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Parasites In The Lands Of The Infidels

Egypt’s Resilient and Evolving Social Activism

Why did Trump strike Syria?

In an interview, Amr Adly discusses his recent Carnegie paper on Egypt’s large private enterprises.

It’s Time to Take a Hard Look at the U.S. Relationship With Egypt

As we work to eradicate ISIS, Iraq's Christians, Yizidis need our help now more than ever

Should America’s Refugee Policy Put Persecuted Christians First?

Muslims Were Banned From the Americas as Early as the 16th Century

Review: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Will Make You Rethink Race

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Lion's Den :: Daniel Pipes Blog

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Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries

35 Entrepreneurs Making a Difference in the Arab World

Trump could cause ‘the death of think tanks as we know them’

The Arabs had a country

The Islamic State is attaining its key goal, and U.S. media find the story of “limited interest

While the Muslim Brotherhood gets all the ink, the Salafists go on a rampage.

Egypt, I like your style

The warning bells are ringing

To the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

A test for the Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt’s changing foreign policy

Egypt beyond Mubarak

The dissolution of the NDP

Remaking Cairo from below

Why Egypt should join the ICC

No citizenship without social justice

Mubarak's message

A new era for US-Egypt relations?

The old regime must be prosecuted

Revolution Interrupted? Liberating the media

The Brotherhood on the edge of reform

Brother-tarianism

Buying the People’s Assembly

What do Salafis really want?

A state of counter-emergency

Minimum wage a cure for 'corruption'

Beyond the referendum

Reform security, secure reform

The Tunisian Revolution: Initial Reflections

The Egyptian Revolution: First Impressions from the Field

Lest the revolution turn into a wasted opportunity

The U.S. Should Not Get Involved in Libya

Five positions on the revolution

Urbanised Islam behind Pakistan's Sufi shrine bombings

Rethinking Internal Security in Egypt

Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor

Push ahead now for a solution in Palestine

The Ongoing Attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians

SAUDI ARABIA'S ECONOMIC NEEDS AND THE PRICE OF OIL

Saudi Arabia and the Spectre of Protest

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

Egypt’s Copts in Al-Qaeda’s Sights

The Worldwide Danger of Religious Fundamentalism

Tread Softly

RECLIMING WOMEN'S RIGHT TO DIVORCE IN ISLAM

HOW SHARIA LAW PUNISHES RAPED WOMEN Hasan Mahmud

The global force behind Mumbai’s agony is in our midst

Some Discussions about Qur’an, Violence and Fitnah

Terror in the Name of God

The Adventure of an Islamic Reformer at Oxford, London, and Istanbul

Thank God for Justice

Using C hristian Principles to Enhance Economic Theory and Practice:

Worldwide Hate Speech Laws?

Freedom Agenda In Flames

Commentary: Candidates should seek votes of Muslim-Americans

Why Barack is Winning?

Indian Muslims and 'Terrorism': Some Searching Questions

Taqlid, Ijtihad, and Democracy

Election 08: Senator Obama, American Muslims and IslamophobiaStatement of Concerned Scholars about I

Struggling against sectarianism: Shia-Sunni ecumenism

“Happy Eid” from Turkey

Book Review: Islam in Post-Modern World

The Concept of Jihad in Islam

Downhill in Afghanistan:

> How Not to Toast a Tyrant

How Not to Toast a Tyrant

Manufacturing 'Terrorists' The Indian Way

Madrasas: Reforms a Must

AZERBAIJAN-TURKEY-ISRAEL RELATIONS: THE ENERGY FACTOR

Fort Lauderdale's Anatolia Cultural Center endeavors to 'show the real Islam'

The Balance of Tomorrow:

Book Review: Aurangzeb Revisited

America wants Iraq’s last drop of oil

Terrorising Muslims in the Name of Countering Terrorism

A proposal for new Iraqi/US co-operation and a suggestion of how this can be achieved

How will the Georgian struggle affect Iraq?

Is Obama a man of action as well as words?

Can moderate Iraqis believe Obama’s promises?

Can Iraq be ruled successfully by a Shia/Kurdish coalition?

