PINE RIVER: Mr. Oktar, thank you for consenting to this interview. You are proposing the establishment of an Islamic Union comprised of member nations - not only from the Middle East but also inclusive of Muslim countries in Asia and Europe - and structured along the lines of the EU. As there is already an Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) what could the IU accomplish that the OIC cannot?
ADNAN OKTAR: Muslims have a Qur’anic obligation to act as one, as brothers. The Turkish-Islamic Union is essential for that. Muslim, Turkic states must come together under the umbrella of this union of hearts. But every state will nevertheless remain a separate national state. Every state will act independently regarding its internal affairs; but they will also act in unison under the roof of the Turkish-Islamic Union. If such a union comes about, the current conflict and strife will come to an end. The union will be a great instrument of equilibrium over a wide expanse of territory. The greatest benefit of this will be the simultaneous end to terror. No such thing as terrorism will be left remaining. The second benefit will be enormous economic prosperity. Most important of all, however, there will be a great spiritual peace and well-being. All sections of society will be at peace. Believers will live in peace, and also unbelievers.
The Turkish-Islamic Union that I am talking about is a union of hearts, of love and a shared reason. Great love is essential in order to set up such a vibrant union, such a climate of brotherhood. Intense enthusiasm is essential. These things cannot be produced by red tape, but by fervor and enthusiasm. In other words, you need love to extend a helping hand to another country, to regard it as a brother and seek a solution to its problems, to take a common decision and put an immediate end to anarchy when terror raises its head anywhere.
PINE RIVER: In your article titled “A Call To An ‘Islamic Union’” you wrote:
Muslims should collectively work to establish a system that brings societies different from one another into relationships of mutual tolerance and peace... In the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks, however, a dire problem emerged. Certain circles that claim to speak on behalf of Islam, but clearly lack the understanding of the essence of it, work to wreak suffering on humanity rather than striving for its benefit. In attacking and killing innocent people, they committed the vilest sin forbidden by Islam - in other words, they brought chaos to the world.
How would your proposed Islamic Union, structured along the lines of the EU, deal with the problem of terrorism?
ADNAN OKTAR: The most effective struggle that can be waged against terror is an intellectual one, a struggle of ideas. It is impossible to defeat mosquitoes until the swamp they breed in has been dried up, in other words, until the ideologies representing the foundations of terror have been eliminated. Darwinism lies at the heart of terrorism. You cannot expect someone who has been indoctrinated to regard human beings as a kind of animal, to believe that progress is possible only through conflict, and to think one has to be strong to survive, to also be loving and compassionate. Such a person’s ruthlessness and willingness to kill, without batting an eyelid, anyone who threatens his own interests, and slaughter others for the sake of the ideology he espouses is the natural consequence of Darwinist indoctrination. Those who claim to resort to terror and violence in the name of Islam are at heart Darwinists. The Qur’an makes it crystal clear that there is no room for violence in Islam. Allah even says “It will be better for you to forgive,” even in reference to someone who has committed murder. Which course of action will a Muslim choose? The more auspicious path, of course. He will choose to forgive. Forgiveness is inherent in Islam. And love. And compassion. But there is no room for violence. Islam means peace. Allah commands peace.
In order to combat terror, people need to be told of the true and dangerous indoctrination of Darwinism. They need to be shown that it is of no scientific worth. Society can quickly be educated by way of such cultural activities as books, articles, public meetings, conferences and video shows. Once people come to see the true face of Darwinism, the foundations of atheism, lovelessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness, cruelty and violence will collapse. Once a powerful union has been established in the Turkish-Islamic world, these activities will be much easier, and the strength of the Turkish-Islamic Union will act as a deterrent to those who support violence and wish to create chaos and anarchy.
PINE RIVER: In your writings you emphasize Muslim unity as necessary to a peaceful world:
“The Islamic Union must work to bring peace to all people, not just Muslims, and tolerant and peaceful in its decisions and practices. The core of Islam is the good morality revealed in the Qur’an, which requires Muslims to be friendly, gentle, compassionate, tolerant, just, understanding, patient and devoted. Islam invites people to a peaceful world.”
Saparmyrat Turkmenbashy, the late president of Turkmenistan, penned a similar message in Ruhnama:
“The Turkmen sees other nations as his own brothers, his own friends. Racism cannot find a place among Turkmens. Turkmens respect the languages, the religions and the traditions of other nations.”
That said, how would the IU unify the Muslim nations and dispel the notion of tribalism and ethnicity?
