11 Haziran 2016 Cumartesi

700 just a number?

gulf daily_news_adnan_oktar_700_just_a_number
From the comfort of our Bahrain sofas, we all watched in horror on our TVs 700 people dying in just three days. Seven hundred refugees, believed to be mostly unaccompanied adolescents, drowned in the cold water of the Mediterranean without ever having time to scream. 
But since heart-breaking events like this have become so regular, this tragedy wasn’t enough to shake the world out of its stupor so that they could really see what was going on. Instead, most people chose to focus on news about the Cannes Film Festival, the latest album releases or celebrity divorces. 
And when the story did manage to find a place in mainstream media, the news was once again received with a cold and calculated response by most of those who have the means to help. This happened despite the fact that something could have been done, and still can be, to end these tragedies. However, the frequency of these incidents and the incredibly high number of refugee casualties seem to have desensitised the world to such horrors. 
This indifference and lack of empathy are certainly not normal. It is abhorrent, and it represents a truly shameful episode of our collective history. It seems that the world is losing touch with its humanity and reality, because it no longer comprehends these incidents as anything other than statistics or numbers. In truth, these are human beings, precious souls that deserve to live. Those 700 people who lost their lives in the Mediterranean might have been a beautiful baby, a precious daughter, or a smiling elder. They were definitely more important than celebrity news, fashion shows, politics or TV series. They were loved dearly; they were all valuable individual human beings. They all deserved respect, dignity and love just like those that chose to ignore their plight. Universal human rights should transcend religion, culture and ethnicity, but they didn’t. They stopped at Muslim borders. 
It should also be noted that the persistent apathy seen in the Western world, a blatant aversion to refugees and mostly because they are Muslims, is playing a major part in growing anti-Western sentiment. In order to picture this better, put yourself in those people’s shoes. 
Imagine that you have had to watch your relatives on TV drowning in high seas, because as they fled war, poverty or oppression, affluent Western countries didn’t want them. You would know that the world could have easily helped them, accommodated them, and protected them. You would realise that refugees were not welcome mostly because of their Muslim identity. 
You wouldn’t be able to help but feel a surging resentment. And now, multiply this feeling by a million. This is what’s happening to those refugees’ families and friends who watched the Western world abandon their loved ones. 
No one can deny the role this anger plays as terrorism becomes ever more intense. Even though there is absolutely nothing that can justify violence or terrorism, selfish and discriminatory behaviour towards members of a certain faith, to the extent they are abandoned to death, will inevitably generate hostility. 
If we want any semblance of peace to come to our pain-afflicted world, this attitude has to change now. 
This shameful apathy must come to an end. Our world has more than enough means to help these people, who need it desperately. People’s lives are more important than politics, national interests or money. 
Let’s rise up to the task of being human beings and do every single thing we can to help the people that truly need it. 

