At the end of cold war, the term clash of civilizations was coined only to provide a cover to the United States’ imminent clash with Islam. Now that the world is pushed well into this needless clash, its promoters make no attempt to somehow take the US out of the quagmire.
They act to the contrary for one obvious reason: they are scared of the next wave. Riding the crest, the advocates of war clearly see their destiny. They realize that the next swing of the remarkable hinge of history at which they are living will be in favor of the oppressed at the bottom of the trough. Perpetual war is promoted as a mean to avoiding the unavoidable: hitting the trough.
It is very clear that the US government has partly achieved aim of these advocates of war: 9/11 sparked real tensions between the Judeo-Christian West and the Muslim East. Preachers, political and military leaders in the West are now openly sowing hatred through denouncing Islam and its laws.
An undeclared war is underway. Official declaration of a clash will depend a great deal on the out come in three areas: a) The US direct military occupations, b) its support to other military occupations (Palestine), and c) its indirect occupations (Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, etc).
Let’s start with indirect occupations. The main objective of such interventions is promotion of secularism not for the sake of secularism but only to check the rise of “political Islam.” Turkey is considered as the first battle towards winning the clash with Islam. It must present a model that contradicts all Islamic principles, yet Muslims enjoy it without any problem.
The 80-year old failed experiment in Turkey will find no life with American adventurism. Interesting to note, however, is the conjecture that Turkish “politicians are not intimidated by religious fundamentalists, because –” unlike too many Arab politicians –” they have their own legitimacy that comes from being democratically elected.”
Paraphrasing Friedman’s conjecture means, all those who practice Islam are neither Turkish nor politicians. They are fundamentalists whose job is to intimidate “legitimate” politicians, not participate in the electoral process.
What Friedman would not tell his readers is that “democratic” Turkey survives only through keeping its graph of gross human rights abuses persistently high. The February 2004 report of Amnesty International (AI) confirms that all past reports of “grave violations persist in the present.”
According to AI, in Turkish democracy “provisions of the law are still being used to criminalize people for the legitimate exercise of their right to non-violent expressions of critical opinion [and] freedom of association and assembly…[Where] State Security Courts remain a matter of serious concern.”
The advocates of clash would not tell their readers that in July 1999, an issue of the Selam Islamic weekly was confiscated. Nureddin Sirin, its editor, was sentenced to 17-year for condemning Zionist occupation of Palestine. Unfortunately, he is not alone. There are many Nureddins suffering in, what Friedman calls a “free society,” in this manner.
The case of Huda Kaya, a journalist at Selam, and her three daughters is even more striking. Together with 70 others, they are charged with "attempting to change the constitution by force." What precisely that means is not explained. One of her daughters, 16-year-old Gulan Intisar Saatcioglu, is accused of reading an Islamic poem called ‘Song of Freedom’ at a rally. So much for the “free society.”
As for democratic legitimacy, we must not forget how the government of Necmettin Erbakan was demonised and removed under the influence of Washington. A rash of columns and editorials appeared in US newspapers hinting about the possibility of a military coup in Turkey to actually make it happen a few months later.
A Washington Post (March 4, 1997) indictment of Erbakan included his crimes to allow women "wearing Islamic veils” and to urge that "working hours in government offices be changed during the holy month of Ramadan."
Amos Perlmutter proposed in his Washington Times (March 10, 1997) column: "The Clinton administration must give its full support to the military…. We must support the military once it finds it has no choice but to stage a coup" against the democratically elected government only to save secularism.
How would the promoters of war feel if Turkey became embroiled in secret negotiations with U.S. military officials to bring about a coup against its president? And how would they see it if the purpose of this intrigue were to prevent Americans from embracing their own religious convictions and values.
The advocates of war do not want a free society where Muslims can practice Islam. They want Turkish kind of “free society” where the U.S. can influence armed forces to impose some twenty pro-secularism orders on an elected government, including a ban on "recruiting fundamentalists” and not to "employ those expelled from the military for fundamentalist sympathies." Remember, by the military standards, a person who grows beard, prays in public or performs Hajj is a fundamentalist.
A free society in Friedman’s view is one in which chief rabbi appears “hand in hand with Muslim cleric” and fathers of Muslim “fundamentalists” tell local newspapers: “First, let us meet with the chief rabbi of our Jewish brothers. Let [us] hug him. Let [us] kiss his hands and flowing robe.”
Even if that is in apology for the “suicide” bombing, Why don’t see culprits from the “free” American society come forward and kiss hands and flowing robs of clerics in Iraq to apologize for their criminal lies and subsequent infanticide of no less than half a million children and death of thousands more due to sanctions and occupation.
Let the “free” American society lead by example and stop the criminals from celebrating their far barbarous crimes than “suicide” bombing because the perpetrators live to repeat their crimes. Let the “free society” boldly denounce the crimes that push more people into taking their lives. Let it consider crimes of Bush, his allies and advisors as shameful.
In Friedman’s view the willingness to surrender fundamentals of Islam and “adapting [Western] rules” is what most Turks “consider as the ‘real’ Islam.” Despite being a conjecture, this is what is expected of all Muslims.
It is utterly naÃ¯ve to expect transforming the rest of the Muslim world in the image in which Turkey could not fully transform itself despite gross human rights violations and all out military support in the past 80 years.
Even if the E.U. says yes to Turkey with or without U.S. subsidies; even if Turkey is brought into Nafta, still E.U. and U.S. will lose because their practice fully negates what they preach. Turkey is neither a democracy, nor a free society. The failure to practice their much wanted ideals is the main factor that will lead first to the failure of secular models and then to the over all war of “ideas” and clash with Islam.
Muslims have been through this experience. The key to their revival now lies in their struggle to reduce the yawning gap between what they proclaim to believe and their practice. The more the gap narrows down, the more they would be on the way to ride the next wave.
. Thomas Friedman, “The War of Ideas, Part 2” the New York Times, January 11, 2004.
. Memorandum to the Turkish Prime Minister on the occasion of the visit to Turkey of a delegation led by Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, February 2004., FROM PAPER TO PRACTICE: MAKING CHANGE REAL. AI INDEX: EUR 44/001/2004, 12 February 2004