At the outset, let me say I have never met Sinem Tezyapar. She is a Muslim woman from Turkey. She believes in a better and more peaceful world. And she is accused of being a spy for Israel.
This past week, her trial began in Istanbul. She faces the possibility of spending the rest of her life (actually, 867 years to be exact) in jail. Unfortunately, this story repeats itself over and over again throughout the Muslim world.
The lack of justice in the Muslim world has kept them from advancement, progress, and peace. I got involved in the case of Sinem Tezyapar because of the extreme and profound injustice.
I beseech the Justice Department of Turkey to examine the facts - and only the facts. Sinem Tezyapar is not a spy for Israel. Sinem Tezyapar is not a Mossad agent, as she has been accused of being. Like so many idealistic and brave people, she had tried to develop a conversation with the people of Israel.
She was an executive producer on Turkish television. She was a political and religious commentator and a peace activist. She was the author of an op-ed entitled, “When will the Muslims Stop Blaming their Problems on the Jews?” She wrote the piece after Iran blamed a deadly earthquake in September 2013 on Israel. In it, she writes, “Whenever a calamity falls upon Muslim majority countries, there is always a country to blame: Israel.” She quotes a number of examples, including the World Trade Center attack and says, “…and of course there were the accusations that the tragic events of 9/11 were the fruits of another conspiracy that Zionists planned in order to demonize Arabs and Muslims in the eyes of the world.” She goes on to say that “This madness of putting the blame on Israel - and Zionists in general - is such a knee-jerk reaction that there is no logical explanation to this evasion of responsibility. The most surprising part is that so many people believe in it unquestionably and continue to disseminate these rumors far and wide.”
She wrote another op-ed entitled, “Shameless Anti-Jewish Propaganda is based upon False ‘Hadith.’” Hadith is a saying or an act or tacit approval or disapproval attributed to Muhammad. She writes that, “One after the other, we see Arab religious and political leaders referring to one specific ‘Hadith’ as a propaganda tool against Israel. I view the interpretation by those who approach the text (Qur’an) with the spirit of war against Jewish People as a crime and perceive this as an offense to Islam.”
She wrote another op-Ed entitled, “Islam Does Not Command War against Jews”
She was imprisoned for her beliefs and her ability to speak out. It is plain and simple to anyone who can see.
The Western World cannot turn its eyes away from this grave injustice. I call upon all world leaders to get involved in the case of Sinem Tezyapar and do the right thing. Once and for all, set her free. The world will be a better place if that happens.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.