Wars All Over the World
You who have faith! Enter
Islam totally. Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He
is an outright enemy to you.
(Surat al-Baqara: 208)
20th century was a century of wars, of genocide and of
conflicts. Unprecedented in world history, that century was marked
with bloodshed. It was the period when the images of millions of
people losing their lives rolled before our very eyes. Again in
that century, tens of millions have been forced from their homes,
lost their loved ones or became maimed, injured or disabled. New
states were established and many others collapsed, and that had
very important repercussions in world history. That century witnessed
two world wars, which reached global dimensions, unlike those in
preceding centuries. In the past, only a few countries were involved
in wars and a limited number of frontlines served as the scenes
of these disasters. However, during the First World War alone, nine
million people died and more than twenty million people were wounded,
and in the Second World war at least fifty-five million people lost
The reality is that the worst-hit victims are not the
combatants but the millions of civilians caught in cross-fires and
the women, children and the elderly who are massacred. People became
familiar with the term genocide in the 20th century. Vietnam, Palestine,
Kashmir, Rwanda, Bosnia and Chechnya were plagued with conflicts,
each taking their own deadly human toll. Tens of thousands of people
were tortured leading the rest of their lives as displaced people.
In the Qur'an, the period of the Pharaoh is related as
a period similar to this era. The cruel massacres, which occurred
in Pharaoh's time, were always targeted at the poor, the destitute
and the unprotected. That Pharaoh tormented his people is related
Pharaoh exalted himself arrogantly
in the land and divided its people into camps, oppressing one group
of them by slaughtering their sons and letting their women live.
He was one of the corrupters. (Surat al-Qasas: 4)
Remember when Musa said to his
people, 'Remember Allah's blessing to you when He rescued you from
the people of Pharaoh. They were inflicting an evil punishment on
you, slaughtering your sons and letting your women live. In that
there was a terrible trial from your Lord. And when your Lord announced:
"If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if
you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe." (Surah Ibrahim: 6-7)
In our day, media coverage of these mass murders explicitly
shows how removed the perpetrators are from humanity. Completely
devoid of every sort of moral sensitivity and humane feeling, usually
these people are unaware of what they are striving for. The same
also holds true of wars. Those who are responsible for planning
wars and implanting the seeds of war in societies do these in expectation
of the fulfilment of some particular interests. However, often many
of those who are actively involved in war do not have any idea of
what they are fighting for.
The reason why people become cruel, to the extent of
committing violent mass murders or massacres, is actually because
of the mentality they imbibe from their leaders. In a system in
which a human being is treated like an animal, and torture, torment
and violence are rationalised, no values sound meaningful. Viewed
from this standpoint, there are parallels between the leaders, the
powerful of the earth constituting the driving forces of violence
in our time, and Pharaoh and his soldiers about whom the Qur'an
gives an account:
We made them leaders, summoning
to the Fire, and on the Day of Rising they will not be helped. We
pursued them with a curse in this world and on the Day of Rising
they will be hideous and spurned. (Surat al-Qasas: 41-42)
THE ROOTS OF VIOLENCE
When we scrutinise closely the underlying reasons behind
men massacring one another yet without being consumed with guilt,
we encounter materialist thinking, which had great impact on the
philosophical life of the 19th and 20th centuries. Materialistic
philosophy maintains that there is nothing but matter. Matter has
existed for all eternity and will remain so until eternity. Starting
out from this premise, it denies the existence of Allah and all
values pertaining to the spiritual life as well as good morals.
Again, this distorted rationale argues that man exists to survive,
and he is not responsible to anyone for anything. Therefore, materialists
say, he should only pursue his own interests.
At the roots
of many acts of cruelty in the modern world lies the
The theory of evolution advocated by materialist philosophers
is the pillar on which this distorted understanding is founded.
At the time the theory of evolution was first proposed, it supported
the materialist standpoint and thus it laid the basis for the cold-blooded
thinking behind mass murders and massacres. In the concept of the
"survival of the fittest", Darwin suggested that the weak would
always be eliminated while the strongest would survive. The view
called "Social Darwinism" became the basic tenet of the racist views
prevalent in 19th century capitalism. According to this view, the
weak, the destitute and the disabled and even whole races of people
were defined as creatures whose evolutionary status is such that
they must serve the interests of the 'fittest'.
This materialist approach attaches no importance to human
life. In particular, there is no obstacle to the annihilation of
the weak. This lack of appreciation of human life explains why people
are killed for only an acre of land, for personal ambitions or to
acquire some natural resources. Ascribing the quality of absoluteness
to matter, people who deny the existence of spirit become prone
to commit every sort of wrong and foul action and they also drive
others to this cruelty. The Qur'an, however, attaches utmost importance
to human life. In the Qur'an, killing a single person is equated
with killing all mankind:
...So We decreed for the tribe
of Israel that if someone kills another person - unless it is in
retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth
- it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life
to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind.
