Another year has passed, leaving much for us to take lessons from. We have seen a dictator leave the stage, taking with him a never-ending list of crimes committed against his own people over the years. Wars and acts of aggression have set off many repercussions across the world this year, threatening the lives of many innocent bystanders or appearing on the agenda of government committees and think tanks. While debates concerning the legitimacy of the war still continued, Istanbul, for the first time in its history, encountered the bloody face of international terror with great ferocity during this last month of Ramadan. Suicide bombers claimed the lives of many innocent people, destroying the peace of this city, a city where Christian, Jewish, and Muslim citizens have lived together for centuries as supportive and caring neighbors.
The Jewish residents have always felt at home in Istanbul, never ceasing to express their thanks to Turkey for their salvation by the Ottoman fleet from massacre in Spain in 1492, and their subsequent welcome in Istanbul. Christians, likewise, never felt as if they were in a foreign land; they had their own churches, schools, and enjoyed civil rights, things that were not granted in other cities of the world. Istanbul has always been an exceptional place, a model city of peace, portraying exemplary behavior throughout the past for the generations which would help to build the world in the future.
So much evil in the past year has forced us to concentrate more on the fundamentals in this issue.... to examine the fundamental reasons for evil thoughts and actions, for theories and movements which lead people off the track. We cast a quick overall look at Islam, which the mass media, now more than at any other time, has wrongfully and intentionally juxtaposed with 'terror'. This is going on, despite the fundamental truth that 'a Muslim is a person from whom other people are secure and by whom they will not be disturbed or harmed by his or her actions and words.' In the same vein, we can in no way blame God for creating evil. He gave us free will to discern right from wrong. If there is no evil, then there are no morally right choices; in order for humans to have free will, there must be a 'wrong choice', there must be evil for there to be good.
This brings us round to the discussion of Satanism...
June 22, 1998 was an ordinary day ... but not for all. Asli and Alp, two high school friends met up in a prosperous district of the city where they lived. The note they left behind before jumping off the 14th floor and hitting the ground said 'this world makes no sense for us.'
Asli and Alp were members of a Satanist group. Satanism is the name for the so-called worship of Satan and it presents a grim example of movements that have emerged as a result of the weakened moral codes of society. No conscientious person can remain indifferent to the fact that young people are being misled by such movements. Unfortunately, Satanism is a warning that compels us to think about the mistakes we have made in bringing up the younger generation. If we fail to take early precautions, it may be too late for many young people. The article, 'Satanism and Our Youth's Quest for Identity' seeks to thoroughly analyze the matter, offering definitions and a background, and concludes by offering some useful solutions.
Unfortunately, 2003 has been a year that has seen much sadness, but also a little hope for the future. Our wishes for the coming year is that our hearts will replenish faith for the world, leading to a world of balance, one that is filled with empathy, and one where remembrance of God is the guide.