Following that post, I received a comment that really "moved" me. And I wanted to share it on my Blog I just wanted to let you know that when I saw all of the violence occurring in the middle east, including the protests and anger happening in Turkey the past few days I thought of you and your family. I consider myself an extremely open minded and tolerant person; I truly have faith in humanity and the desire of all people to do the right thing. However, my heart is so heavy right now over what is happening half a world away. How can the words (the youtube video that supposedly started this round of violence) of one crazy, angry small group cause such violence? I truly do not understand how anyone can justify taking the lives of innocent people over words. It makes me ill to see our embassiesburning and our flag defiled, yet as an American who believes in the rights of all people I would never hurt someone physically over these images. I know almost all Muslims are a peaceful people, but why then if there are more who believe in peace than in the violence we are seeing aren't they standing with us as brothers to protect the lives of all people? (I'm sorry for the rant, I just really needed to get this off my chest and thought that as someone who had experienced firsthand what life in the mid-east is like you might understand. I am definitely keeping Turkey in my prayers.)
What this reader is referring to is the fact that a video was produced mocking the Prophet Mohammed. (A very off-label, minor production). As a result, people all over the Middle East began protesting -- burning American flags and hurting the Embassies. You can read a sample article by clicking here.
The fact is, however, the protests are small pockets of individuals. In a country that has over 70 million people, the fact that a few hundred (or even thousand?) people are reacting negatively, illustrates how there are people who do believe in peace and support America. The majority of Turks that I meant had a very positive view of America. They liked us. And in fact, they wished that they could be us. They have difficulty securing VISAS and passports because it is feared that if they were allowed to go to America, they wouldn't come back. And I had one Turk tell me, "The passport people are very smart. Because if they did give me the paperwork, I wouldn't come back!"
The majority of Muslims, however, are NOT terrorists. They hate terror. They do not want terror. They actually are standing up against it by not participating in it. That being said, my husband was constantly reminding me how important it was to not stick my head in the stand. To not be Pollyanna. There are terror cells very near the Base I called home. There is a reason to fear things and to not put strange Turkish men in your car even when they insist on driving you to your intended location because you are lost. (Yes, I did this. Bad idea.)
We must continue to remember that what we see going on, truly, is spiritual in nature. These are fights that do not follow reason because we know, if we read the Bible, that Israel will always be a place of fighting. And that Christians will be persecuted. Period. That is how it is going to go. But we must not stereotype an entire people! Would you like people to group you with those crazy people who protest at military funerals because they believe God is punishing Americans for allowing homosexuality by letting soldiers die? Good God I hope not!
Do not allow yourself to hate any group of people. Don't allow yourself to hate any person. Pray for people. Pray for groups. Pray for cultures. But also remember that the majority of Turks are Muslim simply by birth. They are not praying five times a day. They don't even know what a Muslim believes. And even those who do, don't deserve to be judged by what a few extremists are doing. We MUST remember this and encourage other people to do the same.
Thanks for this great comment! It really got me thinking! Keep praying folks!
P.S. Would you specifically add for CLUB BEYOND -- the youth group for teenagers in Turkey. My friend Amy Donathan is currently heading this organization up. Dave and Beth Kanelos used to run this organization ( you can read the details here )-- until a contract dispute forced them to leave the country that they had felt called to. It was an incredibly painful and frustrating experience, but the Lord brought individuals stationed on the Base to continue running this amazing program -- truly the only real "community" teenagers in Incirlik actually have. They have had a wonderful turn out but would love extra prayers around this organization, especially with all the spiritual issues surrounding the Middle East.