The violence in the Middle East created by sectarian fanaticism has reached unprecedented levels of brutality and madness. It is wholly unacceptable that different sects of the same religion with shared values, but which have differing ideas on their religion, fight each other so intensely. This lovelessness and constant fighting, which have never reached these levels up to now, pose a great threat not only to the region, but also to the world as well.
It is of paramount importance to eliminate the threat created by the sectarian clashes in the MENA region. That being said, the methods to be employed to end this very serious problem should be thought very carefully.
We have two options: directing our attention to the mindsets of people, or trying to stop violence with more violence.
Is it possible, as some analysts suggest, that these problems could be ended by the current dictatorships in the region? Of course, not. A dictatorship is a brutal system that fuels more violence in its attempts to stop violence, and it only leads to more radicalization because of government terrorism and mafiosi methods. It increases hatred, rage, cruelty and produces people who have lost their humanity, ready to wreak havoc throughout the world with terrorism.
The only thing that can prevent violence in the world is invoking love, compassion and mercy in people' souls, which are also in the essence of the three Abrahamic religions. In other words, 'terrorism can be ended only with love.' It is because terrorism and violence stem from a philosophy that distances people from humane feelings, from faith, conscience, love, art, beauty. Policies of love and raising awareness will eradicate lovelessness once and for all.
In the case of Nigeria, we see that an ignorant and completely non-Islamic view that sees the Western education system as illegal was fostered by radical and extremist elements. In reality Islam, like all other faiths, through its holy book the Quran, encourages people to do science, research the universe, think, read and write. Islamic scholars have always opted rational methods in their scientific works. Furthermore, given the fact that according to Islam, 'killing one innocent person is like killing all of humanity,' (Quran, 5:32) it is obviously against Islam to terrorize people in the name of Islam. These distorted ideas should be exposed to the whole world for what they are: the twisted, corrupted misinterpretations of religions. However, these violent tendencies obviously cannot be stopped by resorting to more violence. It is because such radicals have 'violence' coded in their minds.
However, suspending democracy, or not allowing the communities to decide on their administrations will not solve the problem either. Instead, the mistaken ideas infecting these societies should be changed.
Violence is considered religion itself, by such fanatic people. They believe that violence is a requirement of the religion they have in their minds. Therefore, to put an end to violence, this radical state of mind must be eliminated and their minds must be cleared of this blatantly erroneous teaching. This can be achieved only with an anti-radical education and awareness campaign spanning the entire Islamic world.
A rational model that has sufficient qualifications, the will and the power to do the job, should take on this duty. For example, in Turkey, a secular, democratic Muslim country, violence could have never flourished and could have never overcome the love and understanding people had for each other. Turkey is the only Muslim country in the region to have these qualifications. It is because Turkey has chosen a modern understanding of Islam over an ultra-orthodox understanding and does not subscribe to radicalism and fanaticism. This makes the country a very reliable name.
If Turkey is allowed to design the Islamic countries, achieve to turn this current atmosphere of conflict into a heaven-like place with its modern, loving and reasonable approach. As pointed out by many Western analysts, it would be expedient to focus on past successes in the Middle East to learn from their experience.
The famous linguist and political commentator Prof. Dr. Noam Chomsky, attended a conference in Bosphorus University (Istanbul) and said, 'Maybe one day, we will go back to those times when a traveller will be able to travel freely between Cairo, Baghdad and Istanbul. We will go back to those days when people will take charge through local administrations. Those days of the Ottomans can teach us a lot. It will be a better life for everyone in the region.' He makes it clear that it is possible to make region free of division and sectarian clashes and Turkey can achieve this with the legacy it inherited from the Ottomans.
During the 2,500 years of Turkish history, all different groups, religions and ethnicities, including Muslims, Jews and Christians, co-existed harmoniously. Jews that were exiled from Spain were embraced with open arms by the Ottomans 520 years ago and they were placed in the most elite part of the Ottoman lands, Istanbul.
Professor Chomsky is not alone in his idea of learning from Ottoman experience: Former Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Abba Eban, said that only during the reign of the Ottomans, the Jews and Jerusalem residents learned what it meant to live humanely, to be treated equally and tasted peace, while before they suffered the wrath of the Romans and other occupying forces who only brought blood, tyranny and torture. (İlhan Bardakçı, 'Turns out we were never a race', Tercüman, May 7, 1983)
From an economic point of view, it is clear that no country could produce enough will, funds or military power to completely subdue, or eliminate the radical organizations and tendencies which have been brought to the fore. Especially with the ongoing global financial crisis, it will be more expedient to focus on changing the incorrect ideas in peoples' minds rather than turning the entire world into a police station. Obviously, the money currently being spent on weapons would be much better off spent on fostering brotherhood and love.