August 10, 2017

‘Hizmet is the best manifestation of Islam… Gov't suppression in Turkey is tantamount to terrorism’

Zaman Stanizai, Ph.D.*

“I think Hizmet is the best manifestation of what Islam ought to be and the way people ought to live it. Claiming a faith and a religion is one thing; giving slogans and bragging about religious identity, that’s something else. But, acting upon commitment to humanity, acting upon serving humanity, that’s what Hizmet means literally, and that’s what Hizmet Movement do. And I think that’s the best manifestation and ever since I have found out about the organization I have fallen in love with them.

If you define terrorism correctly, literally, and etymologically, it is to strike fear into the hearts of those who are the least prepared. Nobody in life prepares to be frightened. But when civilians are targeted by anybody, that is terrorism. I think that if we define terrorism not as a slogan but as a substance of what it is, I think more acts of terrorism are committed by governments than by groups. The reason could be that they have more power. They have more weapons. And they have more publicity and propaganda where they can deflect the blame to others. There is no denying that there are terrorist organizations, but also there is also no denying that there are terrorist governments. In other words, in terms of what pain and suffering they inflict on innocent and unprepared citizens, there is no greater terrorism than that.

And in my view, there is also a paradox in the claim. Governments do have the media at their disposal or as their extension to make their point across. If overnight, 50 thousand people are arrested, detained, and prisoned, and if overnight more than 100 thousand people are detained and lose their jobs, that ought to be one hell of a terrorist-making factory, I don’t think any society, any organization is capable of. Especially, this is the heart and soul of the Turkish society. These are the people who built Turkey, Turkey’s economy, Turkish society. When Turkey was winning award after award in performing excellent in terms of its economic progress compared to other European countries, it was due to this backbone of the Turkish society, primarily the civil society. If we can speak of an analogy, there are sometimes monsters that end up eating their own children. I think the current Turkish government, analogously speaking, is that monster. In a kind of self-destructive mode. Like I said, terrorism has to be defined by action. And right now, there are more civilians threatened by the actions, repression, and suppression of the government – that ought to be defined as terrorism. Not what the Hizmet Movement does.

I have been in touch with the Hizmet Movement. And I have seen them work around the world in more than 100 countries. That is the best model of any human regardless of what ideology, what religion you follow. And I think that we have this very bright star shining, creating that role model for the Muslim community at large, and I am afraid that it is kind of fading. That is really worrisome. Because after a long long time, we had all our hopes up, and now we are being terrorized one way or the other.”

*Professor of Mythological Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California

Published on 30 Plus TV (on YouTube), 8 August 2017, Tuesday