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“You cannot be a member of this movement!”

I will write about two incidents that took place in one of the European countries in this article. Both incidents belong to two different individuals who have been forced into refugee status by a group of thieves, corrupt individuals, and oppressors who determine the fate of Turkey.

Just yesterday, these two individuals, who had exerted every effort and made superhuman efforts to be beneficial to their own people in their country, utilizing their material and spiritual capabilities, had everything, including their freedom, taken away from them overnight.

After a long period of imprisonment, facing the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads after their release, and being pushed by the pressure of the appellate courts, the Court of Cassation, the Constitutional Court, the legal system, and the security forces, they migrated when they realized that they could no longer live in their beloved homeland, which they referred to as a paradise, due to the pressures. Where did they migrate to? Sadly, not to the 57 Islamic countries as the number suggests, but to a Western country where they believed they could reach a standard of living, have fundamental human rights and freedoms.

They did the right thing. They have no regrets. They can practice their religious beliefs more freely in an environment outside of Turkey. They can uphold their moral values more easily. They find their place as individuals in the legal system. And all this despite being refugees.

For some reason, I now recall the Companions who migrated to Abyssinia, a Christian country, in the face of the injustices of the oppressors of Mecca. Does history repeat itself, you may wonder?

Yes, it does repeat itself. And it has been repeating for centuries. Unfortunately, both those experiencing this migration and those causing it share the same religious identity: Muslim. The only difference is that the oppressors are not the polytheists, hypocrites, and oppressors of Mecca. So who are they if they are not infidels, polytheists, or hypocrites? As I mentioned before, they are Muslims. So you may ask the question: What kind of Islam is this? How can Islam and oppression coexist? I will remain silent and let you provide the answer. Yes, it is truly painful.

Anyway, I’ve gone on too long with the introduction. Now let’s return to these two incidents that have occurred. Our friend is having an interview with an officer at the refugee office. As one of the thousands of people who have done this during the past 10 years. The officer is familiar with the file. How could he not be, as he has conducted interviews with so many individuals affiliated with the Hizmet movement!

At one point, he asks this question: “Do you communicate and meet with the members of the Hizmet movement here?” Our friend has never heard such a question from any of the people who have gone through the interview. So he pauses. He feels like he’s on thin ice. Because if his application is not accepted, although he has the right to appeal, the process of being returned to Turkey will begin. That’s why he hesitates. In the three to five seconds of thinking that feel like three to five hours, he can’t give a definitive answer. And he responds to this question with another question: “Is it necessary for us not to meet?” The officer instantly provides a reassuring answer to our friend: “On the contrary, it is necessary for you to meet. We know that you are not a terrorist, that you belong to a peaceful movement. No, quite the opposite, you need to continue your solidarity.”

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Now, if I let my pen flow, I could write so much, but I am holding back and leaving the evaluation to you.

The second incident is from another asylum interview. A person who did not receive university education in the natural course of life. They have volunteered in the Hizmet movement. While working day and night for their own sustenance, they have also made material and spiritual contributions to humanity as much as they can within the Hizmet movement in Turkey.

But, as the saying goes, “No success in Turkey goes unpunished!” They have also become the target of the ruthless and faithless pursuit of the oppressors. They have also been labeled as terrorists by the regime. They were forced to leave their country, leaving behind their spouse, children, parents, relatives, jobs, financial savings, and memories. Pay attention, I don’t say they left their country, but rather they were forced to leave.

The day of the asylum interview has arrived. The officer, considering the educational level of the person in front of him, realizes that the profile of the person he has seen so far is different. His first question is based on this realization. He says: “You are not a university graduate. However, the Hizmet movement is an educational movement. How are you a member of this movement?”

Indeed, there are thousands, even hundreds of thousands, who are not university graduates but are affiliated with this movement, and hopefully, they will continue to exist. Knowing a bit about Turkish sociology makes this possible, but the interviewing officer, based on the files and people he has interviewed until that moment, makes this assessment and asks that question. Our friend passes the interview with his answers, but he is boiling inside. He sees the officer’s question as a slap in the face. He interprets that question as an encouraging statement regarding receiving university education, and he says, “Bismillah, let’s go.” First, he focuses on learning English at a level that will allow him to receive university education, then he completes his university education, and recently, he has also completed his master’s degree in his chosen field. Bravo to him.

I have talked about two real incidents. As it is expressed in the film industry, a “true story.” Why did I say that? Because similar incidents have been happening all around the world for the past 10 years, and I hope that in the near future, numerous movies centered around these incidents will be released with the label “true story.” Books will be written, theses will be written. The history of politics and law, among other scientific disciplines, will become part of textbooks. Museums will be established.

Some of those responsible for all these events will regret their atrocities, ask for forgiveness, some will take pride in what they have done and continue with their lives, some will be held accountable in fair courts, some will pass away to the afterlife without giving account, and the reckoning based on justice, rights, and law will remain in the hereafter. The reckoning will take place in the presence of Allah in the hereafter, and as I ironically mentioned in my first article written after July 15th, the afterlife will be quite festive.

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Dr. Ahmet Kurucan is a an author and scholar focusing on Islamic Studies and Law.

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