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{Written by Ceylan Ozbudak and Jerry E. Davis, used by permission}

Europe and North America is now waking up to the fact that the problems in the Middle East can not and will not be solved through classical politics. Simply because this land has a totally different structure and a different society pattern. And among the thousands of tribes, there is no unity. There is no leader in the Muslim world. Bigotry, which disturbs people and scares them stems from the lack of leadership in the region. All communities in the world have a leader. Christians, Jews have a leader, Freemasons, Templars have their leaders, Satanists have their leaders, even ants and bees have a leader. But Muslims do not have a leader.

Looking at the way America decided to deal with the problems in the region and failed so evidently brought the need for a new understanding. There is one very significant thing that the west does not know about the right wing statements and strategies in Middle East politics. American people in general do not know the difference between a bigot and a Muslim. So this brings the natural consequence of fronting the Muslim world as a whole in their struggle with terrorism and radicalism. This automatically makes them anti-Muslims in the eyes of a Middle Eastern. And so the conflict grows.

People fear terror and terrorists. This is simple and easy to understand. Does this make America’s foreign policy just? No it does not. America’s Middle East policy is not just. But understandable. I, as a Muslim denounce bigotry to the fullest. But still, no matter to what extent it is, the solution shouldn’t have included harming the innocent. Human life can not be considered collateral damage. And this applies to both sides. Also for bigots who killed innocent Americans. Human life can never be considered as collateral damage. All of us—Muslims, Jews and Christians—need a new understanding now.

It is apparent that this issue will not be solved through classical politics. Politicians, historians, social scientists, psychologists have been trying to solve this problem but as we all witness, this is not offering any solution to the problem. We can not stop wars only through good choices of politicians. As long as people fear and hate each other and the tension continues, it wouldn’t mean much even if we stop the wars. We need a real bond between the people of the world.

We must go to the roots of the problem, not to the leaves of the tree upon which the terrorists grow.

We can not let religion be understood as a part of the problem and stay sidelined while it should be a major part of the solution. People are conservatives here. A majority of people in the Middle East are conservatives. But there are two types of conservatism. Religious conservatism and traditional or ideological conservatism. One of these will eventually lead to bigotry. A religious conservative, a Muslim, only seeks peace and brotherhood between nations, cares for art, science, beauty, purity and everything positive. But a traditional conservative only preserves his ideological and traditional values and acts accordingly. He can insult women under the name of Islam even though in real Islam women are protected in every step of life, he never accepts other nations as brothers and sisters, he is filthy, has a bogus mind, doesn’t accept science, doesn’t allow art to grow and he can do everything unclean, illogical and tells illogical stories.

These people are a vast majority in the world of Islam so usually non-Muslims consider these people as real Muslims, They are not. These are only bigots. In essence, Qur’an encourages Muslims to establish peace in the world, protect the people of the book, perform art and science in the best manner possible, not pressure others to accept Islam, be respectful against women and be compassionate. When a person can not see the difference, it is expect-able that one fears Muslims in general. What we should do is introduce the distinction between the two. Conflict brings other conflicts. People have pride and if you force them to accept something, they will apply force too. And the conflict never ends. But with love, every thing can be solved. Everyone is calm where there is compassion and love.

Trying to compromise with a bigot is akin to accepting that the ways of irreligious faith, tradition and romanticism are acceptable replacements for faith, truth and love with compassion and understanding. They are not. Without educating people about the dangers of Marxism, Social Darwinism, Communism, racism, and fascism it is almost impossible to have them see the dangers of their irreligious practices.

Many people do not have the chance to meet those of Islamic faith, let alone, learn the true path of Islam minus the propaganda and bigotry that is witnessed throughout media and a large part of the world. Even Muslims many times are not aware of the teachings of Qur’an. They go to mosque and hear readings in Arabic, when many do not even understand Arabic, so this leaves them to learn from others who can instill their own bigoted belief and traditions into Islam. Many also attempt to read Qur’an printed in Arabic, having no knowledge of the language that is written within the pages. This because in itself of tradition and romanticism.

This has caused extreme harm and manipulation of the teachings of not only Islam but of every religion. Bigotry adulterates and tarnishes the appearance of true and faithful believers due to the actions that are born out of romanticism and traditionalist practices, resulting from lack of education in areas such as history, science, biology, physics, and micro biology, math and sociology. Following men instead of faith, Ideals instead of scripture and failing to recognize that harm and violence is not the way of Allah.

So we need to go back to the basics and the essence of Qur’an and teach people real Islam rather than letting them be exposed to bigoted minds and a bigoted way of education. Many people in the region even though being a Muslim, don’t learn religion from Qur’an itself but from traditional conservatives who excel in deviation from the real Qur’an.

Religious values, regardless of faith or belief must be taught in order to instill into people the high morality and integrity that comes from this type of education. Even Atheist that are highly educated do not for the most part propagate any hate in their beliefs, but instead realize that compulsion in any ideological method can be detrimental to a persons ability to learn without feeling forced.

Approaching these problems with a scientific, logical and compassionate process while being sincere and understanding of others beliefs is the only way to encourage this without compulsively pushing religion upon those who would be turned off to the idea of learning, by being cornered or forced to do so.

The past, however harsh it may have been, must be worked through by forgiveness and reconciliation but not forgotten. This opens people’s hearts and minds, paving the way for a new start and a better future.

The fundamental principle is the idea of reconciliation as a balm with the power to heal memory. To achieve this, historians, teachers, journalists, politicians – must embark upon and pursue a new path towards peace and reconciliation between peoples. They must tread this path courageously, and often alone.