Over-stepping on Turkey

Friday, June 11, 2010

By Mowahid Hussain Shah | Published in The Nation: June 10, 2010

For years, Turkey had done what was expected from it to get accepted in the European community. It had cracked down on communism; it became the sheet-anchor of NATO; it contributed a brigade and lost nearly 900 troops during the US-led and UN-sanctioned war effort against Kim II-Sung’s Korea and China during the Korean conflict of 1950-53. It lent its Incirlik Air Base to the US-led coalition during the first Gulf War of 1990-91. It recognised Israel in 1949, the first Muslim majority state to do so, and had an extensive air force accord with the Jewish state. In 1999, it barred Merve Safa Kavakci, a hijab wearing woman elected to the Turkish Parliament, from taking the oath of office.

Now, the Israeli assault on the Turkish-led humanitarian aid flotilla to breach the Gaza blockade has been a game-changer. By doing so, Israel has helped create for itself a foe that may prove more deadly than Hamas and Hezbollah.

There is an old rural Punjab saying that a Tehsildar is not necessarily bad, but his bro-ther may be, because of the reflected arrogance of power, and also because of the vicarious perks he is prone to abuse.

This applies to the US-Israel nexus. While the US military has been relatively humbled by its setbacks in Iran and Afghanistan, its protégé, Israel, continues to act as a spoiled brat because of the unlimited and in effect, unquestioning support it enjoys in the US Congress, officialdom, academia, media, and think tank intelligentsia, all of whom have been relatively quiet despite the fact that, among those killed by Israeli troops on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, was an American teenager, Furkan. An American girl, Emily Henochowicz, from Potomac, Maryland, protesting in Jerusalem against Israel’s attack on the aid flotilla, lost an eye when she was hit by a teargas canister fired by an Israeli soldier. An Irish-owned ship called the Rachel Corrie (named in honour of the 23-year old American girl crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to prevent the razing of a Palestinian home), carrying cement, medical equipment, and relief supplies to Gaza, was boarded by Israeli troops on June 5.
The policy of carving out an exemption for Israel and creating for it an exception from application of the rule of law and international norms is now generating its own blowback effects. In the words of President Abdullah Gul of Turkey: “Israel has made one of its greatest mistakes in history - a mistake it will regret.” Anthony Cordesman, an influential US foreign policy analyst, has written that Israel’s action have made Israel a “strategic liability” to the US.

Unable to make a space for itself in the Mideast neighbourhood, Israel is constantly banking on America to bail it out. A series of accumulated snubs may be distancing Turkey from the Western orbit. Already, a wave of alarm is spreading among pro-Israeli supporters who had, for too long, taken Turkish support for granted.

The fury in Turkey torpedoes the US-Israeli efforts to form a united front against Iran, and makes a mockery of the attempt to present Turkey as a “moderate secular alternative role model.”

Until it tangled with Turkey, Israel thought that military force was sufficient and international opinion inconsequential, as long as US protection was there. There are signs now that may not be enough. Israel not only built a wall in the West Bank, but it has now walled itself from the region.

It is a reminder of what the poet, Robert Frost, has once said:
“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offence.”

By taunting Turkey and violating Turkish honour, Israel may have pushed Turkey back into the Muslim fold, after nearly 100 years in the twilight zone between the West and the East, all because of arrogant over-stepping. By doing so, it may have awakened the long-hibernating Ottoman lion.

The writer is a barrister and a senior political analyst.


Raising children in non-Muslim societies

Raising children in an Islamic way in a non-Muslim society needs everyone’s effort with no exception, starting with the parents’ efforts, to the Mosque’s, to the community’s efforts. All of these roles are important. The stronger these roles are and the more mutually complementary to one another, the better the raising process will be.

The role of the Muslim community is important and is based on a number of factors, of which, the most important are:

1 – Supporting the Islamic center so that it keeps providing all the different services and programs and makes improvements.

Continuous financial supports to cover all the operating expenses and activities expenses. Every program has expenses, which are to be covered by the community. This community has to show support in an exemplary manner for the center; all its activities, the Islamic schools, the monthly utility bills and so on.

We give good news and glad tidings to everyone who donates to an Islamic center that their donations are considered on-going charity that has positive rewarding effects even after death as Prophet Muhammad promised. Imaam Muslim reported that the Prophet said: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things, (and the first of them): Sadaqah Jaareyah (ceaseless charity)” Allaah, Most High, Says (what means): “And whatever you spend in good, it is for yourselves, when you spend not except seeking Allaah’s Countenance. And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” [Quran 2:272]

2- Supporting the Islamic center requires also efforts and time invested in voluntary programs and projects that are frequently needed. This is met when you personally go there and take your children with you. This way, your children take part in the voluntary work. It is an important factor in increasing their tendency to work with a group than to work selfishly and individually. The Prophet used to participate with all his companions in voluntary projects, which are beneficial to the Muslim community.

3- Supporting the Islamic center occurs also through suggesting a good idea to establish new important projects. It also occurs through constructive criticism for existing projects and programs so that they get better. Support does not occur from those who do not show action or from those who criticize only for criticism and always reject others. These people weaken some workers who may leave the projects and subsequently these projects will be weak.

4- Supporting the Islamic center is also done by effective participation in the existing programs and activities by taking your family with you. It is a must that you make this participation a part of your daily and weekly schedule. This participation will help you keep coming and so will be beneficial for you and your family. Also, do not forget that you children need social upbringing that will not be accomplished except through the Muslim community. You can not accomplish this alone. The Prophet ordered us to stay with the Jamaa’ah (community) and warned us from staying away from it. He said: “Stay with the Jama’ah (community) and be cautious of divisions-” [Saheeh Al-Jaami']

5- Supporting the Islamic center is done also by making other Muslim members of the community aware of the activities and programs that the Islamic center has. Also, make sure that you take some of them with you. This way, you will be performing the Muslims due rights and so you will be rewarded without decreasing their rewards on the Day of Judgment.
What helps you participate in the center’s activities and programs is your home. If you live closer to the Masjid (mosque), you will be more easily able to participate in the daily prayers for example. It is important that you also establish good relationships on the basis of Islam with other Muslim families. And to make effort to live in a neighborhood with other Muslim families, so that you can share your experiences about raising your children with them.

We need to establish good relationships on the basis of Islam with other Muslim families. That relationship should be based only on Islam and nothing else. Also, be aware from falling into racism, nationalism that the Prophet warned us against. The racism can be exploited by the satans (devils) among people and Jinn, which will lead to the destruction of the Muslim unity.

To keep away from the racism involves a number of things:

1- To develop good relationships with Muslim families that do not belong to the same nationality or ethnic background.

2- Be aware and avoid the activities that are aimed at only specific nationality or ethnic background or race, for example Arabs with Arabs only, or Indians with Indians only, or Pakistani with Pakistani only, or the Afro-Americans with the Afro-Americans only, even if these activities are intended to build a Masjid or a center or an organization. This will destroy the unity among Muslim community. Allaah, Most High, Says (what means): “And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allaah (Quran or Islam), and be not divided among yourselve” [Quran
3:103] Allaah, Most High, also Says (what means): “The believers are nothing else than brothers” [Quran 49:10]

Many people who fall in the traps of nationalism are not even aware of the seriousness of this practice which destroys the relationship among Muslim children and among Muslim families. Therefore, destroys the meaning of the Islamic universal message that we need to implant in their minds and exemplify it in their reality.