Our Messengers came to them with Clear Signs but even after that
many of them committed outrages in the earth. (Surat al-Ma'ida:
World history abounds with people who lost their lives
in wars waged for an acre of land or an ideology.
As stated in the verse above, in a society where people
adhere to the commands of Allah, circumstances do not cost lives
and the displacement of people. People are not tortured, jailed
or mistreated. The Qur'an, as earlier mentioned, commands fair and
kind treatment of people and summons man to refrain from violence,
cruelty, greediness and going beyond the limits. Denouncing violence
and injustice on earth requires that we assume the responsibility
for communicating the existence of Allah, the Day of Judgement and
the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Those who abstain from
this duty and simply ignore it should fear the wrath of Allah since
Allah puts man to test in this world:
We destroyed generations before
you when they did wrong. Their Messengers brought them the Clear
Signs, but they were never going to have iman. That is how We repay
evildoers. Then We appointed you after them to be heirs on the earth
so We might observe how you would act. (Surah Yunus: 13-14)
CAUSES OF WAR
Only an analysis conducted on the causes of war would
reveal the irrational grounds on which wars are waged. No war has
reasons that justify it being worth the cost of thousands of lives
and of even more enormous numbers of wounded. The major reason that
wars are the source of enduring pain for humanity and utter ruin
for national economies are the people who are apt to do mischief
and violate others' rights.
In a society where people adhere to the
Qur'an and the Sunnah, bloodshed without just cause and massacres
are never allowed, especially when innocent and young people
are in question. Provided the desire for peace and good conduct
guide human relations, the consequences are pleasing.
This character is best described as being merciless and
selfish. Totally bereft of all humane qualities such as compassion,
mercy and the ability to co-operate, such people only pursue their
personal greed and strive to satisfy their cravings for leadership.
In the words of the Qur'an, this character is described as follows:
Whenever he holds the upper hand,
he goes about the earth corrupting it, destroying (people's) crops
and breeding stock. Allah does not love corruption. When he is told
to have fear for Allah, he is seized by pride which drives him to
wrongdoing. Hell will be enough for him! What an evil resting-place!
(Surat al-Baqara: 205-206)
A good action and a bad
action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better
and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will
be like a bosom friend.
(Surah Fussilat: 34)
Often, violation of one country's rights by another becomes
the reason why a country wages war on another. A war declared for
an acre of land usually sets in train the irreversible momentum
towards ruin for every country. During wars lasting years, all the
countries involved invest heavily in armament, to the point of consuming
all their material wealth. Meanwhile, budgets originally designated
for education and health always prove inadequate for society's welfare.
Some vital lobbies, groups and powerful company interests lie at
the root of these conflicts.
Those suffering from the consequences of war are not
only the soldiers. As well as loss of human life and
property, wars do serious psychological damage to civilians.
Meanwhile, it is always the public who are afflicted
with the painful consequences of war. The result, however, is always
sheer ruin for both parties. That is because those who become involved
in insurgent uprisings always meet trouble in this world and never
succeed to live in comfort. Allah promises torment to those who
There are only grounds against
those who wrong people and act as tyrants in the earth without any
right to do so. Such people will have a painful punishment. (Surat
Underground and natural resources, mines and water sources
are other factors driving countries to war. Conflicts often emerge
when countries deprived of these resources start to threaten their
neighbours in order to share these resources. These problems could
be resolved by the employment of high technology and appropriate
planning. This being the case, however, some countries devote all
their power to exercise influence and control by means of wars and
conflicts, and see nothing wrong in ravaging countries by bombing
irrigation channels, for instance, or resorting to any sort of violence.
Meanwhile, the death of innocent women and children - "collateral
damage" - are of no real concern to them.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT LIVING BY THE QUR'AN
As mentioned in Surat an-Nisa', every believer is responsible
for assisting the destitute:
What reason could you have for
not fighting in the way of Allah for those men, women and children
who are oppressed and say, 'Our Lord, take us out of this city whose
inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us
a helper from You!'? (Surat an-Nisa': 75)
What needs to be done at this point is to summon people
to fear of Allah and remind them that everyone will give account
on the Day of Judgement. All other attempts to address this matter
are destined to fail since only a person having fear of Allah avoids
injustice and use of violence against others. Otherwise, nothing
can prevent man's misdeeds; he takes every opportunity to return
to his undesirable attitudes. Only someone who comprehends the superiority
of the Qur'an can "restore" his life its honour by adhering to the
Qur'an, and calling others to do the same. Thus, any serious Muslim
has a duty to communicate the religion. Believers should tell all
people of the bliss, joy and sense of security and trust the religion
grants man. Thus, no reason will remain for these wars to persist.