America Should Invest in Education Rather Than in Arms

ekurd daily_adnan_oktar_america_should_invest_in_education
For a long time now there have been two different views regarding America’s policies toward Islam and the Middle East. In contrast to the Democrats’ moderate policies, or one that tries to rather keep its distance from the Middle East, many so-called conservatives have adopted a more-or-less openly destructive policy of violence toward the Middle East and are trying to influence the government in that regard. One can also see that these destructive policies are raised from time to time and, as in Syria, implemented in a covert manner. However, this is a mistaken endeavor that has been experimented with in practice since the Iraq War, and has thus far produced no results other than increasing the violence of radicalism in the Middle East and that escalating violence will, in turn, wreak destruction on the whole world.
Just like a food source, violence always strengthens those who are nourished by violence. Fanaticism always draws its strength from violence. People who see blood want blood; those who see weapons want weapons. It is no surprise that the current climate of turmoil in Iraq and Syria should feed the fanatics, and that new names and groups with a radical mindset should constantly appear and even start fighting one another. Climates of conflict are food and drink for a fanatic. Those who imagine they can rein in fanaticism through force of arms alone are therefore making the gravest of errors. Indeed, when America entered Iraq, it believed that savagery could only be resolved by bombs. The result today is plain to see; violence has engulfed vast swathes of the Middle East. However, there are still far too many who believe that war is a viable solution.
The more America clings to the idea of force, the worse the situation will become. As things stand now, the situation will not improve even if America says, “We are no longer interested whatsoever in the Middle East.” If America seeks a solution, the only effective solution lies in education.
The origin of fanaticism lies in a false conception of religion, and the origin of that lies in false hadiths. Extremism, be it of the religious or political variety, is a disease; the important thing to effect successful treatment is to find the source of the disease. In looking for a solution to fanaticism we must not forget one important advantage in our possession: we are aware of the source of the disease. We know we can achieve a solution once the false conception of religion - from which the disease of extremism originates - is targeted. Bombs, rhetorical attacks and heated words of condemnation turn fanaticism into a more aggressive form of cancer, but once the invalidity of false hadiths and the false conception of religion that makes fanaticism what it is are revealed, the source of fanaticism is neutralized.
The invalidity of false hadiths can only be proved when the true provisions in the Qur’an are revealed. It must not be forgotten that the fanatics currently wreaking terror throughout the Middle East have memorized the false hadiths in question, yet many of them are almost totally ignorant of the Qur’an. We therefore have an opportunity to teach them from the Qur’an and remove the hold that these false hadiths have over the mind.
With such an education program, America would easily find it within its power to entirely change the Middle East. Books and CDs, to be distributed free of charge, and an alliance with moderate Muslims of the Qur’an are therefore needed. People educated by way of these books and CDs will soon begin to question the validity of the false belief system to which they adhere; the fanatical system will inevitably decay and vanish of its own accord. The justifications for violence will cease to exist and a new perspective will prevail; masses of people will be won over. This one and only effective method, one that America has seemingly rejected for 50 years, must be implemented as a matter of urgency.
America spent three trillion dollars on the Iraq War, an essentially needless conflict that is perhaps most directly responsible for radicalism spreading so widely. Had America spent that on a rational education program, the Middle East would long since have been freed from the scourge of radicalism. If America continues to resort to violence it is entirely foreseeable that the spreading radicalism will ultimately enter its own geographical territory. Every group that has a grievance and that regards itself as “oppressed” will draw strength from this. The effects of the current state of the world on America must not be ignored; negative economic and social developments are instrumental in making the American people uneasy. Yet it is important in many regards for America to remain a sound bastion and a superpower. The entire world genuinely needs American freedom, democracy and its ideas of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
An American commentator once wrote, “It’s a mistake to blame Islam, a religion 14 centuries old, for the evil that should be ascribed to militant Islam, a totalitarian ideology less than a century old. Militant Islam is the problem, but moderate Islam is the solution”. These are wise words and the diagnosis is entirely correct. That’s why this education program must be adopted at once. I suggest that people of goodwill across the American political spectrum must now follow and act on a new and effective method. Education is the best way forward. As Nelson Mandela put it, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

