The heartbreaking photos of Muslim refugees trying to reach Europe have intensified a controversial and urgent issue: The issue of Muslim immigration and how the world should handle it.
"There are 20 million refugees waiting at the doorstep of Europe," said Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
Many claim that Europe, facing the crisis produced by the huge influx of Muslim migrants and refugees fleeing mainly Syria and Iraq, should open its doors. But given the realities in Europe and the Muslim world, this suggestion may well be harmful to both the West and to the Muslim world.
One of the most common arguments is that Europe is not doing enough for the Muslim refugees and is actually responsible for the turmoil in Syria as well as the rest of the Muslim world.
The current wars in the Middle East, however, are not the fault of the West. Obviously, the Obama administration and European governments must do more to stop the bloodbath in the Muslim world, but to say that the wars in the region are the product of Western intervention or some other Western "plots" just shows how clueless and ignorant the people who make such claims are about the history of Islam.
Islamic scriptures call on Muslims to wage war on other religions to bring them under submission to Islam. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, said that he was "ordered by Allah to fight men until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger."
In Mecca, Muhammad advocated "la iqra fiddin" -- "[there should be] no compulsion in religion." But when his gift of Islam was not readily accepted, he began to dismiss peaceful co-existence, his message became increasingly intolerant and he resorted to militancy.
When Muhammad moved to Medina, after a more benign life in Mecca, Islam was turned into a military force that apparently intended to rule all aspects of society, including practices such as sex slavery, child marriages, forced conversions, wife beating and commands to kill "the unbelievers." Especially in the later parts of the Quran, Mohammad fully encourages violence against non-Muslims, and their eternal damnation.
Sadly, the founder of Islam did not leave behind a humanitarian message to respect people of other faiths and to be on equal footing with them. By the time Muhammad lived in Medina, his new religion openly advocated dominating others through subjugation, rape, murder and forced conversion. People who followed his teachings first became violent toward peaceful communities and then toward other people around.
When Muhammad failed to leave a clear successor, the omission quickly turned out to provoke violence. For the first few years after his death, members of his own family went to war with each other. In a battle between Aisha, one of Muhammad's several wives, and Ali, his adopted son, thousands of Muslims were killed fighting to the death. So anyone who knows about the history of Islam should not be shocked by the current Muslim-on-Muslim violence.
The actual target of Muslim armies, however, has usually been non-Muslims, and people across North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia have been exposed to Islamic violence for the last 1,400 years. Regrettably, the violent, repressive and intolerant practices of Islam --against non-Muslims, women and even different sects of Islam -- still runs wild in the Muslim world, and the deep schism continues to this day as the Sunni-Shia conflict.
The latest extension of this tradition of violence has mainly occurred in Syria and Iraq. What the Islamic State (ISIS) and other barbaric Islamist groups have been doing to people is horrific beyond words; but it is meticulously based on Islamic scriptures. It is not the West causing these human tragedies; it is Islam and Muslims.
Unfortunately, many people in Middle East have so much affinity for political Islam that they do not realize that political Islam is the root cause of their problems. This oversight is probably the main reason they cannot get rid of their backward and violent regimes, or make cultural or scientific progress.
Islamic law is a theocratic system in which nothing but Islamic teachings is to be followed. And clearly, classical Islam has clearly had a longer-lasting, more powerful effect on the region than any other religion. A short while ago, the most prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, admitted that the "killing of apostates is essential for Islam to survive," or Islam would not have lasted.
In 2006, for instance, Rafiq Tagi, a Azerbaijani writer and journalist, was arrested after publishing an article entitled "Europe and Us," in which he argued that Europe's humanist and universal values would benefit Azerbaijan more than Islamic values.
Ten days after the article was published, an Iranian cleric issued a fatwa calling for his death. In 2007 he was sentenced to three years in prison. Released on a presidential pardon in December 2007, he was stabbed six times in downtown Baku by an unknown assailant, and died in a hospital four days later.
Members of a culture that murders intellectuals who try to present ideas to improve their societies do not have the moral right to blame their backwardness and bloodthirsty culture on the West -- but they continually do. They blame, for instance, the recent crisis in the region on "the U.S. invasion of Iraq."
