeffrey Herf, Edwin Black, and Paul Berman.

      Surely the Obama administration would have had the basic common sense to discuss the Brotherhood with the scholars who have done the most research into the matter... but, then again, maybe not.

    2. Probably not. He had his own cadre of ideological experts just like any president has had. It starts there. He had a plan, a utopian hope and change plan and it had to include insisting the MB be there because that's his view of democracy, inclusiveness even for fucking Nazis. It's a view forged in America, not in the crazy world of Middle East realities. It was as nonsensical as Bush et al figuring on spreading Democracy in the middle east as a solution for everything.

      My best guess is that they knew but didn't care because:
      -they couldn't do anything anyway but still had to deal with them

      -they thought they could hope and change them

      -some other reason connected to an overall ME foreign policy plan many of us can make no sense of

    3. Forged in Europe and called the Euro-Arab Dialogue.