Every conflict will be settled in peace. Yet, it should also be
stressed that this peace remains unattainable if only some people
obey the Qur'an. Uninterrupted peace around the world is possible
only if the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah are adopted in general.
Otherwise, only particular regions will benefit from the joy the
Qur'an grants and other people would continue to live under dismal
conditions and oppression, suffering greatly from poverty and violence.
THE CALL FROM COUNTRIES WHICH ARE IN NEED OF HELP
For people having faith in Allah and adhering to the
Qur'an and the Sunnah in every moment of their lives, every incident
intrinsically possesses many signs and purposes. That is because,
Allah creates every incident with a purpose, thereby putting man
to the test in his attitudes and behaviour. Every person having
faith bears responsibilities: to tell of the existence and oneness
of Allah, to command the right and forbid the wrong and to fight
with intelligent argument against every movement rooted in denial
of the existence of Allah are some of the most important of these.
Provided the religion is precisely communicated, conscientious communities
having deep fear of Allah will emerge. Then, the solution to all
problems rooted in non-adherence to the religion will spontaneously
emerge. Allah reminds us of the responsibilities believers should
take on in the following verse:
Fight them until there is no more
persecution and the deen belongs to Allah alone. If they cease,
there should be no enmity towards any but wrongdoers. (Surat al-Baqara:
As stated earlier, in our day priority should be given
to the intellectual fight against that materialist philosophy which
rejects the religion outright. No doubt, this fight will take place
within the framework of the peaceful and compromising manner depicted
in the Qur'an. Once the ideological bases and underlying philosophies
are destroyed, all ideologies based on them will, one by one, collapse.
Allah informs us in the Qur'an that once truth is revealed, falsehood
is doomed to vanish:
Rather We hurl the truth against
falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away!
Woe without end for you for what you portray! (Surat al-Anbiya:
Those who adhere to the Qur'an at every moment of their lives,
cannot be indifferent to the
call of desperate people.
That is the reason why we should communicate the religion
to everyone who is far from the Qur'an. For the same reason we should
encourage all humankind to abandon the gloomy world that disbelief
brings. In the following pages, considerable space will be devoted
to some of the troubled countries plagued with conflict. The stress
given to these countries, however, does not serve merely informative
purposes. For such purposes, there are thousands of books, tens
of thousands of reports available. The intention here is to encourage
conscientious people to help oppressed people who are desperate
for solutions. It is important to remind believers of this honourable
duty, and make them ponder the conflicts ravaging countries and
the adversities oppressed men, women and children face. Nobody must
think that these conflicts, which lay waste many a country, are
far away and that thus they are incapable of doing anything.
It is obvious that an array of humanitarian, human rights,
and development organisations coming forward under the guise of
providing protection and aid offer no concrete solutions at all.
These organisations, using up enormous funds and employing numerous
staff, have so far demonstrated inadequate performance and brought
relief to a very limited number of people. People should be made
aware that for those who are oppressed in Kosovo, Bosnia, Kashmir
or Palestine today, who desperately await a "saviour", there is
only one solution: living by the Qur'an.
The ongoing Russian-Chechen war is one of the legacies
of the 20th century on the world agenda today. Russia's assaults
on Chechnya, killing mostly women and children civilians, adds to
the gravity of the situation in this corner of the world. The images
of bombs dropped on marketplaces, giving no chance of survival to
unprotected Chechen women, children and unarmed civilians, unfold
before the eyes of the world. In one bombing alone, targeted at
a maternity home, fifteen babies lost their lives. The attitude
of the Russian leaders, ordering soldiers to shoot civilians leaving
their villages to seek shelter in neighbouring countries, shows
the striking dimensions of the violence.
A similar massacre in history, the massacre Pharaoh carried
out against his people, is recounted in the Qur'an:
Remember when we rescued you from
the people of Pharaoh. They were inflicting an evil punishment on
you - slaughtering your sons and letting your women live. In that
there was a terrible trial from your Lord. (Surat al-Baqara: 49)
As stressed in the Qur'an, throughout history, defenceless
people have been vulnerable to the cruelty exercised by people of
Pharaonic character. A brief historical review of Chechnya, whose
populace is under threat, would help us to a better understanding
of the violence prevalent in the country.