ADNAN OKTAR: The love, understanding, moderation, humility and rationality set out in the Qur’an will represent the essence of the Turkish-Islamic Union. Allah has revealed in the Qur’an that superiority lies in piety alone. It is not material advantages, the color of a person’s skin, his belief or ancestry that makes one person superior to another. Only spiritual values can make one superior to another. In other words, someone who is humble, who has a greater fear of Allah, who loves Allah more and is more keen to help others, more altruistic, more patient and gentler therefore applies the moral values of the Qur’an in a finer manner. Such manners are more valuable both in other people’s eyes and in the sight of Allah, inshaAllah. But that superiority does not mean oppressing or exploiting others. In speaking of the founding of a Turkish-Islamic Union under the leadership of the Turkish nation, when I say that the Turkish nation will assume the role of leader, I am not referring to any leadership based on force or compulsion. On the contrary, accepting such a leadership means putting up with troubles and difficulty. It means serving all the societies belonging to the union, and all mankind itself. We are all the children of the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). The Islamic world beats with a single heart. The whole Turkic world beats with a single heart. We are no different from each other. But I think that the ideal thing is for the Turks to lead the way in requesting such service. That is how it has always been. Our nation dedicated itself to that task during Ottoman times and served as leader. That is why I consider that the Turkish nation must again ask to assume that burden.
PINE RIVER: In your article “The Benefits of Unity for Muslims” you wrote:
“The Islamic Union must resolve intra-Muslim disputes and conflicts, as well as overcome the wars, conflicts, and tensions between them and non-Muslim countries, by peaceful and reconciliatory means.”
Would it be correct to assume that the IU’s primary leverage in dealing with wayward member states and other nations would be economic?
ADNAN OKTAR: The Turkish-Islamic Union will be the instrument of a much greater political, cultural and economic strength. This union will bring with it very positive developments involving all aspects of life. It will be a union that defends and protects both member nations and other countries as well, extends the hand of friendship to those in want, entirely eradicates anarchy and chaos, ensures a rise in wealth and abundance and attaches great importance to justice, democracy and love. The Turkish-Islamic world, extending from the Caucasus to Tanzania and from Morocco to Fiji, will once again, by Allah’s leave, rise when it acts as one and in unison. The USA, Russia, China, Israel and all the states of Europe will see that problems that have persisted for years are suddenly resolved with the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union. And that will benefit everyone. All the concerns felt regarding security and economic and cultural values by those states remaining outside the Turkish-Islamic world will be eliminated when such a union is set up. The war against terror will come to an end, underground resources and raw materials will be used in the best way so as to benefit the whole of mankind, the economy will achieve stability, the slightest possibility of crisis will be eradicated, and funds set aside for military expenditure will instead be spent on providing people with a better quality and more secure life. There will be no need for America to send its troops thousands of miles away, Israel will no longer need to live behind walls, the countries of the EU will face no economic obstacles, Russia will have no security concerns and China will suffer no shortages of raw materials.
With its $400 billion military budget, the United States of America heads the armament list. Russia follows the USA with $60 billion, and China follows Russia with $42 billion. The Turkish-Islamic Union will give rise to a climate of global peace and security by eradicating all conflict and tensions regarding the Islamic world, and will also lead to a reduction in military spending, not just in Muslim countries, but on the part of a great many countries of the world. Investment in arms technology and money spent on weapons development will thus be diverted to such spheres as education, medicine, science and culture. The Turkish-Islamic Union will cause regeneration throughout the Muslim world. Thanks to the Islamic common market to be set up, products from one country will be easily marketed in another, without becoming caught up in quotas or national frontiers. Trade zones will grow, all Muslim countries will enjoy an increase in market share, exports will rise, leading to an acceleration of industrialization in Muslim countries, and economic development will lead to technological advances. A Turkic-Islamic world with a powerful economy will be a major cause of prosperity for the Western world and other societies. These societies will find a power with which they can co-operate and engage in mutual trade with no feelings of concern.
PINE RIVER: Let’s look at a specific situation that exists today. There have been recent attacks perpetrated in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Also known as East Turkestan, Xinjiang is a predominantly Muslim region. There are three questions I want to ask:
(1) What hope would the creation of an Islamic Union give to the people of Xinjiang?
(2) What are some options the IU might consider with regard to resolving the Xinjiang issue with China?
(3) What solution do you see to resolving issues related to Muslim-dominated regions located within non-Muslim countries in general?
ADNAN OKTAR: During communist times, the Turkic states have remained cleaner and more virtuous, without suffering any degeneration. I mean, the results have worked in the opposite direction. Go to East Turkestan and you will see highly virtuous people. There are very virtuous, devout Muslims there. That is a blessing of Allah. The whole world is protesting against the Chinese policy of oppression in East Turkestan. China is behaving very harshly in Tibet, as well as in East Turkestan. That policy of oppression must be eliminated at once. But the real issue here is the eradication of Darwinism in China, and we are engaging in intellectual activities to that end in China too. It is essential that the innocent people of East Turkestan be freed from this repression forthwith.