Name of the Book: Issues in Madrasa Education in India

Dangerous Portents in Jammu and Kashmir: A View From Doda

London School of Islamics

Rethinking Kashmir Politics

Norman G. Kurland, J.D

Sir Salman Rushdie's fatwa against freedom of expression

You Still Can't Write About Muhammad

Muslim Women: The Dangerous Triangle

Judeo-Christian "Rights of Liberty" (and Muslim "Rights of Justice," as well ???)

Turkey's dangerous message to the Muslim world

Captive to a Discarded Cause

Egypt's sexual harassment 'cancer'

The Origins and Legacy of the Movement to Fight Religious Persecution

LEBANON'S MILITIA WARS

A secular state must deliver

“Islamic Economics” – Islam less, economics more-1

Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide is the wrong way to win votes.

How To Win The War Of Ideas (Glassman, WSJ)

The Olympic Games—Political Games?

Me without my Hijab

The changing face of American Islam

An Islamic case for a secular state

Getting a read on moderation

RETHINKING THE REVOLUTION?

Muslim Ghettoisation

Hurting their cause

Allah's Miracles in the Qur'an

Allah's Miracles in the Qur'an

Things are calm, time to talk

Awaiting China ’s implosion

The view from Bali

Why Blame Muslims Alone for Terrorism?

Consequences of Religious Extremism and the Lack of Democratic Principles

Cultural Accumulation and Modern Reading

Liberation Without War

Gaza's New Residents: Terrorists from all over.

Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts

From the Archive
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Sur la dépendance de M. Ibn Salman sur les mercenaires:
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Harut and Marut
Love and Compassion, Not Hate and Revenge
Our Journey to Israel and Palestine (2)
You Have Caused Your Own Destruction!
Analysis of Morsy's visit to Iran
Unbelievers in the Quranic Context Signifies a Description
Y a-t-il un homme croyant parmi la famille pharaonique des Al-Saoud, qui cache sa foi, pour prêcher son peuple?
A Statement From
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A Message from A Very Shrewd Sunnite Man
Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (14): "What Would God Accomplish by your Torment, if You Have Given Thanks, and Have Believed?" (Quran 4:147)
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The Adventure of an Islamic Reformer at Oxford, London, and Istanbul

  by: : Edip Yuksel

www.islamicreform.org

To publicly discuss my recent book, Manifesto for Islamic Reform, I
was invited to give four lectures in November 3-10, 2008. The topics
were A Manifesto for Islamic Reform, and Why Quran Alone through
Reason:

1. MECO, Oxford University, November 3.
2. MECO, Oxford University, November 4.
3. The Muslim Institute, London, November 5.
4. TUYAP Book Fair, Istanbul, November 8.

Prof Taj Hargey, the founder of MECO (Muslim Educational Center of
Oxford), picked me up from the airport with an old diesel Volkswagen.
I had picked the wrong airport and thus he had to drive more than two
hours in a heavy traffic to pick me up. Like all bloody Britons, he
drove on the wrong side of the road, which made me experience constant
anticipation of an imminent bloody traffic accident. Though Taj is a
scholar in a prestigious school, he is not a stereotypical one. To my
delight, I found him not be a pretentious snob living in ivory towers;
he was a humble and a committed activist, a veteran who had tasted
victory against the apartheid regime during his years in South Africa.
His dedication to the message of rational monotheism or islam appeared
to be exemplary. He is both a general and a soldier; a professor and a
student; a leader and comrade. Almost single-handedly, with a shoe-
string budget, he is putting a good fight against the powerful forces
of Sunni and Shiite establishment, and at the same time fighting
against the aggression of the British government. Forces of corruption
from Saudi, Iran and Pakistan are spending hundreds of millions of
pounds to keep the Muslim minority ignorant and backward. The bloody
mullahs have interest in keeping the Muslim minority in ghettoes and
Taj is struggling to create a British Muslim idendity.