In the year 1918, the Caucasus, including Chechnya, were
under the rule of Soviet Russia. At this time, communist Moscow
reigned over a large territory, separating lands populated by ethnic
groups by drawing artificial borders. This ethnic separation was
even further intensified by compulsory relocations. During World
War II, the communist regime conducted midnight operations forcing
Caucasian people into trains destined for Siberia and the Middle
East. Thousands of people did not reach their destinations alive
and, on the order of the communist regime, other ethnic populations
settled in the lands they left behind. Caucasians who returned to
their homelands after some years encountered other people living
in their homes. The policy of "divide and rule" employed by Moscow
at that time aggravated the ethnic tensions of today.
The collapse of the Soviet Union lifted the lid on nationalist
aspirations and ethnic rivalries leading a number of ethnic groups
within the boundaries of the former Soviet sphere to declare their
independence. Some other ethnic groups pursued independence only
in their economic relations and remained under the control of the
Russian Federation. Chechnya's 1.2 million people, who had long
suffered under severe Russian pressure, started to fight for independence
in the leadership of Dzhokhar Dudayev.
The 18 months long Russian-Chechen war ended in 1996
and the Chechens declared independence as the Russian troops withdrew.
A 1997 peace agreement signed by Moscow and Grozny formally ended
the war and granted Chechnya de-facto independence. A prior agreement,
however, allowed Russia to defer making Chechnya's territorial status
final until 2001.
Other republics followed in the footsteps of the Chechen
people who had struggled for independence. The Council of North
Caucasian People gathered in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, in 1998.
In the meeting, the people of the North Caucasus agreed not to fight
with each other. The conflicts of 1999 had their roots in the decisions
taken in this meeting. The Russian forces launched a bombing campaign
against several villages in Dagestan. These villages, with 1500
residents, sought help from the Chechen people. A Chechen veteran,
Shamil Basayev answered this call, in the summer of 1999. Under
the heavy bombing, the Dagestani villages were laid in ruins and
only two people survived. The consequences of this operation caused
Chechnya to drift into a new war with Russia.
Dagestan is a neighbour of Chechnya, densely populated
with Muslims (80%). The main reason why the Dagestanis asked for
help from the Chechens against the Russian Federation was the great
success the Chechens attained against them in 1996.
In a letter
to Pope John II, the Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov
wrote that 3,265 civilians died and 5,000 were wounded
in a month-long air assault by the Russian military
forces that began on 5th September.
Various interests lie behind Russian's onslaught in Chechnya.
Nevertheless, no matter what explains the breakout of war, it is
always women, children and the impoverished that suffer most. They
are always the ones who have to fight for survival in the face of
poverty, starvation and epidemics.
The major Russian ambition in Chechnya has always been
to force Chechens to emigrate from their homeland, to assimilate
them and open the Chechen lands to inhabitants of other ethnic origins.
To this end, the wholesale massacre of thousands of innocent, unarmed
and defenceless people is approved and, moreover, the whole world
remains indifferent to this monstrous act taking place before their
THE UNPROTECTED PEOPLE OF KASHMIR
Kashmir is a troubled region where consistently violence
rages due to the ongoing war between India and Pakistan. Historically,
Kashmir has been a region where innocent civilians suffer heavy
losses. India remained under British rule for a long time. Following
Britain's withdrawal from India, the Indian Muslims founded a separate
Muslim state, Pakistan. A population exchange was made between Pakistan
and India by which many Muslims living within the boundaries of
India immigrated to Pakistan. However, Jammu and Kashmir, a region
with dense Muslim population, remained under Indian rule, through
the efforts of New Delhi and the support the British provided India.
Since those days to the present, the tension in Kashmir never eases.
Kashmiris do not seek independence and merely wish to join Pakistan.
However, the pressure Indians exert on Kashmiri Muslims goes so
far as the use of chemical weapons against civilians.
The resistance Kashmiri Muslims showed New Delhi and
their struggle to unite with Pakistan resulted in the continuous
violence inflicted by the Indian state upon Kashmiris. In 1947,
1965 and 1971, however, upsurges in violence occurred causing thousands
of Kashmiri Muslims' lives. The killings were horrific in nature;
the old, the sick, small children and babies were not spared. Women
were raped. The policy of both massacre and assimilation continues
today. From what international organisations report, in Kashmir,
hundreds of people lost their lives under torture and thousands
of others were disabled. Indians set houses on fire, and closed
newspapers and schools with Islamic curricula. The pain has not
ended yet; in cave-like shelters, many people currently live under
very difficult conditions.
Many people probably think they have nothing to do with
these people living in remote parts of the world, hundreds and thousands
of miles away from them. However, this is rather an inhumane way
of thinking, far removed from the Qur'anic approach. As mentioned
earlier, the responsibility of a believer is to communicate the
religion to everyone, whether immediate family members or someone
in a different corner of the world. Below are the lines quoted from
a report by a journalist who visited a refugee camp in Kashmir.
