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September 17, 2012, Monday

Islam and violence

It is clear that the film “Innocence of Muslims” has been produced with the sole purpose of provoking Muslims.

 Every detail about the film, including the film’s sponsors, script and actors, indicates that it has been devised to push Muslims into the streets for violent protests. The crime of instigating murder has been publicly committed by the film’s producer. For this reason, the film’s producer should be tried on charges of instigating the murder of the US ambassador to Libya. You can be assured that the probe being conducted in the US will clarify this crime of provocation. The behind-the-scenes of this matter are complicated. But we are all sure of the intentions and intended results.

We are sure of this because of the sociology and social psychology of the Muslim world. It is a well-known fact that the Muslim world has been responding to the insults against Islam, its prophet, and holy book since Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses.” The recent cartoon crisis and the burning of the Quran are examples of how the Muslim world categorically reacts to such insults. Thus, one can easily conclude that Muslims will react in a similar fashion to insults in the future. And anyone who intends to create commotion and chaos around the globe will continue to engage in mass production of such insults using the media.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proposes to block the violent reactions from the start. Similar insults against the sacred values of all religions, not only Islam, should be accepted as hate crimes. If Muslims learn that a US federal prosecutor has launched a probe into this hate crime, no US personnel or property will be targeted with mass violence. The respect to be afforded by authorities and their sensitivities about this crime will be enough to pacify the Muslim world.

The solution is so simple because of the very nature of the violence coming from the Muslim world. This violence does not breed on religious sensitivities. Rather, these societies are accustomed to expressing themselves using these types of violent methods. Otherwise, you cannot explain why forms of violence prevalent in Libya or Afghanistan are not seen in Turkey or Egypt. The people of Turkey are a very pious society. They are extremely sensitive about their sacred values. But none of them attacks violently in such a case. None of them will spill blood in the name of Islam.

The connection between Islam and violence is a superficial one. The lack of any correlation between violence in these Muslim societies and the basic tenets of Islam is proof that what breeds violence in these societies is not Islam. Indeed, religious leaders in Muslim societies denounce violence and call on people to act with moderation. Violence has no religious justification. To understand this, we need to look into the social and political lives of those societies that are intertwined with violence. When people start to resort to violence and the spilling of blood, they seek to solve every problem with the same violent methods. Libya is a recent example. In Afghanistan, violence has been a cure-all for 33 years.

There is no other explanation as to why the tendency to resort to violence drops considerably in countries where democracy flourishes. The violence in the Muslim world is not Islam-generated violence, but it is the byproduct of the specific experiences of societies and the very repressive environments in which people live.

Therefore, the prime minister’s proposal to define an insult against Islam as a hate crime will strip those who devise such shadowy provocations as well as the Muslims who become instruments in their hands of the pretexts they use for their actions. It is crucial that such a crime category be created to rectify the image of the West that has been worsening due to Islamophobia.

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