The U.S. has intervened in Latin American countries, as in the coups d'état in Brazil in 1964, and in Chile in 1973, but how many people from those countries blew up American targets in retaliation? None. Because, unlike Islam, their religion does not call for jihad, global caliphate, world domination and death to apostates. The U.S. also intervened in Vietnam, but once the U.S. left, the Vietnamese did not begin a civil war. Neither did the Koreans.
Religions obviously have major influences on societies; the religions of, say, Christianity and Buddhism are (usually) more peaceful and humanitarian than Islam. In terms of promoting violence, Islam is by far the most violent and discriminatory. We are talking about different galaxies here.
Unlike Latin America or Asia, there has been unending religious violence and murders in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other Muslim countries. Those places, however, were already violent and repressive even before the U.S. intervention. The people or administrations of those countries could have cooperated with the U.S. governments to promote liberal democracies and common interests; instead they became suffocated in a cycle of violence and unending violations of human rights -- as they have done for centuries.
Muslim regimes or groups do not need any kind of foreign intervention to resort to violence and human rights abuses. Their history and culture seem to give them enough incentive to commit those crimes daily.
The political history of Muslim states -- including Turkey -- has often been restricted to two options: They have been ruled by either nationalist ("secular") oppressive regimes, or Islamist oppressive regimes. The third option, appearing now, is an extremist genocidal group called the Islamic State (ISIS).
In truth, neither the former "secular" nor the Islamist regimes of Muslims were much different from ISIS. The "secular" Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, for instance, gassed the Kurds of Halabja in 1988, murdering or wounding thousands of people. We have been seeing similar scenes of slaughter in Syria from President Bashar al-Assad's "secular" regime. And the "secular" governments of Turkey have murdered tens of thousands of Kurds, and persecuted Christians, Alevis and Jews.
What makes ISIS different from other Islamist or secular Muslim governments of the Middle East is that, while other regimes try to hide their crimes, ISIS films the crimes it commits and publishes them on the internet.
As these wars in the Middle East escalate, people in the region try to flee elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the rich Arab nations -- including Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain -- do nothing to help their Muslim brethren.
These states are wealthy, as well as geographically and culturally close to the stricken war zones, but they have not offered any financial help, resettlement places, or to take in any refugees.
Dr. Abbas Kadhim wrote on Twitter:
"We know that Iran is pro-Assad, but why hasn't any "kind-hearted" anti-Assad Arab state (e.g. Saudi) taken any Syrian refugees?"
"Shouldn't countries that spent billions on arming militants (including terrorists) in the name of "liberating" Syrians take refugees in?"
"The only Syrian refugees that got attention in the Gulf states are the vulnerable underage girls they bought in the name of marriage."
The BBC, as well, reported that, "There is a widespread perception that many Gulf states have unwritten restrictions in place that make it hard for Syrians to be granted a visa in practice." Oh, really? Wouldn't it be interesting to know what these "unwritten restrictions" are.
These wealthy states are also not exactly innocent when it comes to the killings and persecution in Syria. They have invested in the Syrian conflicts, and provided financial help for Islamist terrorist groups fighting against the Assad regime.
Given the cultural, linguistic and religious background of the refugees, however, it would seem that many of them could live with their fellow Muslims in those Arab states. Saudi Arabia reportedly has 100,000 air conditioned tents set up that stand empty most of the year, which could house three million people.
Saudi Arabia reportedly has 100,000 air conditioned tents set up that stand empty most of the year, which could house three million people. (Image source: Akram Abahre)
Even though big media corporations in the West tend to abstain from covering the problems caused by Muslim immigrants and refugees in the West, it has been unfortunate that some Muslim immigrants rape women in Europe; try to establish parallel sharia systems in their own neighborhoods; demand justice in their own sharia courts; take advantage of the social welfare system instead of seeking work, and occasionally even murder the very people who opened the doors of their countries to them and offered them a privileged life that they could have never had in their own home countries in the Muslim world.
