“Compared to the unbeliever, the Kurd is a Muslim”
We can not think or write about the Kurds in the way we are doing the same about the all other nationalities. Why? Because, Kurds are very specific ethnic group. This statement is not just a flattering but the reality we are facing with, every time we try to consider those people through the same pattern. First we should need to accept is that Kurds are the people who were always resist to Arab and Turkish domination and their national identity has been made through the daily security threats and regularly security risks. They have never been the same as others, they have never had their own peace, they have never got their own country.
Kurdish people seem not to be so religious, or at least they are not fanatical about it. However, the real picture of their religious nature is a different one. Some Kurds found their religious freedom in Yezidi religion and Zoroastrian base but majority of them, accepted Islam and they accepted it very seriously.
The mystery of Kurdish nationality must be analyzed through the fact that they are located in very exciting knots of history:southeastern Turkey known as Turkish Kurdistan, western Iran – Iranian Kurdistan, northern Iraq or Iraqi Kurdistan and northern Syria or Rojava. It is very interesting to keep in mind that some Kurds like to think of themselves like about some kind of Iranians, because of the ethnic and language similarity but that is too much simple explanation for their rich ethnic and religious structure.
In the era of western conflicts with Islamic extremism, and in the age when terrorism almost got his first state ( ISIS-ISIL-DAESH region of activities), it is more than important to determine the Kurdish religion and if that is Islam, the real power of it. As far as we know, in the current asymmetric war with terrorist group DAESH, western world has found allies in the brave Kurdish people. Muslims by themselves, they stood up against those who claim they are real Muslims and the followers of Qur’an. They have had war every day since the first day of DAESH imperialism on the Levant area. Kurds didnt give up. They took weapons and they started to fight,to defend themselves and also those who are powerless like unarmed Yezidi and Christians. So, that is why we need to reply on the main question here: How is Kurdish Islam compatible with the rest of the civilized world and how we accept them even if we know about their religious depth?
Whenever I used to think about the Kurds, I thought about them rather through their national pride than through their religious orientation. They have always been Kurds, people without real homeland. Somewhere in between. Tortured by all others who didn’t want to give the part of their national sovereignty for Kurdish territorial dignity. In the early years of the last century, when Kurdish secularism ideology started working on propaganda, you could have heard that they want their country. But you could have also heard from their opponents that there is no free land for terrorists. Kurds were fighting against the authorities for years back, that is their picture in the global history. For one, they are freedom fighters, for others – they are rebels. It depends on the position you are taking regarding their influence .
One of the famous Kurdish nationalist Cigerxwin( pseudonym of Şêxmûs Hesen)wrote in his legendary book “History of Kurdistan”(1985) that he is almost surprised how the world doesn’t know much about the Kurdish dimension of Islam and his thoughts are the following: “The majority of the Kurds are Muslims, and most of the Muslim Kurds are Sunnis. Each year thousands of them go on the hajj, throwing away thousands of gold pieces for the voyage. In every village, little by little a mosque has been built, and the people support mullas and divines. They give a tenth of their income to the mullas and the poor, and they gather five times a day in the mosque and pray. Once a week, on Fridays, they perform a large prayer and listen to a sermon in Arabic, but the villagers do not understand what the mulla says, they only bend their heads and daydream a little; and at times some of them cry. For the only thing that they know is that the words of the mulla are the words of God and the prophets. In every district there is also a shaikh or several shaikhs. The poor and destitute villagers become their disciples; they take their income out of [the villagers’] mouths; [the villagers] surrender themselves entirely to their shaikhs and will do nothing without them…. The shaikhs live in large mansions and palaces, while the villagers meet each other outside and shout and dance. They stay out in the sun, sitting against the wall, barefoot, hungry, naked, poor and destitute, and they work for the shaikh without payment. Very often they put their hopes for the hereafter in the shaikh, and they believe that when the Day of Reckoning arrives and God descends in