Beyond the Cusp

January 12, 2015

Examination of Turkish Prime Minister’s Response to Paris Events

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Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made some interesting comments in reference to the Paris Rally to memorialize the freedoms of thought and expressions and the liberties and freedoms which form much of the basis for Western establishments and for which Islamic radical terrorists assaulted and murdered the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which a dozen people paid for such freedoms and liberties with their lives. So, let us first give some of the relative quotes from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made on the rally and its themes where he stated, “It is a message to the whole world that everyone must confront the threat of terror.” So far, so good. He continued, “We would expect the same sensitivities to be shown to attacks on mosque or Islamophobia.” We can agree completely on the expectations that should a similar assault be perpetrated on a Mosque that this would be an act of terrorism and equally contemptible and demand the same reaction as against the attackers of the magazine Charlie Hebdo’s offices. As far as the “Islamophobia” we would require a definition but probably would depend on the form of such “Islamophobia” took, if it were nonviolent then things start to come under the reasons the Charlie Hebdo’s offices were attacked. Moving on he was quoted, “Turkey’s stance is principled and we will keep up this attitude. Turkey has the same values around the world as far as terror is concerned. There can be no double standards.” Yes, this might be agreeable depending on your definition of terror which is coming next I would expect. The Prime Minister obliged when he pointed to “state terrorism” against the Palestinians and in Syria. One can only assume that Prime Minister Davutoglu was referring to the recent comments made by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments which slammed Europeans criticizing of Turkish assaults on media outlets which signaled deteriorating press freedoms which in a Reuters report having indicated his saying they should instead try to find a solution for the increasing Islamophobia in Europe. President Erdogan has been quoted stating, “We are not Europe’s scapegoat. We are definitely not a country that Europe can point its finger at and scold. Instead of criticizing us, Europe should find a solution to increasing racism and Islamophobia.” As an example of such horrific crimes which were obvious Islamophobic in their origin he cited the German city of Dormagen, where ultra-nationalists drew Nazi signs on the walls of a mosque which was under construction.

 

The common theme here is the reference to “Islamophobia” and its being of racist origins which perhaps should be further investigated and include in that the reference to “state terrorism” against the Palestinians and in Syria. The easiest target is that Islamophobia is racist. What race is Islamophobia targeting? It cannot be Arabs as there are Arab Druze, Arab Jews, Arab Christians, Arab Hindus, Arab Buddhists, Arab Zaidi, Arab Zoroastrianians and undoubtedly other religions, so Islamophobia is not against Arabs due to Arabs practicing only Islam. If we look at Islam itself there are many differing peoples who practice Islam including people of Turkish backgrounds which are separate from Arabs thus Islamophobia cannot be considered racism accurately, but for argument’s sake we will equate it with racism. Granted, the example given by President Erdogan of painted Nazi symbols on the sides of a Mosque under construction is contemptible and those who perpetrated such a crime, and that would be a crime in the West, should be found and arrested for trial. The crime would be defacing private property and the case would revolve around personal ownership and the defacing their property and not as Islamophobic. So we agree such an act is a crime just not a crime because it was a Mosque but because it was private property. We would treat such crimes equally had they painted the symbols on a church, synagogue or a bookstore or tailors’ shop. So we agree on the act being of criminal intent but we differ on the crime itself, we see it as defacing property and they see it as a crime against Islam and that being the ultimate offense.

 

Finally, the reference to “state terrorism” against the “Palestinians and in Syria” is the manner of condemning Israel when utilized by Turkish officials as well as their allies in Iran and Hezballah. Turkey is the nation which claims that the attempt by IHH to use a flotilla around the Mavi Marmara to break the legally recognized Gaza blockade and the subsequent confrontation with Israeli troops as an Israeli aggression on the world and particularly an offense against Turkey gives a reference to the lack of objectivity on all items concerning Israel. Where does Israel fit in the reference to “state terrorism” against the “Palestinians and in Syria” come in? Turkey has claimed numerous times that Israel is backing Syrian Dictator Bashir al-Assad with intelligence information and other tactical intelligence as well as interventions by Israeli fighter aircraft. That is where Turkey pretends that Israel is involved while Turkey has always claimed that Israel is oppressing the Palestinians Arabs and is an Apartheid State despite every piece of evidence countering such accusations. I do not blame Turkey alone for many of these accusations as they are made by numerous peoples from all points on the planet, which does not necessarily make the accusations valid. These references are simply Turkish politicians and spokespeople’s way of bringing Israel into the discussion as to them doing so simply makes their claims valid and beyond reproach. Unfortunately for the all it does is reinforce the fact that their claims may lie in their foremost delusions which taint virtually every action they take both diplomatically around the world and domestically within their borders. My bet is if one were to give the Turkish government proof that Charlie Hebdo magazine had also been satirical about other religions and gave them examples of Charlie Hebdo cartoons spoofing and criticizing Christianity and Judaism that they would use the cartoons on Judaism and Israel in their own publications, that is the length of their hypocrisy and depravity when it comes to everything Israel. What makes this even more ludicrous is when considering that Turkey is a member of NATO (why is beyond our wildest imaginations) and are technically supporting the West against ISIS (pronounced is-is as in the Bill Clinton famous quote, it all depends on what the meaning of is is) while simultaneously allowing weapons, terrorists, troops and other support to cross into Syria in support of ISIS, duplicity is thy name Turkey.

