On July 2nd, 1993, 33 human beings, 33 Alevi’s, 33 intellectuals were burned alive in Sivas. After the Friday prayer, people who left the mosque with cries of allahuekber [Allah is the greatest], gasoline cans in hand, set them on fire… centuries after the “Dark” Age. They killed the ones who played saz the best, who painted the best, who laughed the best. Following the teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, following his lines which read “Do not hurt others, even if you are hurt.”, it was said this was not real Islam, that real Muslims would not take lives. Yet we didn’t see a single Muslim denouncing the massacre.
In 1978, in Maraş, once again those who shout allahuekber, who shout “War in the name of Allah”, chopped off the heads of children with axes. We saw images dead bodies of women and old people in photos, in narratives. Not a single soul of Allah said this was cruelty, not a single soul of Allah tried to stop the cruelty. We did not see, we did not hear. We waited for real Muslims. We thought maybe they would come and help carry the coffins. Not a single Muslim appeared.
In Çorum, they attacked Alevi neighbourhoods under the pretext of a rumour that said Alevis burnt a mosque. As in Maraş, as in Sivas, hundreds of innocent souls were massacred. The rumour was false. Not a single person said it was a sin in Islam to lie.
And again, all the way until today, until this very moment, ISIS gangs have been slaughtering people in Shengal and Kobane for months. They carry a spoon around their necks to be able to eat rice in heaven. They carry a key in their pockets to unlock the gates of heaven. And they have their guns in their hands. We waited for someone to announce that this was not the path to heaven, that this was not compatible with Islam. We waited in vain.
In Paris, in an attack on the humor magazine Charlie Hebdo, 12 people were slaughtered. Immediately afterwards discussions on Islamophobia started. All those sentences were lined up again: This is not real Islam, real Muslims do not massacre people, Islam is a religion of tolerance.
What is real Islam, what is not real Islam, who is a real Muslim? Who will decide these, which criteria will be used? Given that so many murders were committed in the name of Islam, are the victims supposed to go and find real Muslims, or study the Islamic catechism?
I don’t know where real Muslims live, what they eat, what they drink. But I’d like to ask. Will you protect a person who accidentally smokes in Erzurum during Ramadan from lynching? When a diabetic person in Bayburt goes to the kiosk and asks for water during Ramadan, or rather, when this person is stabbed because he did so, will you call the ambulance? Will you accompany him to the hospital? Will you keep watch against those who put signs on Alevis’ houses? Will you take the gas and lighter off the hands of those who came to burn people? Etc. etc. Once these questions are answered affirmatively, we will all know who is real and who is not. And these discussions will come to an end.
And a few words on Islamophobia. One does not become islamophobic by saying he/she fears radical Islamists. It’s not that easy. Allow people to be afraid of Boko Haram, an organization that kills 2000 in a single day. We know more or less what Islamophobia is. We also know that it’s a weapon for European right-wing militants and fascists. Don’t you worry; most of those who took to the streets in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, will do so again when fascists slaughter Muslims, immigrants, Jews, or Romani. The real Muslims need not doubt it.
The problem is fascism. As we all know…
[The original of this text, “Gerçek Müslümanları Beklerken“, was published in Fraksiyon.org on 10 January 2015.]