Latest update: April 26th, 2013
Rabbi Yeshayahu HaKohen Hollander is Foreign Minister of the Nascent Sanhedrin; redactor of the “Easy-to-Read Talmud” Internet edition of Talmud Bavli with Rashi embedded; taught in Yeshivat Hesder; learned at Yeshiva Poneviz and Kollel Valozin, and merited to study under Rabbi Yitzhak Kolitz z”l, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem; holds an M.Sc. in Theoretical Physics – Hebrew University; licensed Patent Attorney; was general manager of Heled Educational Experiences; taught at the Recanati School for Economics at Tel Aviv University, active in Noahide activities since 2006; attended Noahide conferences in 2008 and 2011 in the U.S., active in Interfaith activities since 2008.
The Jewish Press has recently been publishing op-eds by a Muslim woman, Sinem Tezyapar, expressing thoughts which are diametrically opposite to Radical Islam, and which differ from much of current mainstream Islam. In response to her courage, she has been attacked from all sides: by Muslims and by non-Muslims.
Of course it is natural that she would be attacked by radical Islamists. Radical Islam, which insists that Islam is the one universal religion, and that all people except Jews must become Muslim, either willingly, or by submitting to the Sword of Allah—but Jews should be killed, as should all people who disagree and refuse to submit to them.
Sorry to say, it is also natural that she is being attacked by non-Muslims. Anyone who sees the hate and reads or hears the threats of Muslims to Jews – and to the West – immediately feels a strong aversion to Muslims.
Let’s put emotion aside for a few paragraphs. Let’s think what OUR interest is, and act according to it.
Certainly OUR interest is that we have peace and harmony with our neighbors – of whatever religion. Certainly, it is in our interest that all people in our society are not driven to desperation because of economic failure. Certainly it is in our interest that they do not feel threatened and that we do not feel threatened.
So it is incumbent upon us – us well as on our neighbors – to agree to make an effort to find a mutually acceptable modus vivendi. There are things Westerners say and do which are an anathema to Muslims, and things Muslims say and do which are an anathema to Westerners.
Western trends diminish the value of family and community in favor of the individual, while traditional Muslim culture puts family and community ahead of the individual. This threat to the Muslim family and community is one of the most serious problems to Muslims, both the generation which immigrated to the West and to the younger generation. The West is threatened by calls for Sharia law to be recognized and enforced in Western countries, by calls for Jihad, and by acts of violence.
It is up to the West to do its part, it is up to Muslims to do their part. It is obvious that both sides have difficulty. It is also obvious to the observer that millions of Muslim immigrants to Europe are searching for a way to live in the West without endangering the dearest parts of their identity: their family relationships and their religion. Family and religion give religious people the strength to overcome difficulties. Emigration is always a difficulty, acclimatization is always difficult, certainly for people of Muslim background coming to live in the West. These people have a need for an Islam which does not create tensions, which does not see the non-Muslim world as requiring a Jihad.
The writings of Miss Tezepayar offer exactly that kind of Islam. Therefore, the writings of Miss Tezepayar are helpful to us.
Whether Miss Tezepayar really believes what she writes or not, is not relevant to us. Can we really know what is in the heart of another person? Very often, we have problems knowing our own feelings!!
It is this consideration which was decisive, five years ago, when we received our first invitation to visit Mr. Oktar. We read all that we could about him. We knew all that had been written by 2009 against Mr. Oktar. We asked questions. Many of our members were not satisfied that the answers were sufficient. But the what decided the matter was: would a relationship with Mr. Oktar and his group be for the good or not? We decided that the chances were that it would be, and accepted the invitation in 2009.
Since then, we have met Mr. Oktar on numerous occasions. Through Mr. Oktar we have met important Muslims, with whom we have been in contact over the years. There are many Muslims in Europe, Africa and Asia who agree with the Islam of Mr. Oktar and Miss Tezeyapar. We have told many about our relationship with Mr. Oktar, and explained the benefits of encouraging Mr. Oktar and his group, to many people who were interested, including the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, other rabbis, members of the Knesset, and Ministers in the Israeli government.
I wish to add, that I personally do believe that Mr. Oktar, Miss Tezayapar, and the members of their group are sincere, both in their version of Islam, and in their attitude towards Israel and the Jews.
Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander
Petah Tikva, Israel
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