 

From both men’s statements I can only gather that they believe that Islam deserves, or demands, a special treatment against any and all negative references or comments and this preference should be applied solely to Islam and not to other religions. This brings us to the main point of contention, namely that Islam is a special religion which must be protected as more sacred than any other religion and that Islam must be protected from all negative references while those practicing Islam must receive special considerations, especially if their actions were against infidels or protecting the name of Islam against the unbelievers. Well, if one believes in freedom of religion or even to have no religion, then not exactly my Turkish friends, I may call you friends or does my being an infidel make such impossible. When President Erdogan references that Turkey would apply the same rules the world over he is not professing equality as what he is applying is Islamic supremacy the world over and Islamic law the world over and not equality of any manner. President Erdogan would be applying the same applications the world over much in the same way that the Communists desired to apply the same rules and were consistent the world over or the way the Mongols attempted to apply the same rules the world over or the Romans or Greeks before them. Conquering the world for Allah is not spreading freedom in any way shape or form. Unfortunately we cannot honestly agree that Islamophobia is a crime provided that one simply objects to Islam in a nonviolent and nondestructive manner and their objections to Islam are carried out without breaking the law or another person’s right to practice Islam in a peaceable manner. Islam should be accorded the exact same protection as is any other religion or philosophy. Plainly put, Islam is not above any or all other religions, it must be equal in how it is treated to the treatment of all other religions, period.

 

Then there was one additional comment which quoted French President Francois Hollande’s statement that “these fanatics (Said Kouachi, Cherif Kouachi, Hamyd Mourad, and Amedy Coulibaly) have nothing to do with Muslim religion” and according to Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that is of “utmost importance”. I must report to the honorable Prime Minister of Turkey as well as to all those other Imams, rulers of Islamic countries and other misguided Western leaders including those making such statements from my own country that the fact that these miscreants acted violently in the name of Islam is of the “utmost importance” and no amount of denials can alter that fact. Their claims of having “avenged the Prophet” referencing their Prophet Mohammad; and their cries of “Allahu Akbar” were references to Allah as the greatest of gods were most definitely directly related to how these individuals interpreted and understood Islam and is exactly how they were taught Islam is supposed to act to such offenses as were committed by the writers and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. To claim that these criminals were not committing their crimes in the name of Islam and that Islam never condones acts of violence would be to claim that the professing and statements of Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi are not of Islam when he calls for the killing or eradication of Jews and the bringing of the whole world under Islam by persuasion or by the sword are not professing the tenets of Islam. J’accuse, I accuse you, Prime Minister Davutoglu and President Erdogan, of practicing Taqiyya, practicing dissimulation, lying, deceiving, vexing and confounding with the intention of deflecting attention, foiling, pre-emptively blocking or fending off and neutralizing any criticism of Islam or Muslims.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 11, 2015

Two Faces of Islam in Charlie Hebdo Attacks

 

There were two faces of Islam displayed in Paris, France this past week and the world will probably forget the one and long recall the other. The predominant story was the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine, where the editor and many of the cartoonists and other staff were slaughtered. The final tallying of victims released revealed that eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor were killed in the attack. The police murdered lost their lives in the attempt to arrest the terrorists at the scene. The rest of the story from the side of the terrorists will be a secondary series of events which will likely be retold with every rendition of the entire episode. The primary part of the following series of events will recount the standoff between the French Special Forces units outside of Paris where the brothers hid with their hostage in a printing house on Friday, after they hijacked a car and police followed them to a village near the Paris main airport. These two segments, or episodes, of these twisted events which together make up the entirety of the horrors where the brothers, Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, spent much time threatening, first their original target of Charlie Hebdo then second their standoff at the printing house located in the small industrial town of Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, in a massive operation to seize the brothers. This side of the story will emphasize the violence and heinous acts of Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi interspersed with reminders stating that ‘Islam is the Religion of Peace’ stressing that it would be evil and inexcusable to use these events to excuse acts against Muslims or expressing or holding thoughts that Islam authorizes or even condones violence against innocents.

