The mainstream media love fundamentalists. Why? Because they are such effective tools.
Talk of peace or peaceful people seldom appear in the media. Bloodshed, hateful talk, violence and insults are the stuff of headlines, however, and the headlines must always be kept fresh. In this way, knowingly or unknowingly, the media always nourish the radicals who desire bloodshed. That is how they have grown strong. They have strong propaganda to make their voices heard.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a subject we must discuss in terms of religion because there are many disagreements in the name of religion within the conflict.
I am a Muslim, and I therefore look at this subject from a Muslim perspective. Radicalism appears in every faith and ideology–that is nothing new. But what I wish to concentrate on here is the radicalism in the name of Islam that aims to guide our Palestinian brothers. That causes great harm to them and their understanding of their own religion. That is why I have taken some examples from the media and will try to explain the errors here from a Koranic perspective.
The words below appeared in the Palestinian press. They are words spoken in the name of Islam. Immediately after them you will see my replies taken from the Koran:
A report titled “Glorifying terror, inciting hatred and erasing Israel,” which praised some people who perpetrated slaughter, tells us a great deal about radicalism. In the eyes of the Koran, these words spoken in the name of Islam are a sin. Inciting terror and hatred means spreading corruption and God curses corruption in the Koran (13/25, 2/60, 10/81). According to the Koran, a Muslim has a responsibility to eliminate corruption and bring peace to the world, not to commit acts of or glorify terror. That is why God says, “Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you” in the Koran. (2/208).
Inciting hatred is a sin in the eyes of the Koran. According to the Koran, a Muslim is someone who does good deeds (28/77, 5/13), behaves well (15/85), collaborates on the subject of good, being not of sin and excess (5/2) and is affectionate and compassionate (90/17-18). A Muslim in the Koran is therefore someone who eliminates terror, rather than inciting it.
According to the Koran, the duty of a Muslim is not to wipe Israel off the face of the map, but to be made happy by seeing its 4,000-year history and God’s promise there. God put the Prophet Abraham in that land and reveals in the Koran that the people of Israel will live in the Holy Land. The Jews must be present in those lands, according to the Koran (5/21, 17/104, 10/93, 2/58). Seeing this promise made in the Koran 1,400 years ago is a miracle and a source of beauty for a Muslim.
There are many other such examples requiring examination, and I shall continue to look at and expose them. A great many people do not know why they are against the Jews and why they want to expel them from the Holy Land. They imagine their faith to be one of hatred. Those children who are taught that killing a Jew will bring them closer to God, that they can win Jerusalem by shedding the blood of children and that suicide bombings are the best way of achieving martyrdom and are kept away from the truths of the Koran are raised as people of hate, not devout believers. It is the endless media propaganda that keeps radicalism in the public eye that is, to a large extent, responsible for making them like this.
It is very important for us to be able to protect the people of Palestine and the people of Israel against the damaging effects of radicalism. And the only way of doing it is to address ignorant people exposed to propaganda using a different language than that of the mainstream media and educate them properly. There is no other antidote to radicalism but education. With education, radicalism will have no power to propagandize and there will be no more unfortunate and ignorant people taken in by it. When this happens, then our replies to the propaganda of terror will be heard more effectively.
The writer is a commentator and religious and political analyst on Turkish TV and also a peace activist. She is a host and Executive Producer on the Building Bridges Show (http://en.a9.com.tr/showdetails.php?id=86) and writes as an op-ed columnist for the Jerusalem Post, the Washington Post, Moment Magazine, Gulf Daily News and Haber Hilal in Turkey. Her webpage is: http://en.aylinkocaman.com