Taj told me that his organization lost about fifty percent of its
membership for letting Prof. Amina Wadud lead the congregational
prayer two weeks before my arrival. Though I find inconsistencies in
Amina Wadud's theological position, she is a brave sister who is
reminding Sunni and Shiite population the Quranic verse 49:13, a
universal maxim of their holy book, which they have abandoned for the
sake of fabricated teachings called hadith and sunna.

As it seems, a woman leading the prayer was the last straw on mullah's
back; they unanimously excommunicated Taj and his organization. I was
happy to learn that Taj was not naïve about the regressive powers
against the reform movement and he was even more determined to fight
against misogynistic mullahs. While he was hosting me, he was busy
preparing for the upcoming annual music festival. Of course, music too
is another divine blessing that mullahs prohibit. Imagine a singing
muslim woman in front of men! Music + woman + spotlight! That would be
a triple nightmare for them and Taj was going to organize it with an
international flavor. Kill those mullahs with beauty and music!

Multiple Choice Test or Theological Acid Test

My first lecture at Oxford University was received very well. We had
productive discussions. A graduate student argued for historicity,
that is, reading and usually limiting the Quran with its historic
context. His friend criticized our reliance on science in
understanding the Quranic verses. Citing a few abuses of such an
approach, she wanted to refute any understanding of Quranic verses
according to scientific facts. It took about ten minutes to show her
the problems with her allergy against science and the problem with
doubting proven mathematical statements. If there is any book on earth
that should have complete compatibility with proven scientific facts
and mathematics, it would be the books sent by the creator of the
universe. I knew that their hidden distrust in Quran was the main
factor in their rejection of science and mathematics. It is
interesting that they employ impressive academic jargons to make such
arguments.

I had prepared a test containing 45 multiple choice questions just the
night before my travel. I duplicated them on both sides of a single
sheet and I distributed to the audience before the lecture... They
were asked to write their name, age, occupation, email address,
favorite authors, and their sectarian affiliation. It was a bit
awkward to test an audience that consisted of students and professors
at one of the world's top universities. The multiple-choice test
proved to be a powerful instrument to deliver the message of Islamic
Reform under the light of the Quran. The correct answer for each
multiple choice question was the E option, and for the Yes or No
questions was the B option. So, it would take me a few seconds to
evaluate the tests after they were returned to me. The Sunni or
Shiite test-takers found themselves in quagmire of contradiction with
their own sectarian teachings. They learned that they were thirty,
forty or even more than fifty percent infidels or heretics. Some of
those who marked Sunni as their sectarian affiliation contradicted the
Sunni teachings on most of the issues. According to their own
confessed sects, their lives were worthless; they deserved to be
killed! I did not let this mirror or sect-o-meter remain an individual
experience; I publicly declared the overall results. Many got all
answers correct, including Eric, a monotheist from Unitarian church
who already had a copy of the Quran: a Reformist Translation in his
possession. Eric knew the original message of islam better than all
the mullahs and the so-called "ulama" combined.

Let's Have Just One Percent Please, Just One Percent!

A Sunni professor who attended the lecture together with his wife
could not handle the questions; he stopped after answering a few. It
was amusing how during the discussion session he tried to bargain with
me about the teachings of Hadith and Sunna. He realized that he could
not defend most of the hadiths and sectarian teachings, so he begged
for a compromise: “What about just 1% hadith?” I did not yield. I told
him that we did not need to add even a tiny drop of coli bacteria into
our food. Even one percent of shirk (partnership with God) is evil,
and that one percent would mean that we still rejected God's repeated
assertion that His book is detailed, complete, clarified and
sufficient for guidance. Furthermore, that one percent hole in the
book would be small; yet, it would allow insects, then mice and then
get even bigger enough for a litter of pigs, perhaps bearded ones, to
intrude. I reminded him that there was no difference between
associating one or hundred partners to God.

