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Torture and Human Rights
Jan 1, 2010

The Fountain magazine was discussed in one of the panels of the “East and West Encounters the Gulen Movement” conference, organized in Los Angeles, December 5-6, 2009. Dr. Fran Hassencahl, Director of Middle Eastern Studies at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, presented a paper entitled “Framing Women’s Issues in The Fountain Magazine.” Although some of her views and observations may not be agreed upon by all, Dr. Hassencahl’s research and findings deserve attention and praise in many respects. They are in a sense an invitation for female contributors to submit more essays to our magazine. As a periodical based on contributions, we would like to encourage authors to dedicate more time and research to women’s issues and to pen essays for publication.

The lead article in this edition describes how a believer is expected to respond in difficult times. Storms are temporal and breezes are eternal in Gulen’s worldview, so thus believers “are neither shaken by the noise and clamor that is being intentionally made around” them, nor do they “panic in the face of the dust that envelopes us.” And for him, believers should trust in God, equip themselves with wisdom, and try to live up to their beliefs, God’s good pleasure, and distinct cultural values.

What would you do if terrorists installed a bomb somewhere in your city and they do not tell you how to defuse it? This is what is called “the ticking time-bomb scenario” and some people believe that under such circumstances torture is legitimate, if as a result the terrorist is forced to speak. Drawing on this scenario, Ayse Meva Nur provides an interesting discussion in this issue and she touches on human rights conventions and what Islam says about torture.

The intense rivalry between the magicians in the movie The Prestige was fatal. For Veli Keskin, the rivalry in the world stage between various power centers is as tragic as that which existed between the magicians; however, the global one has cost millions of lives. Keskin’s analogy has produced an eye-opening essay in which we find both the magicians on the stage in theatre and those on the political scene using similar techniques in shaping the perceptions of their audience.

Imagine you find a gift in your mail box one morning. It is a beautiful shirt perfectly suited to your taste. But who sent you this shirt? How did he or she know what your preferences were? Was the sender a man or a woman? With limited information it is not possible to discover the relationship between the sender and the receiver. But one can easily infer that the sender is someone who loves the receiver and wants to please the receiver. The former perspective, which is positivist, is not sufficient for explaining many things in our lives; but with qualitative inference we can reach some conclusions. Huseyin Coskun gives this and many other examples and explains how “qualitative inference allows one to address the non-physical or metaphysical aspects of the physical phenomena by freeing all of our cognitive faculties.”