american herald_tribune_adnan_oktar_christians_will_exist_in_ME
The Middle East has been the heart of the world throughout history as it still is today. Prophets received the revelation of God in these holy lands. God manifested Himself to the Prophet Moses (pbuh) on Mount Sinai (Mount at-Tur). The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) lived in the land of Canaan. The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and his disciples communicated the Gospel to the people in the Middle East for the first time. Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is a religion that began in the Middle East. The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was born in Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. The first Christians settled in today’s Syria and constituted the majority of the population in a considerable part of the Middle East for nearly 600 years until the birth of the religion of Islam. Although the Christian population in the Middle East is today very small, in 722 A.D., Christians constituted 3.8 million of the 4 million people who lived in the lands of today’s Syria.  Provinces such as Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, Mardin, Beirut, Istanbul, and Baghdad were the historical centers of Christianity.
The major transformation that appeared in the Middle East with the Arab Spring had a direct influence on the lives of Christians in the region as well. Radicals who are deeply opposed to modernism, globalization and multiculturalism and who cannot tolerate those not from their own religion- as a matter of fact, they cannot even tolerate those not from their own sect- have adopted an aggressive and exclusionist attitude against Christians for years. Many of them were forced to migrate; their churches were demolished, their houses were destroyed and burnt down because of such an attitude against them. For that reason, many Christians had to hide their Christian identity.
The Christian minority in the Middle East still does not enjoy religious freedom in real terms today, and they are deprived of their rights to communicate and proselytize their religion. For instance, there is not even a single church in Saudi Arabia. The country does not provide education for Christian people to become clergyman; the use of Christian symbols is not permitted and religious clothing is banned while entering to the country. Saudi Christians are only permitted to perform their acts of worship in their homes. Though Egypt has a large population of Christians compared to other countries, there is a great deal of pressure put on them as well.
The case of this pressure on Christians dates back to earlier times in Iraq. Upon the collapse of the Saddam regime, 300,000 Christians had to leave Iraq. The Iraq War, which originally broke out as an intervention against a dictatorship, then turned into a total disaster.  Differences that derived from ethnicity, sect and religion were incited and this sedition still continues to claim lives in Iraq. Beyond question, Christians were affected by this situation as well, and the number of Christians in the country decreased by two-thirds upon the invasion of Iraq by the United States of America in 2003.
With the outbreak of the Arab Spring, Christians found themselves in an environment of unpredictability and insecurity after the autocratic regimes in the region collapsed one by one. Christians could not become a part of the major transformation in the Middle East since the very beginning of this process. The population of Christians, who've lived in the region for the last 2000 years, decreased to about 10 million today. Even in the beginning of the 20th Century, Christians constituted more than 20 percent of the population of the Middle East: However, this figure is today below 5 percent. If it continues to decline at the current rate, it is expected that the population of Christians in the entire Middle East region will decrease to six million by 2020. While the population of Christians in Iraq was 1.5 million ten years ago, it is now below 500,000. There were 1.1 million Christians in Syria ten years ago; the number of Christians in the country today is about 500,000, with many having been mercilessly killed or forced to flee the country. In the same way, a total of 300 thousand Palestinian Christian lived in the Gaza Strip ten years ago; they now number less than one thousand.
Although those who have brought about this situation claim that they have done that in the name of Islam, the oppression that our Christian brothers and sisters suffer from has no place in Islam. Islam is a religion which literally means a call for peace and safety. It is a religion of love that preaches people to embrace not only those who are like themselves but also those who are not and to act conscientiously. Therefore, it is a major and critical fallacy to claim that Islam is the reason for the hostile approach to Christians in the Middle East, which has become alarmingly widespread in recent years. On the contrary, the abandonment of true Islamic values has resulted in such an outrage against Christians. The basis for this unfounded belief leading to extremism is not the Qur’an, which is the source of Islam, but superstitions and fabricated hadiths that do not comply with the Qur’an. That is why the only possible way to eliminate this artificial quasi-religion of bigotry and extremism is through the Qur’an. Our Prophet (saas) married Christian women, dined at their homes, visited their sick and treated them with kindness. When the Najran Christians visited him, he spread out his robe for them and told them to sit upon it. Our Prophet, knowing that the earliest Muslims would be safe and secure there, ordered them to migrate to a Christian country, namely Ethiopia. Indeed, Negus, the King of Ethiopia, warmly welcomed these Muslims and ensured that they lived safely in his country. Our Prophet led a funeral prayer in absentia in Madina for King Negus when he passed away.
Christians are religious people who love God and who are deeply devoted to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). That is why showing the deepest affection and compassion to Christians is a requisite; and oppressing them is impermissible. Some bigoted people perpetually fuel anti-Christianity, carry out hateful propaganda against them and claim that they do all of this in the name of religion whereas such behavior strictly contradicts the morality of the Qur'an. It is a grave oppression to prevent Christians from practicing their religion freely, to compel them to refrain from expressing their Christian identity, to make fun of them, to demonstrate a lack of respect for their sacred values, to force them to migrate, or to beat and murder them. The necessary thing to do in order to put an end to the oppression against Christians is to ensure that all Muslims act in accordance to the Qur’an, which is the Word of God, and adhere to the practices of our Prophet (saas).
Adnan Oktar's piece in American Herald Tribune:

The glorious month of Ramadan

The Islamic world is once again rejoicing at the arrival of the glorious month of Ramadan. Marked by daylong fasting, Ramadan rekindles the spirit of solidarity and brotherhood in the Muslim community and strengthens their spirituality. Despite positive developments in recent months, it is clear the Islamic community is in dire need of brotherhood and Ramadan is a beautiful way of bringing back this lost spirit of fellowship.
As our readers will recall, when Iran's former President Ahmedinejad came to Turkey, he famously prayed in a mosque with a Sunni imam. In a similar display of solidarity, President Erdogan grabbed the headlines with his words, ‘We have no religion called 'Sunni' or 'Shiite’, only Islam’. These statements coming from two top officials of Iran and Turkey were no doubt, extremely important. They clearly showed to the world that differences in the way our religion is practiced cannot be an obstacle to our brotherhood and solidarity. Indeed, we have seen a many great examples of this beautiful rapprochement between Turkey and Iran. When Iran was left facing heavy sanctions from much of the world, the helping hand of Turkey came as a breath of fresh air. It is crucial that the two countries continue to take advantage of similar opportunities and make their friendship even stronger. In a similar fashion, President Rouhani and President Erdogan recently drew attention to the dangers of sectarian divide and emphasized the importance of Muslims’ commitment to Islam based on the commandments in the Qur'an. 
The change that comes to Iran with Ramadan is almost palpable and can be felt in the air. Our sister nation Iran is extremely devout and committed to the commands of God. Come the time of the iftar dinner, everywhere fills with joy as Muslims gleefully break their fasts with dates, just like our Prophet Mohammed (saas) used to. The Qur'an is recited after dinner and mosques become even more crowded than usual. In other words, spirituality is noticeable and felt everywhere, just like in Turkey.
The Islamic world’s salvation depends on encouraging brotherhood and alliance in the Islamic world. It is therefore crucial that the Muslims of the world gather around the Qur'an, no longer consider differences in interpretation as a reason for separation, and find common grounds to unite. When this beautiful spirit comes to dominate the Islamic world, the distances between Muslims will be eliminated, and Islamic Union will come one step closer. This is not only a religious duty but also a responsibility for all Muslims so that the difficult days of the world can come to an end soon. 
Almighty God says in the 103rd verse of Surah Al I’mran, ‘Hold fast to the rope of God all together, and do not separate’.
According to the Qur'an, Muslims should not be fragmented as they are today. That’s why it is very important that Iran and Turkey reinforce their love and alliance and set a beautiful example to the rest of the Islamic world.
Let’s all pray together in this Ramadan to our Almighty Lord that the Islamic world unites in a strong alliance. Let’s not forget that solution for every difficulty that Muslims face today is Islamic Union. There is unceasing pain and suffering in the Islamic world from Ethiopia to Somalia, Iraq to Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Chad among others: In these difficult times, Muslims should be talking about nothing but Islamic Union and pray together in mosques and in religious gatherings, especially during Ramadan for Islamic Union. It is crucial that everyone starts talking about and encouraging this beautiful blessing.
Let’s work together so that the spirituality and depth that Ramadan lends to our souls extends to the entire Islamic world. Let’s make sure that Iran and Turkey become the closest of allies and friends so that the entire Islamic Ummah can see this as a beautiful example and follow suit.
In order for this to happen, it is crucial that leading figures of both countries point to the desirable qualities of the other country and show their support and love for each other. Frequent mutual visits between top leaders and corresponding cooperation agreements on many areas will also help achieve this important goal. They can also act together to solve social and political problems and provide constructive solutions. This attitude will not only empower both countries, but also prompt other Muslim countries to adopt a similar approach. Let’s see the month of Ramadan as a great means for achieving these beautiful goals.
Certainly, all these efforts are crucial as practical prayers on the part of Muslims. However, the truth is that only Mahdi can bring about the union and solidarity urgently needed in the Islamic world. It is only Mahdi who can disperse the dark clouds hovering over Muslims. In other words, Mahdi, whom God’s Messenger Prophet Mohammed (saas) gave the glad tidings of, of whose name Imam Ali (as) knew about…
Mahdi is a sacred and crucial figure both for Iran and Turkey. This commonality is enough for us to always act in concert and solidarity. Political conjectures, sectarian differences or regional realities cannot overshadow this fact. Our Lord gave the good news of these beautiful days and we will be witnessing them soon. It is crucial that these glad tidings are heard across the Islamic world and inspire hope in people. The sister countries responsible for doing this are, no doubt, Iran and Turkey.

9 Haziran 2016 Perşembe

The ugly side of twentieth century history: the Armenian issue

World War I was one of the worst tragedies the world has ever faced. Not only the participant states but the entire world was affected and suffered because of this epochal war. The Ottoman Empire, which was once the most powerful state in the world, was in a stage of regression at that time. It had been badly defeated in the Balkan War in 1912; this defeat was unexpected and a turning point for this great empire. 