The following night was the continuation of the previous lecture. I
focused on the importance of critical thinking and using our God-given
19 rules of inference. I warned them against developing schizophrenic
personalities, which almost all religious people do. I started with
the following words:

Before putting anything in our mouths we observe the color, sniff its
smell. If it looks rotten, or smells bad we do not touch it. If a food
passes the eye, nose, and hand tests, then our taste buds will be the
judge. If a harmful bit fools all those examinations, our stomach come
to rescue; it revolts and throws them up. There are many other organs,
such as liver and kidney, which function as stations for testing,
modification, and filtering of imported material into our bodies. They
ultimately meet our smart and vigilant nano-guards, white cells. Sure,
there are many harmful or potentially harmful foods that pass all the
way through our digestive system into our blood, such as alcohol and
fat. Nevertheless, without much using our reasoning faculty, we have
an innate system that protects our body from harmful substances. Then,
it is a mystery how we put information and assertions, especially the
most bizarre ones, into our brains without subjecting them to rigorous
test of critical thinking. We should not turn our brains into
trashcans of false ideas, holy viruses, unexamined dogmas and
superstitions! We should be wise!

Do we have an innate system that protects us from harmful or junk
ideas, especially dogmas or jingoism that could turn us into zombies
or self-righteous evil people? Yes: our logic is the program that
detects and protects us against the most harmful viruses, which
usually find their way when we are hypnotized by crowds, salespeople,
politicians or clergymen.

The Prominent Imam with an Illiterate Role Model

For the third lecture, Taj took me to London. There I was going to
give a lecture at Muslim Institute. I met some of familiar names,
authors that I have known decades before, such as Dr. Ziyauddin Sardar
and Dr. Ghayasudding Siddiqui. I also met some young reformers such as
Farouk Peru, and Yusuf Desai and Nosheen Oezcan of Forward Thinking. I
was positively surprised that with the exception of an imam there, who
was considered a moderate and open minded one, they did not react in
angry temper tantrums to my invitation to follow the Quran alone.

The imam rejected the Manifesto for Islamic Reform wholesale with a
passionate opening. He accused me of distorting the facts. To
substantiate his opposition, Imam Abduljalil Sajid picked one out of
my assertions. He argued that Muhammad must have been illiterate. He
did not provide an alternative take against my depiction of such
illiteracy to be either an insult to Muhammad's intelligence or his
intention. He did not bother to explain how a role model, a divinely
selected messenger would not be able to recognize 28 Alphabet letters
in 63 years of his life (two years for each letter!), or during the 23
years he received revelation that encouraged its audience to attain
knowledge by reading. He did not deal with the problem of the
alternative explanation, that is, how a role model could deliberately
keep himself illiterate for all his life! Somehow, our imam, like all
other religious leaders, had great tolerance for contradictions. His
brain was filled with so many; he had perhaps given up from resolving
them... A perfect example of intellectually boiled frog syndrome! I
had empathy for him, since in my youth I was one of them. I let him
vent his frustration.

Imam Abduljalil argued that the word Iqra did not mean read, but it
meant recite. So, according to him, despite the instruction of verse
96:1, Muhammad could still have been illiterate. It was a late Monday
night and we did not have time to engage in a lengthy discussion. For
instance, I could remind him his own hadith which reported the first
encounter of Muhammad and Angel Gabriel. According to that hadith
report, when he was instructed with the first verse of chapter 96,
Iqra, to make Muhammad read the visually displayed Quran, the angel
squeezed him like a lemon several times when Muhammad claimed “wa ma
ana biqarin” (I cannot read). Obviously that hadith report did not
mean that Muhammad was incapable of repeating a word with two syllabi;
it meant that he could not recognize the letters… I picked another
argument.

-- Let's assume that you are right regarding the meaning of Iqra.
Then, what is the Arabic word for “recite”?
-- ???
-- Well, there must have been a word for reading in Arabic, since the
Quran talks about books, about pen, about writing...
-- ???

Our imam who started his criticism with a loud denunciation suddenly
turned mute. He could not even come up with a single word. I did not
wish to push him further, since everyone in the room realized that he
either did not know what he was arguing about or he realized that he
was wrong. I remembered the most ridiculous praises in human history,
where Muhammad is praised by millions for his illiteracy with the
distorted meaning of the word “ummy” uttered together with another
distorted word "sally". Thinking about the low illiteracy among the
so-called Muslim population, I did not let the issue go away without a
conclusive ending. I wanted to prove to him and everyone else that
Muhammad was literate.