No-one of good conscience can accept this Chinese oppression. It should leave the people of East Turkestan to live by their own means, in freedom in a state of their own. If China wishes to trade, by all means let it do so. But if it wants to engage in exploitation, that is totally unacceptable. What does China want from East Turkestan, and what will it gain by keeping it captive? How can keeping it captive make China happy? What joy can that bring it? Is that a triumph? It should completely withdraw from East Turkestan. Let the people there go to mosques and factories in freedom. Let them converse together and share the joy of a festival. China must now perform a good deed there. The time has come. The whole world will love China when it says: “This country is one deserving of independence. There was no need for us to interfere in it. There was no point and no logic to it. This is no longer tolerable in the 21st century. We are withdrawing our troops. We are lifting our political pressure. We declare it to be a free state.” Everyone will respect it. Just see how China then opens up to the rest of the world. It must leave East Turkestan to become a secular democracy and take its place in the world as an independent state. China will become very much richer. It must not think that it has anything to lose. It will gain prestige, rather than losing it. This is not something to be made a matter of pride. If it withdraws from East Turkestan, agreements regarding it can be made. They can be given more oil and electricity. There is no question of them being left with any shortages. Islamic countries will want to sell electricity, oil and energy. That would be to their advantage. If necessary, it can be sold to them on the cheap, as long as they abandon this oppression and injustice. They can demand petrol, or electricity or natural gas, but they cannot oppress and imprison millions of people for the sake of those. This can be brought about through bilateral agreements. All the Turkic states can come together and come to an agreement with China on the subject. They can suggest a 50-year agreement, for example. And oil will really be sold. But this will all be through the Turkish-Islamic Union. We need to speed up the Turkish-Islamic Union. The union will also be of benefit to China. China needs to be told this in a pleasant manner. It may imagine that this union will be to its disadvantage. But on the contrary, it will be to its benefit. It will liberate China in all respects. It will free it in military terms and free it from attack. It will free it economically. It will allow it to modernize. China must support the Turkish-Islamic Union in order to liberate its own citizens.
PINE RIVER: In what country would the headquarters of the Islamic Union be located? Why was this country selected?
ADNAN OKTAR: In the hadiths, our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) reveals that the blessed Mahdi will emerge from Istanbul. “The Hour will not be established until a man from the people of my house [the Mahdi] takes possession [of the world]. He will conquer Istanbul,” the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said. This will be a spiritual conquest, inshaAllah. Great Islamic scholars say that Istanbul will be the center of the Islamic world during the End Times. The current political developments show that Turkey has assumed an important and active role. Turkey is leading the way to peace and stability in the Caucasus, in the Middle East, and even in Africa. Things are proceeding very well, inshaAllah. A most enlightened age will dawn, under Turkish leadership, within the next 10 to 15 years. The current strife and chaos will come to an end. We will see an age of plenty and abundance, inshaAllah, similar to the age of the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him). The salvation of the world is close at hand, by His leave.
PINE RIVER: Lastly, I would like to ask your opinion on a religious matter. Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion and is gaining converts among Christians in many Western countries. What aspects of Islam are attracting these converts and thus fueling this phenomenal growth?
ADNAN OKTAR: In the Qur’an, Allah provides a detailed description of the prophets and the true faith He sent to societies in the past. Like all the prophets, the Prophets Jesus and Moses (peace be upon them both) are beloved, worthy and most blessed individuals for Muslims. The Gospels and the Torah are described in the Qur’an as scriptures sent down from the presence of Allah as beacons for mankind. However, He also reveals in the Qur’an that these Divine books have gradually been corrupted by human beings. Indeed, when we look at the Bible we see it contains passages far removed from the true faith. It lacks the clarity and unequivocal nature of Islam. Everything has been set out in perfect clarity in Islam. The Hereafter, Paradise, Hell and the angels have all been described very clearly. Islam is a most sound faith. Anyone picking up the Bible will also seek the same sound, true faith, but these are difficult to find in it. That is why, by Allah’s leave, I have adapted the passages in the Bible that are compatible with the Qur’an into book form. Allah knows best, of course, inshaAllah. At the least, anyone examining the Torah will now see those parts of the scripture that have not been corrupted. I wanted to show people those aspects that are in agreement with the Qur’an. But it should not take long to find the truth when one picks up a book. The Qur’an is perfect in that regard, and radiates light from all directions when one picks it up. Its every page is logical; exceptionally logical. Everything has been made crystal clear. For example, it is hard to learn about the Hereafter from the Torah. That is really difficult to find. You cannot learn about it. The Qur’an offers a crystal clear description of the oneness of Allah. But you cannot find that in the Bible. Anyone with a sound mind and clear conscience can see this, and there is naturally a rapid turning to Islam going on.