The effects of World War I are still felt throughout the world. This year marks the 100th year of the painful incident the Ottomans and Armenians went through. The Turks and the Armenians, two beautiful people who had lived in harmony for more than 850 years, suffered through a series of tragic incidents and this long-lasting relationship ground to a halt. The Armenians first came to Anatolia after the victory of Malazgirt in 1071, fleeing Byzantine oppression. The Ottomans welcomed them and allowed them to live as Ottoman citizens and treated them as equals. It was a significant indication of Ottoman tolerance to embrace another people of a different faith since in Europe, religious tolerance was unknown. 

Armenians and Turks both have a very similar culture; some Armenians speak Turkish better than they speak Armenian. This strong bond between them first cracked in the Ottoman-Russian War in 1878. Up until then, Armenians were recruited to very high official positions in the State. This does not indicate a special privilege because Armenians were one of the communities that formed the Ottomans, not a minority. The Armenians were considered as honest and trustworthy people who were loyal to the empire and thus given the name 'Loyal Nation'. 

Everyone must be wondering why this long-standing relationship came to such turbulence after living in harmony like a family for all those years. As a matter of fact, the main Armenian question started in 1914. Following the French Revolution, various nationalistic movements became evident within the Ottoman Empire. Serbians, Bulgarians, Greeks all officially split off from the Ottomans during the Balkan Wars; only the Armenians were left within the Ottoman due to the location they were settled. They established national organizations such as Hunchakian and Tashnaksutyun in 1881 and 1889 respectively. The main aim of these and similar organizations was to gain independence through revolution. The Armenians, who were affected by these nationalistic movements, started to cooperate with Russia, England and France while the Ottomans were battling on the side of Germans as the World War I had begun in 1914. They carried out mutinies in 23 different districts, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Turks and caused a great deal of turmoil within the empire. The Ottomans were confronting serious traumas at that time, especially after the evacuation of the Balkans in 1912: There had been major massacres and deportations in Bulgaria and the Caucuses. In 1914, over one million Turks were forced into exile from Yerevan and Tiflis and only 702,000 managed to reach the homeland. There were simultaneous Armenian uprisings - these are documented in the French archives. On April 24, 1915, the Ottomans issued arrest warrants for the 235 leaders of these Armenian organizations; that is the date Armenians consider as the start of the so-called genocide. 180 of them were arrested and sent to various prisons. Then the Ottomans made the decision to deport the Armenian population to the lands where Turks had been forced to leave. 

We can discuss at length if this was the proper decision to deport the entire Armenian population for reasons of national security, but it was a time of war and all sides did things out of panic - and as retaliation. It was, as is always the case, the civilian population who suffered the most. Many women, elderly and children had to go long ways without proper food, clean water and medication. Many died because of epidemic illnesses, hunger, and some were killed in gang attacks. The Ottoman Empire was protective to the Armenian civilians against attacks that might have occurred during the exile: 1,673 people who attacked the Armenian convoys during deportation were court martialled by the Ottomans. 67 of the convicts were hanged and the rest were sentenced to assorted punishments. 

World War I was the ugly side of global history, like all the other wars that have taken place which resulted in the death and suffering of millions of people. In the psychology of war, one party does everything it can to protect its people and considers every means to this end justified; such thinking is, of course, completely wrong. War makes rational people make unwise and they undertake, cruel policies out of panic either in the name of victory or to save their people from danger. The Armenians and the Turks fell into this same error and killed each other. 

100 years have passed and this incident is still on the global agenda. Yet, now some are using this painful event as a political tool; many states recognized that a so-called Armenian Genocide, again for political reasons. It is historians who should deal with this issue, not politicians. There have been many massacres in the world history, which could be considered genocide but those massacres have not been taken into consideration as genocide. This once again shows this is a political game rather than a sincere quest for historic knowledge. 

Nobody can understand the pain better than the Armenians and the Turks who experienced this heartbreaking history. Both suffered great losses; the bones are still there in the war zones in mass graves. These two close people should not fall out because of hatred and political agendas. 

If Armenians would ask for the Turks to recognize this as genocide, then Turks would do the same for themselves and this will not bring happiness but only pain. This issue cannot be solved by third parties who have not suffered the pain of World War I. Only Turkey and Armenia can do this together. We are all cognizant that this tragic event happened and affected both sides. The best course is to put behind us the pains of that war and heal the wounds together with friendship and brotherhood. The two countries can unite as a great example to the world and open their borders and lift visa and passport restrictions. Then this issue will be resolved.