In an era of history when Turkey has a prime minister who is hostile towards Israel and anti-semitism is on the rise worldwide, especially within the Muslim world, Aylin Kocaman is a breadth of fresh air, breathing light into an otherwise bleak situation regarding Turkish-Israeli relations. Kocaman is a commentator on Turkey’s A9TV and a producer of the network’s TV show, “Building Bridges.” As someone who frequently appears in the international media, she has been a voice for toleration, coexistence, and peace between Israel and the Muslim world at large. She is a staunch advocate of positive Turkish-Jewish relations.
Kocaman has advocated that Jews have a right to live within the State of Israel according to the Quran, implying that all Muslims should recognize the right of Jews to live in Israel as well. She even goes as far as quoting Quranic passages to this effect. Writing in the Jerusalem Post, she asserted, “If a person who claims that he is a Muslim says, “We will wipe Israel off the map,” or “We will drive the Jews from those lands,” this means that he does not speak in compliance with the Quran. This is against the provision of the Quran commanding Muslims to live in peace with Jews and be friends with them, and violates the commands of the Koran about the Holy Land.”
In another interview, Kocaman was asked whether this statement meant that Jews should have a country of their own or should live in Israel as part of an Islamic state. Some Muslims, after all, might interpret Quranic verses on the Jewish right to live in Israel as a statement that Jews should live in Israel as part of an Islamic state. Kocaman doesn’t think like that, however. She replied, “Of course they must live in their own country, and that is how it will be. I know what kind of system you mean by “Islamic State,” and I understand your concern, so I think it would be more appropriate first to elaborate on the issue. There is a system applied under the name of Islam. We refer to this concept that you describe as “Islamism” by the harsher term “bigotry.” I must first make this clear: This is not Islam, but it has been portrayed to the whole world as Islam. What do these bigots do? They produce their own nonsense and traditions instead of the verses of the Koran. “That is the faith,” they say.”
She continued in her criticism of radical Muslims by stating, “They use fabricated hadiths as shields and generally inflict awful trouble on the world. The fabricated hadiths and traditions they draw from as sources for their nonsense are like holy texts for them. They kiss the Quran and put it to their heads, but they never implement it. They never even read it. They have no idea what the Quran even says. They have made it unlawful even to touch the Quran. Women enjoy almost no rights at all. The Quran commands love, compassion, peace and friendship. If someone is a Muslim, then he must do all he can to discharge that responsibility, but the bigots are ignorant of this. Their basic principles are largely founded on hatred, anger and bloodshed. They hate people, women, flowers, nice and clean clothes, culture, art, science, music, dance and of course, Christians and Jews. In brief, they hate everything.”
In the Washington Post, Kocaman wrote, “As a Muslim woman, I have always been criticized by certain circles for advocating the morality of the Quran boldly, for communicating the importance of peace, love, democracy, freedom of thought and respect to every idea and for seeing Christians and Jews as my brothers and sisters, for respecting people from every thought and for espousing unity. I have always asked people to give me evidence from the Quran about the things that they criticize me for, yet I have never received a response to such calls. I have asked them to tell me with evidence from the Quran why they are so prone to hatred, how could killing be that easy for them and why they preferred conflicts over peace and why they keep away from music, art, science and aesthetics. As a matter of fact, I always knew that they wouldn’t be able to give evidence from the Quran. That is because Islam is not such a religion as they present it to be.”
By Rachel Avraham