Even these descriptions alone would be enough to move one's conscience.
The report illustrates the grievous conditions in the camp:
The refugee camp in Ambor was set up in 1990 for Kashmiris
fleeing from Jammu and Kashmir. The living conditions here are wretched.
People are packed into small mud huts. In a single-story hut we
entered, there was only one bed. We asked how many people lived
in this single room. The answer was "9". The camp accommodated 214
families, with a total of 1110 members. Only seeing a mud hut provides
an accurate picture of the gloomy life here. These huts generally
have two rooms…A few obsolete crockery, one or two beds, if one
ever can call them a bed. A mother knelt down in the corner with
a baby in her arms. A pot boiling on a fire kindled with a few dry
branches. I saw nothing around to eat! I did not have the courage
to open the pot to see if there was anything inside. In several
tents I saw, there was neither food nor anything to sleep on! In
one of the tents, there was an old piece of sheet spread in the
middle. Apparently, it was used as a bed. When I asked "How many
people does this tent accommodate?" they answered: "11 people."…Still
only an iron pot boiling outside!
ETHNIC CLEANSING IN KOSOVO
Kosovo, a region with a Muslim majority, remained under
Ottoman rule until the Balkan War of 1912. Until today, the people
of Kosovo remain Muslims, a legacy of the Ottoman Empire and governance.
The termination of the Cold War opened a new era in the world marked
by drastic changes of borders and regimes, particularly in Balkans.
The generation holding to the legacy of the Ottomans remained at
the centre of this change. What is happening today in Bosnia and
Kosovo is an outcome of this historical development. The gap that
occurred after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which served
as a "balancing factor" in the lands it ruled, could not be filled
by the new states that emerged after the World Wars. The conflicts
taking place in the region today are consequences of this gap.
90% of Kosovo's two million population are Muslim
Albanians. The territories of the province are only 12% of
Serbia. In 1989, the police force consisted entirely of Slavs
engaged in acts of repression. Meanwhile, the Serbs forbade
an Albanian-language school curriculum. Since the 28th February
until today, the Serbs have consistently inflicted violence
upon the Kosovars.
This is only one of the three hundred thousand families fleeing
from Kosovo following the NATO operation launched on the 24th
March 1999. The lines of hungry refugees stretched for miles.
They regard themselves in a slightly better state compared
to those who remained behind in Kosovo only to become the
victims of violence and rape or those who could not survive
the harsh winter conditions dying on the way.
thousand refugees were not allowed to proceed to their destination
at the Morina border gate at the Albania-Yugoslavia border.
They were taken and locked in strategic buildings, all possible
bombing targets. The Albanian Embassy in Rome reported twenty-five
thousand Kosovar refugees missing. NATO European Forces (SHAPE)
said that the war in Kosovo made 960,000 people refugees.
Based on the information provided by the KLA (the Kosovo Liberation
Army), the British Foreign Minister stated there are more
than 400,000 Albanian civilians taking refuge in the mountainous
areas of Kosovo, who are constantly threatened with starvation
and death. According to authorities from the KLA, 40,000 Albanian
civilians, seeking protection on the lower slopes of Mount
Berisha, became the target of heavy Serbian gunfire.
After World War II, Serbia perpetrated the greatest
genocide ever occurring in Europe. The main intention was
to annihilate Muslim Albanians in Kosovo, who accounts for
90% of the total population, and make Kosovo a land of Serbs.
The Serbs pursued their policy against Muslims by murdering,
looting, and raping. Serbs destroyed homes and villages and
deported Muslim Albanians. The Serbian regime embarked on
an outrageous campaign of planting Serbian settlers in Kosovo
in every possible place in a clear bid to shatter the very
fabric of Albanian life here. The intention was to change
the demographic structure in favour of the Serbs. As one NATO
spokesman said, in order to erase everything related to the
cultural identity of Muslims in Kosovo, Serbs even altered
marriage papers and title-deed registrations.
Forced to leave their homes because of threats or attacks,
by March 1999 the Muslim population of Kosovo started to flee,
leaving their villages desolate. In heavy rain and facing
severe cold, women, small children and the elderly left everything
behind and walked, destination unknown. Approximately three
months later, when they returned, nothing was the same. Houses
burnt and in ruins, relatives lost, children sick and properties
plundered…War and migration threw every Muslim Kosovar's life,
rich or poor, into complete disarray.
Kosovo, humanitarian organisations in the region also reported
that Serbs perpetrated a genocide against the Muslims. Refugees
and the public were subjected to all forms of violence and
torture. Serbs raped women, killed the pregnant and destroyed
buildings and property. More than 100,000 people were killed.
