Date posted: April 24, 2013
In my humble opinion, following the tragic events in Boston, there are two questions before us that we must contemplate deeply on. First, despite all the efforts of the Obama administration to ease the tension in the air, why is the US still being subject to terrorist actions that Muslims seem to have taken a part in, both from inside and outside the country? Second, why is Muslim world unable to efficiently prevent its children from sinking into the abyss of terror? We need to put our hats aside and truly search for the answer to these questions.
First of all, let’s examine the subject of “What is America doing wrong so that it is still attracting terrorist reactions unto itself?” Above everything else, there is no mistake that a government can make that will be able to legitimize terrorism as a method of objection and struggle. It would be wrong to think according to the claims of conspiracy advocates and say that the US is powerful enough to pull the strings of the whole world; however, it is certain that the country has great influential power. Just as it has it has lead certain positive operations, it also bears responsibility for certain things that are following through negatively. A radical mind-set focuses on only the empty part of the glass, and dumps the responsibility of every disaster on the shoulders of the US. Thus, it is impossible for a figure of power that stands out as such to completely be freed of radical and excessive waves. On the other hand, the US attitude which gives the impression that it is taking advantage of its military and economic power makes it play right into the hands of radicalism. Especially the intensity and form of its use of military power, makes many in the world (even some in its own people) uncomfortable. During the Bush administration, this appeared in the form of occupying two Islamic countries (Afghanistan and Iraq). It transformed into the use of unmanned drones and the merciless mechanisms of extrajudicial execution under the title of fighting terror, during the Obama administration.
Well, why do some Muslims resort to terrorism? The number of Muslims who have internalized extremism is a very small minority. Most of them come out of fault lines such as the oppressed Palestine and Chechnya. There are some who take refuge in the power of religion to repair their national pride which has been crushed by great powers like the US. Some radicals from Saudi Arabian origin can be counted as such. Terror is being adopted and internalized through twisted interpretations of religion. As Islam is lowered to the level of being an irritable ideology, the big picture of peace, sharing and love is being lost. Persons who form their own religious opinion, whilst holding a weapon in their hands, and try to confine Islam to their own narrow views have come into existence. They do not represent the majority of the Muslim population, yet we are all paying the penalty for what they have done. The Muslim world is like a disorderly family whose sons have been scattered here and there after losing their compassionate father. In fact, according to certain experts, it’s very difficult to even refer to such a “world”. There is also a grave scarcity of wise men and qualified intellectuals that will guide the way. As for those rare individuals who have come out smelling of roses, like Fethullah Gulen, neither in their own country, nor in the West have they been left in peace.
Dr. Hakan Yavuz from the University of Utah recently published a book entitled, ‘Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gülen Movement‘ (Oxford University Press, 2013). Yavuz approached the Hizmet Movement and Gulen from an academic point of view making room for positive criticism also. Last week, he gave a presentation at the Rumi Forum in Washington, introducing his new book. During a conversation following the event, he said, “If the young men in Boston had known Gulen and read his books, they would not have committed those activities.” Yavuz’s book is worth reading in order to show the West, which has been under the influence of Islamophobia and Turkophobia, and the Muslims, who are not at peace with their cultural roots, what the Turkish-Islamic culture can contribute to the world with its new versions and compatibility with the modern world. Fethullah Gulen being chosen as one of top 100 most influential leaders in the world, in appreciation of the Hizmet Movement’s contributions to the fields of peace, education and tolerance, is a noteworthy development in the way of discovering this gold mine.
My hope and prayer is that the acts in Boston do not pave the way for additional Islamophobia in America and more opposition to the US in the Muslim world as a reaction to that. In order to prevent such a thing, both the American government and opinion leaders and the Muslims have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.