Damascus, the shaikh will protect them from hellfire and open the gate of Paradise for them.” It is so obvious that this patriot and poet was more secular than he was religious and that hidden tensions between growing Islam feelings and sharp nationalistic visions have followed the Kurdish identity since years. Secularists have clear political visions how to solve the ” Kurdish question” and they didn’t want to deal with mullas and others Islamic thinkers. The problems was on the road. The mullas often have had more supporters so the secular attempt was failed in its beginning. For golden future of Kurdish people, freedom fighters had to make a compromise with Islamic leaders and to involve them into the freedom movement. Sunni Islam oriented Kurds have been always interested in freedom fight which is opposite to Shiite Kurds, who are located in Iran and who never did make any contribution to the Kurdish national action program. Beside these two religion groups, we should also consider the third one which includes the diversity of small religions. It is kind of interesting to mention that some Kurds are devoted to Yezidi religion as well as some of them are Christians. But it is still unclear if they are Christians but not Kurds or they have to be Kurds so they can remain Christians. In past years, Christians havent had good memories here in this part of the world. They are supporting Kurds but they do not have any other choice. Some of them had to become Muslims but they still follow their christian religion in silence and speak Aramaic when they are able to do that. Some will tell that they cant forget torture, massacres, conversions to Islam,and how some of the Kurdish tribal leaders took all of their properties and even their wives and daughters. They cant forget it even now, when they are so called “crypto-Christians” .
For the rest of Islamic world, Kurds are “poor Muslims” but we must be aware that those “poor Muslims” have had one of the most significant Islamic scholars and thinkers in a famous university of al-Azhar in Egypt or in the Holy Cities of Arabia. Because of their good geographical position and the linguistic diversity, Kurds used to deal not only with Kurdish language, but also with Turkish, Farsi and Arabic language so that Kurdish ulama or the Islamic elite of Kurdish people has a very good intellectual base and could be there where even the most important Muslim thinkers from Saudi Arabia couldn’t. Kurdish Islamic leaders could spread the words of Prophet in the whole Indonesia, without any problems. Referring to it, Kurdish Islam is not in the shadow and for sure is not weak and poor. It is a serious one and presents more than we see.
Islam is not opposite to the nationalism. Otherwise, nationalism could be a good fuel for the empowering of Islam as Islam could be a motor for nationalist ideology. We mustn’t forget that Islam was the factor of united Turks and Kurds against Armenians and Greeks. Not only Turks, but Kurds were also those who willingly gave contribution to the Kemalist movement – the movement of Muslims against non-Muslims. The specific situation is it when we come to the Kurdish identity nowadays. After the years of Turkish repression, Kurdish tried to reunite themselves. Secular nationalists forgot about their animosity towards Islamic leaders and included them into national projects. The same was with Islamic leaders who gave up on criticizing the devil atheists and they invited people to give them political support. They all agreed that Kurdistan is only possible to be achieved through the nationalism and Islam together launched in the same time.
Then Kurds faced up with DAESH horror and Kurdish Islam moved to the second place, behind the national pride. Now, the Kurdish people dont fight for freedom, they fight against slavery, which is in the main menu of the “fake islam” made in DAESH kitchen. It is not anymore about who is better Muslim, it is about who is not ready to give up on the place he considers as a home land.
Kurdish type of Islam will never be the one which could be a threat to the western world. Kurds will never adopt the Islamist measures for cutting of territories and drawing a new map. They know that in the new made islamists world, they will be the slaves too, because they are not considered as pure Muslims, as Arabs. They know they will share the destiny of the rest of kafirs. That is why they chose the right option: against terrorism.
Kurds should be helped and empowered. Having them as allies is one of the benefits for the west. First of all, they will be the border for Arabs to come closer to the Christian Europe. The second but not the less important, they will keep the Turkish in balance with its “non spoken” imperialism. However we look on them, we need them. They need us. Leyla Zana, the Kurdish politician once said:“Kurds are like fire, if approached kindly, they will warm you, if approached badly, they will burn you.”