When an illegal alien, for instance, stabbed two Swedes to death last month, the prominent Swedish journalist, Ingrid Carlqvist, wrote:
"Questions flooded the social media. Who are these people that are let into Sweden? How many of them are not innocent victims of war, but in fact war criminals and other criminals, hiding among the refugees? And should we pay billions in taxes to support and shelter citizens of other countries, while some of them try to kill us?"
The same questions are valid for the new refugees at the borders of European countries: How many of them are not innocent victims of war, but in fact war criminals and other criminals, hiding among the refugees?
European governments need to protect the security of their citizens as well as their cultural identity and freedoms. The Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has suggested that people who have a passport from an Islamic country, in addition to a Dutch passport, should sign an anti-sharia declaration. It should state that they do not want to introduce sharia (Islamic law) into the Netherlands, and that they repudiate all the violent passages in the Koran.
"If they do not do that," said Wilders, "then as far as I'm concerned there is no place for them in the Netherlands... We can't have hundreds of thousands of people in the Netherlands who want to introduce the Sharia. You have to accept Dutch democracy and renounce the Sharia. I want them to come out and publicly declare that."
New refugee-candidates might also sign such a declaration. If they support Islamic rule, then Europe is probably not the best place for them. And if they commit crimes -- such as rape, murder or attempting to establish Sharia rule -- they should be instantly deported.
These stipulations are not "discrimination against Muslims," any more than requiring guests to your home to behave politely is discrimination against friends. This is merely the same way that rulers in the Middle East -- the Saudis, and Emiratis, for example -- regard foreigners and visitors. The proposal is a rational and legitimate way to protect European civilization and the lives and liberties of all of its citizens.
Why should Europe be expected to commit suicide and turn into yet another Muslim land where lives and liberties have no value? How many more "Charlie Hebdos" is Europe supposed to experience to prove that its suicidal "multicultural tolerance" is suicidal over and over again?
Europe needs to protect itself and its liberties unapologetically. The ancestors of Europeans paid an extremely high price over many years to give their descendants what they have today.
Moreover, Muslims should not try to turn Europe, which is being so generous to them, into more Muslim lands. We already have far too much barbarity, misogyny and persecution in the Muslim world.
Muslims could do our people an enormous service if instead they tried harder to turn the Muslim lands into Europe-like place -- as Kurds have been trying to do.
Today, Kurds are the only Muslim nation that is seriously fighting political Islam -- with their lives. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has been trying to protect religious minorities. Thousands of Christian families have fled violence and threats in other parts of Iraq and found refuge in the Kurdistan Region. In the KRG there are a large number of Christians of different denominations, as well as tens of thousands of Yazidis.
If there were an independent Kurdistan, the Kurds would be able to make the region even better. Kurds in four parts of Kurdistan -- through their struggle against ISIS and other Islamist groups -- have proven that their resistance would bring liberty not only to Kurds, but also to other persecuted minorities in the region.
But as the Kurds have been mostly left alone in their fight against Islamist tyranny, many, in both Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan, are trying to flee elsewhere, as refugees. If Kurds had a safe and independent state of their own, they would not have to search for other places to run when attacked by genocidal groups or regimes.
The West should support Kurdistan in its struggle for independence. Such support would be one of the most important steps not only to liberate a progressive and heroic nation, but also to help reduce the refugee tragedy in the region.
The main offenders for the current refugee crises in the world are the Muslim regimes and masses that have done little to save their lands from Islamic violence and tyranny.
No matter where Muslims go, it is Muslims themselves that will have to struggle and change their societies for the better. As history indicates, such a venture will require much hard work, re-thinking and self-criticism. If the Azerbaijani journalist Rafiq Tagi had been allowed to live, he might have provided wonderful insights as to what Muslims could do to stop the persecution in the Muslim world, to promote science, and to help create better lives for all Muslims in the region.
Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.
 In December 2014, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani called on Iraqi Christian victims of ISIS "not to leave Iraq": "The enemies of humanity, peace and coexistence do not want you to stay in this country," he said. "My dear brothers and sisters, please do not think of leaving this country. Your hope must be high. Staying in Iraq will break the goals of the terrorists." For further reading about religion in Kurdistan, see the book "Kurdistan Land of God," by Francois-Xavier Lovat.