The state of the forced migrants was dreadful. Around forty
people - 20 -
of them babies and the rest, the elderly - died on the Macedonia-Yugoslavia
border during the extended forced halt there of around 250-300
THE INHUMANE THREE YEARS LONG MASSACRE IN BOSNIA
The three years of violence perpetrated against Muslims
in Bosnia best exemplifies the situation of people suffering persecution
around the globe. In the war launched by Serbs on April 1992, the
plan was to annihilate Muslims in a few weeks or force them to emigrate.
Yet, the troops of Bosnian Muslims put up unexpected resistance.
The war continued until the spring of 1995. The violence raging
throughout this war was unprecedented in world history. Serbs killed
more than two hundred thousand Bosnian Muslims, forced two million
people out of their homes and raped more than fifty thousand Muslim
women. In Serbian concentration camps, Muslims were subjected to
unbearable torture, tens of thousands became disabled…What is most
striking is that the Serbs who committed such cruelty and the Bosnians,
the focus of Serbian rage, are of the same race and speak the same
language. The only differentiating factor is the religion. To put
it another way, what is happening in Bosnia and Kosovo is simply
a religious war, thought by many to have been initiated by the undying
hatred of the Orthodox Church for Islam.
In Sarajevo, all is desolation: scarcely a building in the
city has escaped being raked by gunfire. On streets are piles
of wrecked buses and vehicles destroyed by rocket attacks.
There is not a single house with unbroken windows.
One of the Serbian concentration camps in Bosnia.
soldiers first cordoned off the Bosnian villages, keeping
all exits under control. Gradually moving inwards, they intensified
their gunfire and terrorised the villagers. Then, they made
announcements to the village people demanding that they gather
in the village's main square and surrender. Otherwise, they
were threatened with death. The decision as to the villagers'
fates depended on the whims of the soldiers.
No space left in the cemeteries, people found
the system of cemetery seen in this picture.
THE ANTI-RELIGIOUS DICTATORSHIP
IN THE LARGEST ISLAMIC COUNTRY:
Life is as precarious for Muslims in Indonesia, an archipelago
in Far East, as it is for many other people facing war around the
globe. This country covering a huge land, an area the size of the
European landmass, is the fourth most populous nation in the world,
with a population of 210 million (mid 2000). About 87% of the population
is Muslim. There are some 300 ethnic groups and the Muslim community,
although the largest, has always been the target of severe oppression.
In Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, the rule of the
country has always been in the hands of people of Javanese origin,
who make up 7% of the population. After seizing power, the Javanese
ruling elite struggled to keep complete control of the country and,
to this end, have worked hard at the project of building the concept
of Indonesian nationality, or Javanese nationality, despite the
multi-ethnic texture of the country. Reactionary movements from
the Muslims of Ache Sumatra came in 1953 with their declaration
of independence. Upon this, the ruling elite declared the Muslims
traitors and subjected them to mass executions. Meanwhile in 1968,
Suharto, backed by the US, became president and massacred one million
people, according to reports by Amnesty International.
Pharaoh said, 'Have you had
iman in him before I authorised you to do so?
This is just some plot you have concocted in the city to drive
its people from it. I will cut off your alternate hands and
feet and then I will crucify every one of you.'
(Surat al-A'raf: 123-124)
By 1998, the year when Suharto became president for the
seventh time, corruption was already endemic in Indonesia with Suharto
employing nepotism to maximum advantage. This last betrayal of public
trust sparked off riots since the atrocious regime and economic
unrest already blighted the masses. The 100% price-rise imposed
on consumer products, on the other hand, became the last straw for
the public who engaged in heavy clashes on the streets of Jakarta.
The military administration endeavoured to put down this revolt
by gunfire and they massacred thousands of people. Yet, the clashes
never ended. The simple objective of the public, however, was to
attain better living conditions and to be relieved of cruelty and
By 1968, General Suharto, backed by the US, became president
and massacred one million people, according to reports by
Amnesty International. In this country, violence and cruelty
have descended on Muslims even though they are in the majority,
as the pictures illustrate.
Even the downfall of Suharto did not improve the situation
or re-establish order in Indonesia. Despite many succeeding administrations,
conflicts in the country never came to a halt.
