The middle East, which has had a strategic significance in the fields of
religion, politics, culture and economy and become the focal point of many
struggles throughout history, has recently being mentioned in association
with clashes and wars once more. Having witnessed the birth of three divine
religions, the Middle East still has the historical depth and importance
and as the geographical area with the highest tension it needs new analyses
and evaluations.
Even though the Middle East has taken its place in the literature at
the start of the twentieth century as a geographical concept, yet it doesn’t
indicate merely a geography as the majority of its population is comprised
of Muslims. In that respect the Middle East with its religious and cultural
characteristics represents Islam and the Muslim World. However the fact
that the area has also been a cradle for the other divine religions and an origin
for many cultural formations which influenced all humanity makes the
area very important in terms of religion and the area’s being overwhelmed
by strong religious sentimentality suggests new clues to solve many ancient
problems. It should not be forgotten that a peace to be maintained in the
area with the contribution of religious approaches will also contribute a
lot to the world peace and therefore the ways of maintaining such a peace
should be sought out.
However, as a dilemma that must be overcome and a growing situation
that must be questioned is the association of terror acts and bloody clashes
with the Islamic elements. Therefore it must be determined which bloody
conflicts are related to Islam and what is the Islamic approach to such a
situation in a geographical area mostly representing Islam.
The Middle East due to its geostrategic, cultural and economic worth
has continued throughout history to be the most favored arena for the big
Western actors who wanted to maintain their influence and dominance all
over the world. The Western people, who proclaimed the East as backward,
static and nomad with an oriental approach realized their thought that the
Middle East needs to be transformed in various practical areas. Therefore
the issues that how this oriental approach can be removed and how this
area can be returned to its original historic mission by which once it transferred
culture and civilization to the world need to be reconsidered. In relation
to this, we must also take into consideration what practical matters are
pointed out by Bediuzzaman’s proposition of “true Islam and truthfulness
appropriate to Islam”.
Recently the exposition of many Islamic countries like Iraq, Afghanistan
and Palestine to attacks and occupations and the massacre of hundreds
of thousands of Muslims and the destruction of the prosperous lands of
Islam bring up the Islamic Unity as a solution. How can the idea of Islamic
Unity which theoretically has much importance for the future of Islamic
world be realized in practice is still a question needs to be answered. We
have to both discuss the pacts to unite the Islamic world such as the Bagdad
Pact, a bitter experience of the past, in terms of the significance for the
destiny of the geography and put forward the possibility and functions of
the Islamic Unity in every aspect.
Another point to be dealt with is the despotic administration and practices
that block the solution means, as it was observed during the process of
the Arab Spring which meant democratic demands and searches. Despite
the Islamic texts in favor of and emphasizing freedom, the predominance of
despotic administrations in today’s Middle East increases questions about
how to bring about an environment in favor of freedom. At this point it
seems useful to consider the analyses of the liberal approaches by Bediuzzaman
concerning the area.
As a result, the Middle East, whose genetics were often modified with
the recent occupation of Iraq, the process of Arab Spring and the Great
Middle East Project, which came to the fore with internal wars, today has
been stuck between the Syrian issue, ISIL and similar phenomena. Understanding
these concepts will useful in terms of finding solutions. It will also
be quite meaningful to emphasize that the destiny of the Middle East with
its momentarily changing conditions is closely related to the destiny of the
world as it continues to occupy the world’s agenda.
We believe that in this context the approaches pursued by Bediuzzaman
have gained significance because he prefers using the term, the Muslim
World instead of the Middle East; he provides meaningfulness to the area
in terms of values such as religion and civilization rather than the ma-
10 terialistic approaches that consider the region in terms of economic and
strategic evaluations; he provides hope to the people of the region by giving
messages of union and solidarity and suggesting the universal values of
rights, justice, brotherhood, love, righteousness, freedom and humanity; he
conceives the dream of a universal civilization by means of Islamic Unity.
Because of the aforementioned reasons the approaches pursued by Bediuzzaman
need to be understood by us for the sake of a total peaceful future.
Considering all these fact we have decided to choose the topic of this
issue as “the Middle East” and studied our topic in the framework of concepts
such as “the Middle East, the Muslim World, religion, sect, Kurdish
problem, energy resources, petroleum, nationalism, Islamic brotherhood,
social bonds, solidarity, brotherhood, love, war, terror, jihad, exalting the
name of Allah, backwardness, hopelessness, despotism world peace, colonialism,
modernism, Israel, ISIL, the Great Middle East Project, the Salafi
Movement, the Kharijites Movement, Sunni-Shia, the Age of Bliss … ”
and sought answers to the issues at hand with a shop-work. You may read
in this issue the proceedings of the shop-work entitled “the Middle East”
arranged on 27-29 of December 2014 and the final declaration of the panel
organized at Istanbul University.
As we invite you to read our periodical, we hope to address you with
the papers to be presented on the 10th Congress of the Risale-I Nur, “The
Risale-I Nur as a Movement of Renovation.”


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