 

There was another event related to the brothers that took place parallel to the standoff in Dammartin-en-Goele. That event occurred in Porte de Vincennes neighborhood of Paris, the outskirts of Paris, at a Hyper Cacher kosher market which was filled with customers, many of them may have been shopping for the coming of Sabbath. Upon crashing into the market, a terrorist named Amedy Coulibaly, who had already murdered a female police officer the day before, stormed into the store in a sustained burst of gunfire murdering four innocent patrons and taking an additional sixteen hostage declaring “You know who I am.” A Muslim employee at the market, Lassana Bathily’s quick thinking may have saved a number of the hostages from harm. This hero downplayed his actions recounting the events telling reporters how he helped several customers to safety as the chaos unfolded. He spoke recounted his story, “I went down to the freezer, I opened the door, there were several people who went in with me. I turned off the light and the freezer. I brought them inside and I told them to stay calm here, I’m going to go out. When they got out, they thanked me.” He had also turned the temperature up in the freezer to make their hiding place just a little less uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Coulibaly kept threatening to murder more of his hostages right up to when the police made their raid ending the drama and preventing any further loss of life.

 

Lassana Bathily represented the other face of Islam, the face of being a peaceful member of a multicultural community whose religion as he practices it is the religion of peace that we all hear about after each horrific terror attack made by those Muslims who do not practice Islam peacefully causing all their fellow Muslims a severe discomfort and a rough road as they attempt to reclaim their place as peaceful members in their diverse society. Lassana Bathily was one of the members of the Muslim community whose quick thinking and resulting actions placed a number of patrons from the market safely beyond the reach of the murderous terrorist upstairs. He did not place himself in that safe area and instead guarded their safety from outside the freezer where he hid them. His actions were not broadcast to the world during those tense hours before the police and security personnel raided both sites ending what seemed to be a longer period than the few days which actually passed. The violent terrorists were the ones highlighted during the standoffs as the selfless acts of Mr. Bathily were performed in the secret of the background. His bravery and gallantry placing the safety of the patrons before his own only became known in the hours immediately after the standoff was resolved. He became a part of the story after most had already moved on having taken the rescue operation to be the final act. Many will never have heard and those who do remember do so under the disadvantage of the fact that Mr. Bathily’s story will only receive a lessor coverage which is often the case when acts of sanity become the exceptional acts of bravery. We all owe Mr. Bathily the respect of noting his actions and remembering that people such as he will be the ones who hopefully will define Islam in the future. For posterity’s sake I offer a picture of a hero, a picture of Lassana Bathily below.

 

 

Lassana Bathily Charlie Hebdo Hyper Cacher kosher market Muslim Hero

Lassana Bathily Charlie Hebdo Hyper Cacher kosher market Muslim Hero

 

 

Earlier in the week there was another whose actions require our respect and whose sacrifice must not be allowed to fade into the dim recesses that singular actions of bravery often do as the final fiery acts which end the eventual standoff rightfully steal the limelight. There were two French police murdered during the initial attempts to capture the terrorists at the scene of the Charlie Hebdo attack, Franck Brinsolaro and Ahmed Merabet. The names of both these men will also fade faster than the names of the brothers who used their religion as a cudgel with which to silence all who they felt had treated the name of their prophet blasphemously. May their names be stricken from the public memory and replaced with the names which can be raised with pride and held as exemplary rather than name those who should be despised. We need to celebrate the names of the police who gave their all in the effort to protect society, the names Ahmed Merabet and Franck Brinsolaro should be held alongside Lassana Bathily as the saviors who acted above and beyond anything required of them and by doing so raised the level of honor and care in the current society so needful of such souls to laud.

 

Franck Brinsolaro was murdered inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo and was the officer tasked with guarding editor Stéphane Charbonnier while Ahmed Merabet arrived on the scene and was initially injured by the terrorist brothers who then subsequently executed Officer Merabet as he raised his empty hands signaling that he was unarmed and posed no threat to their escape. This murder was possibly the most heinous of the murders of that fateful morning. There was a hashtag of “#JesuisAhmed”, in addition to “#JesuisCharlie”, started on Twitter to honor Officer Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim police officer who arrived to the scene and paid for his efforts with his life. Ahmed Merabet was another whose actions honored Islam and was an example of Muslims who are amongst the most integral members of Parisians who answered the call when the public needed him. Officer Ahmed Merabet, as was pointed out on Twitter feeds under his honorable hashtag, represented all that we could ask for from the Islamic community or any other community. Hopefully he will be remembered with respect and honor.

 

Often in the discussions which follow terror attacks such as we experienced in Paris this week concerns what is the real face of Islam. This usually results in much heated debate which inevitably results in the conclusion that it will take the Muslims who desire to live as contributing members of Islamic society to reclaim their religion and defined Islam peacefully. This will be a monumental task as nobody has yet come up with a plan for how such might be achieved. It does not help that the Quran appears to have conflicts within its writing which tend to be dependent on when and where they were written. If Islam is going to be shaped by its peaceful, open and cooperative writings then the Mecca Quranic verses need to be made predominant and the Medina writings given less weight. This will be difficult with the majority of Imams stressing that the later verses supercede the earlier verses when a conflict between the two appear. For a discussion which gives a general background and tries to explain the differences between the Mecca verses against the Medina verse can be found in this article Which Quran, Mecca or Medina?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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