The only way to ensure an environment free of such unfairness,
violence and disorder is, as mentioned repeatedly throughout this
book, living by the Qur'an and the Sunnah. That is because, living
the Qur'anic way of life removes economic inequalities, dissent
due to conflicting ideas, injustice and violence. The absence of
such will secure an environment where nobody will receive brutal
A MUSLIM COMMUNITY WHOSE TIES WITH
THE ENTIRE WORLD HAVE BEEN BROKEN:
UIGUR TURKS IN EASTERN TURKESTAN
Eastern Turkestan is for many probably a little-known
country. It covers an area twice the size of Turkey. The rest of
the world is unaware of the human rights atrocities committed by
the communist Chinese regime against the Muslim people, who merely
wish to fulfil their religious obligations. Right to exit or of
access to the territories of this Turkic Muslim Community are simply
denied. The Muslim community are Uigurs, but according to China
it is called Xinjiang province. Although unlikely to be the exact
figures, the population of the province is 20 to 30 million according
to what the relevant institutions and associations report. The Muslims
assert that the Chinese deliberately downplay their population,
and that there are many more Muslims than the Chinese statistics
Natural resources explain why China attributes so much
importance to Eastern Turkestan. The existence of oil-rich strata
within the boundaries of Eastern Turkestan is the main factor of
interest, and recent research reveals more oil reserves. Official
Chinese sources confirm the existence of 20 to 40 billion tons of
oil reserves in the region. Some Western oil companies claim the
reserves are rich enough to compare to Saudi Arabian reserves.
The genocide in Eastern Turkestan,
a country that remains within the territories of China,
soars. Women gathering in mosques are taken to security
headquarters, beaten and usually tortured to death by
Chinese soldiers. Arrests and torture never cease. Between
4-7 February 1997, in only three days, 3,500 Uigurs
were arrested and taken to concentration camps. In 1997,
there were more than seventy thousand people arrested.
Intimidation and violence against Uigurs took various
forms: sterilisation, mass abortions, nuclear tests,
the unrest caused by new Chinese settlers, unemployment,
prohibition on fulfilling religious obligations, obstructing
education and imprisonment of teenagers.
Eastern Turkestan has been under the sovereignty of China
for about 250 years. China has never admitted the right of the people
of Eastern Turkestan to independence and has met each initiative
for independence with widespread repression. China simply recognised
Eastern Turkestan, a Muslim territory, as a province annexed to
its territories. In 1949, the seizure of power by Mao in China led
to more repression in Turkestan. Muslim people who resisted the
assimilation policies of China were brutally massacred and their
rights denied. Since 1949 until today, approximately thirty-five
million people have been killed. Meanwhile, torture, all forms of
violation and violent repression have been the daily life of the
people who remained. People were buried alive and women raped… In
1953, Muslims represented 75% of the population while the Chinese
made up 6%. In 1990, however, this state of affairs reversed in
favour of the Chinese. The Chinese population constituted 53% while
Muslim population fell to 40%. These figures alone explain the dimensions
of the genocide committed against the Muslims in Eastern Turkestan.
What people went through in Eastern Turkestan is certainly
no different from what happened to Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.
The only difference about Eastern Turkestan is, being a region where
communication to the rest of the world is entirely blocked, it is
highly difficult to obtain any information. China successfully devoted
its efforts to keeping atrocities committed in Eastern Turkestan
unreported and, to this end, even keep the Internet under strict
control. The world, on the other hand, turns a blind eye to the
terrible ordeals the innocent and unprotected people undergo in
this region and approach it as a national problem of China. The
genocide in Eastern Turkestan explains the "worth" of human life
in countries such as China where disbelief prevails. Under the influence
of this prevalent system, people do not see any reasons why they
should not murder people who do not share their understanding, or
conduct experiments on them and torture them relentlessly.
A POOR COUNTRY COVERED WITH OASES:
After Chad, a country with a Muslim majority, gained
its independence, Christians seized power in the country. Ministries
were shared equally between Christians and Muslims. However, there
were two million Muslims and only eight hundred thousand Christians
in the country.
(left) Gruesome atrocities committed against
The first clashes started when the Christian rulers,
who had already strong liaisons with former colonists, established
diplomatic relations with Israel. The Muslim Chadians were understandably
sensitive about this issue, due to incidents taking place in Palestine,
and perceived a political alliance with Israel as a betrayal of
Palestine. Meanwhile, the Muslim cadre in the government assumed
a stance against Israel, but this policy cost the Muslim ministers
their positions in government. One morning, all of them were ousted.
Many were arrested, imprisoned and their properties confiscated.
These incidents led to an era of repression of Muslims and a subsequent
unsuccessful uprising that claimed the lives of one thousand people
and left thousands wounded.
In the early 20th century, the Philippines came under
US control and, in 1946, it was granted independence. Following
the withdrawal of America from the island, Filipinos who were subservient
to the interests of the US came into power and the Muslims came
under their rule. Fundamental to the regime of the Filipinos was
their policy of confiscating the lands of Muslims, based on their
strategy of consolidating power on the island.
Dictator Marcos of Philippines (left).
The Marcos regime launched an operation to assimilate
Muslims. (right) Muslims subjected to violence.