So, I used one of my successful teaching tools, which I employed first
time in 1987 to convince Ali Bulaç, a prominent and prolific Muslim
thinker who has numerous books and a Turkish Quran translation. After
following my instructions, Ali was convinced in less than a minute
that Muhammad must have been literate. Imagine the power of debunking
the consensus of all Sunni and Shiite scholars in less than a minute!
Imagine convincing a famous and popular Sunni author that all his
Sunni scholars were wrong about an important issue. All in less than a
minute! Yet, this proof has been implicitly provided in the Quran with
the revelation of its first verses, through the very verses
instructing how to read the Quran. What a marvelous book!

So, I tried that Quranic educational tool. I asked the imam to grab
the pen and write down the beginning of chapter 96:
“Bismillahirrahmanirarrahim. Iqra bismi rabbika allazi khalaq” That's
it. Surprise: he did not wish to write it. Perhaps he was scared to
continue engaging in a Socratic dialog. Had he written those few
words, I would ask him why he wrote both words the same. Surely, he
would be justified to spell them the same, since both were pronounced
the same and meant the same. Then, I would ask him to look at the
spelling of the Quran. He would notice that the one in Bismillah was
consisted of three letters, BSM, but the one in the following verse
was spelled with an extra aleph, BISM. So, even if we assume that
Muhammad did not write the revelation of the Quran with his own hand,
even if we believe in the stories of him dictating to scribes, he must
have at least known the letter aleph. If he knew aleph, then he was at
least 1/28th literate. “I proved that he knew the letter aleph and now
it is your turn to prove that he did not know the letter B, the second
letter in alphabet,” I would nicely ask. If our imam got stuck again,
I would perhaps go forward and ask him about the different spelling of
Mecca and Becca or the curious spelling of Bastata in verse 7:69.

I wanted to end the argument with the imam with an exposition. I knew
his problem and I knew the fastest way to expose it. I told the
audience that the gentleman was arguing about God's system without
knowledge and without an enlightening book. I announced that I was
going to prove that he did not in fact have respect for the Quran. I
started reading from verse 6:145 and then posed him my question: "Do
you have any other source or any other witness that adds more dietary
prohibitions to the four items listed in this verse?" If he said no,
he would contradict numerous hadiths and all sectarian teachings. If
he said Yes, he would contradict this verse and would be exposed by
the following verses as a "mushrik" (polytheist) for attributing the
manmade religious prohibitions to God. He did not rush into saying
Yes, as most of the Sunni scholars recklessly do. To my question
regarding additional dietary prohibitions, he responded with extreme
caution: "May be or may be not!" What? You are an "imam" in
your
fifties and you have eaten thousands of meals and you still do not
know what is prohibited? And you are refuting the Quran alone for a
"may be or may be not"? Do you exist? "Maybe or may be
not?" Is eating
shrimp haram? "Maybe or maybe not!" Is eating lobster haram?
"Maybe or
maybe not!" Are you okay? "Maybe or maybe not!"

For some of the audiences, that was the last straw that broke their
already stressed respect for the imam. Several people got frustrated
him. One of them loudly yelled at him with animated arms: "If you do
not know such a simple thing, then why are you debating with the guest
speaker? Let him talk." Hearing his own people reprimanding him, the
imam quietly left the room. I felt bad for him, but what he was doing
was very wrong. He was trying to keep people in the darkness of
ignorance. He was promoting shirk (polytheism) under the guise of
monotheism. He was pretending to respect the prophet Muhammad while he
was disrespecting the only book he delivered. He was insulting his
intelligence by claming that he remained illiterate until his death.
Yet, he insisted putting Muhammad's name next to God every time he
uttered the monotheistic maxim. I hope that after hearing the message,
he will show courage and wisdom to reject the fabricated Hadith and
Sunna and uphold the Quran alone.

Detention at the Airport by the Turkish Police

The moment I arrived at the airport in Istanbul, I was immediately
arrested by half a dozen young police officers who appeared to be
celebrating the catch. After a boring day, they had a Turkish author
(again) from the USA. I was informed about three charges against me,
all involving political criticism of Turkish government and its
policies. Some consisted of distortions of my published articles,
exaggerations, or words taken out-of-context. And most did not even
belong to me; they belonged to anonymous people who visit my websites
and post their political opinions and criticism at the forums.

