LETTER:Does the West really want the Muslims driven out of Europe?

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The Independent Online
From Mr Mehmet Cenktas

Sir: In his analysis of the recent events in Bosnia (17 July), James Fenton asks: "Are we ever going to cry 'enough'?" The answer is, obviously - no. British and other Western societies are not ashamed to admit their selfishness by saying that this is not their war and, therefore, it is OK to ignore it.

I am what can only be described as a "moderate" Muslim. Like the majority of Muslims around the world, especially the British, I not only deeply respect and participate in my religion, I also try to distance myself from the extremist "fundamentalism" so commonly preached by neo-political groups hiding under the flag of Islam. For years I have listened to sermons from (thankfully few) individuals telling me of the great conspiracy. They claim that not only is there is great divide between the Muslims and non-Muslims, but that every war, every famine and all other tragedies around the world are stage-managed by the powerful Western nations with the single aim of destroying Islam.

I have thus far managed to dismiss these claims as dangerous and extremist political views, not religious in any sense of the word. However I must admit that the recent events in Bosnia have thrown great weight behind their so far pathetic arguments.

It is commonly acknowledged that what has happened in Bosnia can be summed up as follows. The Muslim population has been stripped of both its right to defend itself and the means of doing so. Its people have been held as hostages in their own country under a false sense of security. And now we are seeing the beginning of the final act - genocide. The extremist fundamentalistshave always said that this was the whole aim of the West - physically and brutally removing all Muslims from Europe. Having ethnically cleansed Europe, they will then continue with other parts of the world.

Even now I am willing to dismiss these claims as extremist and dangerous. However, I am still not convinced that had the victims in Bosnia been the Serbs (or Croats for that matter) and the perpetrators the Muslims, this apathy and "it's not our war" attitude would have prevailed. I am certain that the Muslims would have been dealt a harder blow than the one dealt to Saddam Hussein. This, to my mind, proves that the war in Bosnia is more to do with religion than anything else.

I think the West owes it not just to the Bosnians but to humanity to act positively, now. The Muslims around the world need to be convinced that this is not a religious war and that the cost of a Muslim life is worth at least something in the human exchange rate as defined by James Fenton.

Yours faithfully,

Mehmet Cenktas

London, E13

18 July

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