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To the East, Muslims, and the Middle East

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To the East, Muslims, and the Middle East, from the last section of Manifesto for Islamic Reform, by Edip Yuksel

The following words are not from an enemy of yours, but from someone who shares the same book and the same history. These are the words of someone who cares a great deal about you. Someone who cries at night for your plight, for the tragedies which have befallen you. This is someone who knows your generosity, your sincerity, your unfulfilled dreams, your aspirations, your tragedies, your fears, your follies and delusions. You should listen, at least once. Enough prejudice and bigotry. Enough paranoia and hatred.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free.

Before looking around to point fingers at the cause of your problems, first look at the mirror. I do not mean that you should ignore the imperialistic ambitions of other nations and their open or clandestine interferences with the politics, economy and culture of your people. But, you cannot change your condition unless you change yourself. You cannot glorify the invasions, aggressions, massacres, and imperialistic policy of corrupt Umayyad, Abbasid, and Ottoman caliphs in your history and at the same time morally be critical of others for doing the same. Had God given you the same superiority, perhaps you would inflict the earth with more corruption and destruction than your current powerful enemies. You cannot kick them out from your home unless you reform yourself and your home. You cannot demand mercy from others if you do not have mercy on yourself.

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We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from self-righteousness.

Go check the list of patents issued last year. Check and see how many of them belong to a group, nation, religion you identify with. It should tell you a lot you a lot about your position in a world where information and technological progress is so crucial. Go check the list of prosperous countries. Check see how many of them belong to a group, nation, religion you identify with. Centuries ago, you were a role model for civilization, justice, democracy, and freedom; once you were a pioneer in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and philosophy. Now look around and look at the mirror; who are you? You followed the religious fatwa of a sheikh ul-islam (highest cleric within the Ottoman Empire) who prohibited the use of printing machine from 1455 to 1727 for 272 years, for 100,000 precious days, in a vast land stretching from North Africa to Iran, from today's Turkey to Arabian Peninsula. While Europe indulged in learning God's signs in nature, shared the knowledge via printing machines, and was rewarded by God with renaissance, reform, technology, and prosperity; you devolved and sunk further in your ignorance. While Europeans engaged in philosophical arguments, you recited the holy book no better than a parrot, the book that highlighted the importance of learning, questioning, discovery, and pursuit of knowledge. You marveled at handwritten books of hearsay and superstition, at the lousy arguments developed by Gazzali who with the full support of a king aimed to banish philosophy. While Europe sought for a better system to save themselves from the tyranny of kings and church, you recited handwritten poems to praise your corrupt kings and idols. No wonder why, your land, your name, your face, your religion is now associated with backwardness, ignorance, oppression, violence, and poverty. You have become the bum of the world.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from our ignorance.

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Once the religious among you hoped that the theocracy of mullahs would fulfill your dream, would bring back the glorious days of your past. They promised "istiqlal, azadi, hukumat-i islami" (independence, freedom, Islamic government); yet what you ended up with a swarm of leaches with turbans, repression, and a satanic government. Some of you hoped that a Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan would bring dignity and glory to you. What they brought was worse than the Saudi regime: they put women in black sacks, revived the barbaric stoning practice, regressed to the times of tribalism, denied women education, exponentially increased ignorance, and turned Afghanistan into an international farm for opium. You did not question the religion and sect you inherited from your parents or the teachings of the mullah, the sheikh, or the imam. You little examined the nightmare sold to you as dreams.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from our own transgression.

God blessed you with crucial natural resources, so that you could utilize it for your prosperity. Yet, their proceeds are wasted by corrupt, hedonistic, shortsighted, backward and oppressive kings, emirs, tribal leaders, and mullahs. Instead of gaining your freedom, instead of establishing the democratic system instructed by the holy book you claim allegiance, you are wasting your time in cafeterias, on the streets, and in rotten offices of antiquity, which produces nothing but zeros.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from apathy and slavery.

Look at half of your population, your wives, mothers, sisters, daughters. What have you done to them? How can you hope to progress and attain peace, prosperity and God's mercy, while you have buried many of them alive? You cannot expect happiness, while you despise half of God's creation, your wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters; while you deprive them from their human rights given by their Creator, turn them to fractionally humans. You cannot tell God that you did all those evil things to please the idols called Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Maja, Abu Dawud, Malik, Kafi, and a herd of other imams, mullahs and clergymen. None of those idols will save you from God's justice. You are already paying dearly for your misogynistic beliefs and practices. You must apologize to your mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters for treating them like your slaves; you must repent for acting like Pharaohs against them.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from the dark holes of our deception.

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The world knows that Israel has transformed from a victim nation to a racist colonial power. Many progressive Jews too are painfully accepting this fact and they are fighting against it. The world sees and most people acknowledge the fascist policy, occupation, atrocities, massacres, and humiliation committed against the Palestinian people since 1948. The world knows that Israel has killed many more Palestinian children than the Palestinian suicide bombers have done. The numbers and events are out there recorded to prove that Israel has used state terrorism against Palestinian people. The world knows that a coalition of Crusaders, Zionists, and weapon/oil and other interest groups, nested in towers of power are using American tax money, military, and political power to perpetuate this tragedy, hoping for the Armageddon, more land, or bloody profits from wars. Nevertheless, again you must look in the mirror. What have you done, what have you become? You have become as racist as the Zionist you condemn. You condemn Jews without discrimination, Jews that raised many great prophets, philosophers, scientists, and inventors whom you revere and admire. You have become a suicidal nation. Though there were more than mere pacifism into Gandhi's resistance against British colonialism, Gandhi's struggle provided a great example for you. Instead, you followed ignorant leaders, racist and manipulative politicians, terror organizations, misguided religious clerics, and your hormones. If you had taken lessons from modern history and you had used your mind more than your animalistic instincts, if you had followed the Quran rather than the religious teachings that promote violence and racism, by now you would be living next to Israel sharing Jerusalem peacefully as brothers and sisters. You cannot have God's mercy if you respond to hatred with hatred, racism with racism, atrocities with atrocities. You cannot attain freedom and peace without sincerely asking the same thing for your enemies. How can you claim to be muSLiMs, while you have taken SiLM (peace), out of it?

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from violence that has surrounded us.

By continuing along the path of denial and sectarianism, you are risking more than just happiness and dignity in this world, but you also risk shame and retribution in the Hereafter…

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EDIP YUKSEL, J.D. is a progressive American-Turkish-Kurdish author/philosopher/lawyer/activist (too many hyphens and slashes, I know). His recent English books "Quran: a Reformist Translation", "Manifesto for Islamic Reform", and "NINETEEN: God's (more...)
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