They took me to a nearby police station. When I entered the room, I
noticed a poster filled with flags under the title: Independent
Turkish Republics. I have no problem with such a sense of Turkish
idealism. In fact, years ago, when the Turkish nations declared
independence from Russia, I hoped and promoted an aggressive Turkish
policy to create a unified block. Unfortunately, Turkey missed such an
opportunity. However, when I heard the phone ring of an officer, I
started getting a bit concerned. It was playing the Yeni Ceri march,
“Ceddin deden, ceddin baban… hep kahraman Türk milleti…” (Your
ancestors your grandparents, your ancestors your fathers… The Turkish
nation has always been heroic…) At that point, I knew that I was among
an openly racist police department. I have suffered from Turkish
racism in many ways. For instance, my young brother Metin Yüksel, a
legendary youth leader, was killed by Turkish fascists in 1979. I know
first hand the evil of racism.

To my surprise and delight, the Turkish police was very kind and
respectful. I am not sure how much of it was because of my American
passport, but I think they had a radical change in attitude. They
followed the legal procedure to the letter. They informed me about my
right to stay silent, my right not to stay more than 24 hour in jail
without going to the court. They were music to my ears; I felt as if I
was dealing with an American police officer. The jail, which I spent
the night, was very clean. I laid down on the floor, reading the
Newsweek Magazine, a book on Evolution and Intelligent design, and
Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities. It was the
best night ever I spent in a Turkish jail! Sure, this was a very low
traffic police station and they could keep it clean. Regardless, I
could not believe in such a change, since it was very different from
my experience with the Turkish police and jails years ago. During my
heydays, in 1977-1987, I was a frequent host of those jails and they
were horrible. Some would have raw sewer passing through, rats mingle
with detainees, and when I get out, I would always get lice as the
present. Compared to those Turkish jails, this one was like a five
star hotel. I command the Turkish government for this great progress
in respecting human dignity and rights.

Kurds, the Oppressed Minority

Well, I had also a bad experience, and should share that too. The
chief of the police station treated me like a guest. He took me to his
office and ordered food for me where I watched the Turkish TV for
about an hour. This made me feel uncomfortable; I was kept unjustly
yet I was feeling indebted to my captors. The weekly news program 32nd
Day was on. The topic of the discussion was the chronic Kurdish
problem. The panel had two Turkish politician or author. There was a
good debate about the problem which was the making of the racist
Turkish policy. The official racist ideology initially denied the
existence of Kurds. Before 1970's, you could not find the word Kurds
in the newspapers. The Turkish history text books still consider the
Kurdish minority as non existent. Even the great Kurdish leader
Salahaddin Ayyubi is described as a Turkish leader. Later, when denial
became impossible, the racist Turkish oligarchy described them as
Mountain Turks. They did not have a different language, there was no
such a language called Kurdish.

Yet, they later shamelessly tried to ban the non-existent language and
secured the ban of the language through an article in the Constitution
of 1982, which was drafted by the generals who interrupted the
democracy. The paranoid Turkish racism terrorized politically active
Kurds through contra-guerillas, mafia, and Gray Wolf fascists. They
kidnapped, tortured and assassinated numerous Kurdish authors and
leaders… In a journal article titled “Yes, I am a Kurd,” I exposed the
racist Turkish policy against Kurds. “My people are denied their
identity, their culture, language, naming their own children, using
their own land and living in freedom and security.” (See:
http://www.yuksel.org/e/law/kurd.htm ) Kurds were even denied to
celebrate their cultural holidays, such as, the Newroz (New Year). Its
celebration was banned. When the racist policy politicized Kurds and
led to the creation of various Kurdish political movements, including
the terrorist PKK organization, the Turkish government was forced to
recognize Newroz. Not as a Kurdish holiday, but a newly discovered
ancient Turkish holiday! Since racism, like religion, is capable of
turning smart people into stupid people, they could not even think
about the name of the holiday: The name of the officially hijacked
Kurdish holiday was made of two Persian or Kurdish words: New (new)
Roz (Day). In last decade, Kurds have received many rights, but with a
huge cost, after losing the lives of tens of thousands and destruction
of thousands of towns in South Eastern Turkey. The desire of Kurdish
people for equality and dignity is still an ongoing struggle.