To this end, a law was issued regulating the allocation
of lands among Filipinos and Muslims. According to this law, a Muslim
could receive only one third of the land to which a Filipino was
entitled. This policy ensured the settlement of 3.5 million Filipino
immigrants on Muslim lands, thereby sparking clashes between Muslims
and Filipinos. Muslims, in pursuit of protecting their rights, wanted
to compromise with President Ferdinand Marcos but did not succeed.
The Marcos regime launched an operation to assimilate Muslims. With
pay-rises and selective promotions, Marcos made the armed forces
his personal political machine, suspended implementation of the
constitutional law and replaced it with martial law.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fought on behalf
of the Muslims and in bloody clashes more than fifty thousand Muslims,
the majority of whom were civilians, lost their lives. Thousands
of women, children and the elderly were murdered. Specially trained
teams were set up to wipe out Muslims. These were ferocious guerrillas,
who went to great lengths in violence, such as breaking the skulls
of their victims or drinking their blood. They employed special
torture techniques for every victim and, after murdering, confiscated
The successive rulers after Marcos proceeded with the
same brutal policy and committed the same ethnic genocide.
Around the globe, bloody clashes and wars devastate Muslim
countries. Palestinian resistance to the Israeli invasion is known
to be the longest lasting of all such bloodletting. This invasion
carried out by Israel and backed by western countries was systematic,
and left behind hundreds of thousands of dead, refugees and a bloody
history. Clashes, wars and massacres reflect little of what civilians
suffered throughout the Israeli invasion.
After the 1950's, Israeli forces made several interventions
in the neighbouring country, Lebanon. Israel ignited conflicts between
several groups within Lebanon and these groups, becoming involved
in a civil war, maintained links with and secured support from Israel.
These clashes made the balance of power in Lebanon highly fragile,
turning it into a country open to invasion. The Israelis provoked
the communities inhabiting Lebanon, namely, the Maronites, Christians,
Greek Orthodox Christians, Shi'a Muslims, Sunnis and the Druzes,
and gradually reaped the fruits of her "divide and rule" policy.
A strategy that Israel had planned for twenty-eight years
was concluded with the actual invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The civil
war divided Beirut into regions for each minority group. It is interesting
that each minority received support and arms from Israel. In particular,
Phalangists, who seized power, had very strong ties with Israel.
The civil war in Lebanon seemingly broke out because
the Palestinians who had been forced from Jordan by King Hussein
were settled in Lebanon. Christians, indoctrinated about the need
to expel Palestinians from Lebanon, waged an all-out war to expel
the Palestinians. Christians and Muslims were seemingly parties
to this war, yet each of them were also torn apart internally. During
the war, Israel started to violate the Lebanese border. Meanwhile,
Lebanon's security deteriorated significantly with the US- and Israel-backed
attack of Syria, which appeared to be a Muslim country, against
The Phalange Party's establishment of its political power
through the support of Israel was the beginning of a bloody war
that was to devastate Beirut. Palestinians and Muslim Lebanese were
subject to great pressure. The invasion of 1978 ultimately led to
the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Lebanon became a war-torn
and devastated country. Meanwhile, history witnessed the brutal
Phalange massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra
and Shatilla refugee camps at the instigation of and under the supervision
of the Israeli forces.
MASSACRES ARE NOT
LIMITED TO MUSLIMS
history of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere,
abounds in disorder and misery. Haiti remained under American
occupation between 1915 and 1934. Then Haiti declared independence
in name only since this was a state established under the
shadow of the US with the enforcement of an American-dictated
constitution. Between 1957 and 1986, Haiti was ruled by dictatorship.
In this period, first Father
Duvalier took office and then his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier,
succeeded him. They established monopolies and cartels in
all sectors that extracted billions from the Haitian economy.
Duvalier established a dictatorial regime like any other country
in the vicinity. In this little country, an intelligence unit
called the Leopards and, a secret police organisation, Tontons
Mavoutes, terrorised the public, committing horrific mass-murders.
As in all other dictatorships, the Duvaliers revelled in extravagance
while the public lived in great misery. Under the pretext
of the disorder prevalent in the country following the reign
of the Duvaliers, the US staged a coup in 1994. This little
country is another typical example of the consequences of
lack of faith in a society: violence, clashes, and disorder…
An island nation in the Indian Ocean off south-east India,
Sri Lanka has sixteen million inhabitants. The majority of
the population are Buddhist Sinhalese (74%). 20% are Indian
Tamils. The Sinhalese hold power in the country. Tamils, living
in northern Sri Lanka, launched a guerrilla war in 1980 against
the Sinhalese regime that turned into an ongoing bloody civil-war.
In Sri Lanka, even small children
are involved in the civil war.