Back to the TV program... While listening to the panelists, the young
police officer who had been treating me so nicely suddenly confessed:
“If I did not have any expectation from life, I would get a machine
gun and kill all of them.” The other police officer, who was as young
and nice, joined him by declaring his solution for the Kurdish
problem: “We should just adopt the ways of our Ottoman ancestors; we
should erect hundreds of stakes on the streets and hang hundreds of
them on them. Then, you will not hear any Kurdish problem!” Now I knew
why their phones were singing Ottoman military marches.

I did not raise objection. It would be futile to discuss with a group
of racist police officers while they had me in their possession.
Ignorance and arrogance feed each other, and they had plenty of both.
Well, later I would be engaging in a Socratic dialogue with a bored
nationalist police officer who stood by curiously asking some
questions through the bars. Like most racists, he was in denial of his
racism. But, all his arguments were biased and Turkish-centered.
According to him, there was no problem in forcing Kurdish people to
say “My existence should be a sacrificial to the existence of
Turkishness” or “One Turk equals to the World," or "Happy Our
discussion lasted about two hours until he was tired standing on his
feet. I think, I was able to penetrate his consciousness, showed him
the mirror and placed major doubts about nationalism, which is one of
the worst mental diseases of modern times.

Tried in two Continents in one Day

The Turkish police shuttled me between two courts, one in Asian the
other in the European part of Istanbul, rushing to beat the deadline
so that I would not stay in jail until the next Monday. I was not
handcuffed during this travel; except briefly while I was taken to the
car by a new police officer whom later was asked by his superior to
open the handcuff.

I was also very impressed by the temperament of the judges and their
just decision to release me and continue the court. When we arrived in
Sultanahmet Adliyesi we rushed to the court's secretary's office. The
judge happened to be sitting there. When he heard my name, he ordered
the secretary that he knew where was the thick folder was. He pointed
at one of the shelves on the wall. Indeed the folder was filled with
papers, that is, copies of the hundreds of articles posted by hundreds
of people at the forums of 19.org.

The judge initially worried me by telling me that he would continue
the ban for my exit. But, he turned to be a very reasonable person.
Perhaps he was just bluffing. Not knowing his intention I asked time
for my attorney to come. The judge happily postponed the court to 2 pm
afternoon. He read the illegal statements copied from my website’s
forums. They were primitive and colloquial insult words that I never
use. I am puritan and I never use cuss words even in my privacy. They
were, according to the complaint prosecutor, insulting Turkishness,
insulting Turkish flag, insulting Turkish generals, insulting Turkish
National Congress, insulting Turkish judges, insulting Turkish
prosecutors, and insulting Turkish police officers. The prosecutor had
agreed with the informant citizen that I had violated the article 301
of the Criminal Code and a few others. The charges were based on a
complaint letter and supportive documents of a cult member affiliated
to Adnan Oktar aka Harun Yahya, whose name was recognized by my
attorney who has been defending the victims of this cult leader. (This
cult leader has used the repressive Turkish laws to ban 19.org and
many other popular sites, such as wordpress youtube and
richarddawkins.net. Following his instructions, his followers are
spamming the Internet with ugly false accusations against me.)

As later Taj would comfort me during my return to London, "if they did
not accuse you of insulting Turkish pizza, Turkish bath, and Turkish
coffee, no problem." Well, I had problem with the accusations. First,
I would never insult Turkish race, since I am not a racist person. I
believe that God allowed the children of Adam to diversify in color,
culture and language in order to enrich our life. I know that the
superiority is not by color or ethnic group, but by righteous acts.
Besides teaching philosophy at college, I was also teaching Turkish
classes at my younger son's K-12 school in Arizona. According to the
cultural attaché at the Turkish embassy in Washington, I was the first
person in America that started teaching Turkish at a public K-12
school. I display a Turkish flag, its map, the picture of Mustafa
Kamal Ataturk, and several beautiful pictures from Istanbul on the
walls of the class I teach. Some parents traveled to Turkey just
because of their children's exposure to Turkish language and culture.
Perhaps, those who accused me of insulting Turkishness would never
serve the interest of Turkish people as much as I have done. If I had
wanted to retaliate against what the racist Turks had done to me and
my family, perhaps I should have joined the ranks of PKK terror
organization. I am a Kurd whose mother tongue was banned by the racist
Turkish laws, whose brother was killed by Turkish nationalists, and
who was imprisoned and tortured for four years for expressing opposing
political views, and was forced to serve in Turkish military for 18
months as a “dangerous soldier.”... As a rational monotheist, as a non-
sectarian muslim, I could not have acted as my racist enemies. I
promote unity and friendship between Kurds and Turks in all my
writings on the issue.

I have written numerous articles critical of authoritarian generals
who meddle with the Turkish democracy, or have written satires
critical of flag-worshiper jingoists, or criticized the unjustified
ban on women's headscarf, but they were never crude insults as they
were stated. "Those words could not have written by me," I told the
judge and the prosecutor on the bench. I was a good author and
accusing me of authoring those primitive insults were in fact insult
to my profession. "If I wished to insult those things," I said,
"I
could have insulted in style, in a much better language."

Though I find some of the Turkish laws suppressive of freedom of
expression, I am very pleased that the legal system and police conduct
have dramatically improved to the better. When it became clear that
most of the "criminal words" did not belong to me, but belonged to
the
forum members at www.19.org , I was blamed for not censoring the
postings of Turkish or Kurdish people who had expressed insults to
Turkish government and national symbols.

The judge was a reasonable person and perhaps had problem with the
article 301, which is now under consideration to be discarded. He
dictated my statement, and instructed for my release and lifting the
ban on my exit from Turkey. He wished to rule on the other two charges
too, but they were not under his jurisdiction. We had to rush for the
court at Kartal-Pendik region, on the Asian section of the city. We
had less than an hour to beat the deadline 5 pm. Otherwise, I had to
remain in jail until Monday, the day of my departure from Turkey. I
would experience the fastest travel in Istanbul's heavy traffic. The
police officers used the siren and zigzagged through the traffic,
occasionally using the shoulder, made it to the court just seven
minutes before 5 pm.

The middle-aged judge, while browsing my files, looked at me and asked
me whether my brother was killed about thirty years ago. I was worried
that he could be affiliated with the nationalists. Well, after asking
me a few questions, he instructed my release. I am very thankful to
the police officers who did their best to make my release possible by
the end of the day. I had a very little chance to get a release from
the three charges.

The following day, I had a great reception at the book fair. This was
my third real public appearance since my immigration to the USA, about
19 years ago. For security reasons, I had to limit my activities with
TV programs that allowed me to encounter religious scholars through
live debates. The lecture room was filled with enthusiastic audience.
The reporter from the weekly Tempo magazine later told me about his
impression. He was surprised to see a very diverse demographics: young
and old, men and women, women with headscarves and women wearing
modern attire… They were very peaceful and friendly to my arguments.

During the remaining two days in Istanbul, I had an interview for
Tempo Magazine's upcoming cover story on Islamic Reform movement, and
I met with various groups, including an elite group from another
Turkic republic. Contrasting my first night on the floor of the cell,
a friend of mine gave me the key of one of his luxury apartments
looking at the Bosporus Straight just above Bebek…

I was relieved the moment my airplane departed to London. When I
arrived at Atlanta airport, I knew that I was at home. As much as I
dislike some of the policies of the US government, especially its
foreign policy and its promiscuous affairs with big corporations, I
consider myself a very lucky person for living in a country with such
a Constitution that has allowed me not to worry about expressing my
progressive and liberal political and religious views. After my
experience during my recent short trip, I became even more
appreciative of the Constitution that protects individuals from the
tyranny of government. May God reward Jefferson with eternal bliss!