ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN NORTHERN CYPRUS

      

General Information

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)

National name: Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti, KKTC), commonly called Northern Cyprus (Turkish: Kuzey Kıbrıs)

Total area: 1,295 sq mi , 3,355 sq km

Population (2008 est.): 264,172

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Nicosia (Lefkoşa in Turkish) 39,176; Gazimagusa (Famagusta) 27,637;  Girne (Kyrenia) 14,205;  Guzelyurt 12,865;  Lefke 6,490 and  Yeni Iskele 2,814

Monetary unit: New Turkish lira

Languages: Turkish (official); English

Ethnicity/race: Of the 178,000 Turkish Cypriot citizens, 74% are native Cypriots (approximately 140,000). Of the remaining people born to non-Cypriot parentage, approximately 16,000 were born in Cyprus. The figure for non-citizens, including students, guest workers and temporary residents stood at 78,000 people. Estimates by the government of the Republic of Cyprus from 2001 place the population at 200,000, of which 80-89,000 are Turkish Cypriots and 109,000-117,000 Turkish settlers. There are small populations of Greek Cypriots and Maronites (about 3,000) living in Rizokarpaso and Kormakitis regions.

National Holiday: Independence Day, 15 November (1983)

Religions: Islam 98 %,  there are small Orthodox  Greek  and Catholic Maronites

Literacy rate: 99%

Economic summary: GDP/PPP: (2007 est.): $4.54 billion; $7,135 per capita (2007 est.). Real growth rate: 10.6%. Inflation: 9.1% (2004 est.).

   Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sardinia and Sicily. It lies 65 km from Turkey's southern coast. Other neighbouring countries are Syria (97 km), Lebanon (108 km), Egypt (370 km), Israel and Greece. Since the division of Cyprus in 1974 the Turkish Cypriots have lived in the northern part of the island while Greek Cypriots live in the south.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (Turkish: Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti, KKTC), commonly called Northern Cyprus (Turkish: Kuzey Kıbrıs) though its tourist office advertises as North Cyprus, is a de facto independent republic located in the north of Cyprus. The TRNC declared its independence in 1983, nine years after a Greek Cypriot coup attempting to annex the island to Greece triggered an invasion by Turkey. It has received diplomatic recognition only from Turkey, on which it is dependent economically, politically and militarily. The rest of the international community, including the United Nations and European Union, recognises the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the entire island, including the portion currently under the control of the TRNC.

The Turkish Army maintains a large force in the TRNC that meets with the approval of much of the Turkish Cypriot population. However, the Republic of Cyprus regards it as an illegal occupation force; its presence has also been denounced in several United Nations Security Council resolutions. Attempts to reach a solution to the dispute have so far been unsuccessful. In a 2004 referendum held simultaneously in both parts of the island, the UN Annan Plan to reunite the island was accepted by a majority of Turkish Cypriots. However, amidst concerns that the plan would eliminate the concept of one-person, one-vote largely in favor of Turkish Cypriots and would not safeguard Greek Cypriot rights in Northern Cyprus, an overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots rejected the proposal.

The TRNC extends from the tip of the Karpass Peninsula (Cape Apostolos Andreas) in the northeast, westward to Morphou Bay and Cape Kormakitis (the Kokkina/Erenköy exclave marks the westernmost extent of the TRNC), and southward to the village of Louroujina/Akıncılar. The no man's land or buffer zone stretching between the two areas is under the control of the United Nations.

The modern history of the TRNC begins with the gaining of independence of a united Cyprus from British rule in August 1960. Independence was only achieved after both Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed to respectively abandon plans for 'enosis' (union with Greece) or partition. The agreement involved Cyprus being governed under a constitution which apportioned Cabinet posts, parliamentary seats and civil service jobs on an agreed ratio between the two communities. However, the Constitution of Cyprus, while establishing an independent and sovereign republic, was, in the words of Stanley Alexander de Smith, an authority on constitutional law, "unique in its tortuous complexity and in the multiplicity of the safeguards that it provides for the principal minority; the Constitution of Cyprus stands alone among the constitutions of the world." Within three years, tensions between the two communities in administrative affairs began to show. In particular, disputes over separate municipalities and taxation created a deadlock in government. In 1963 President Makarios proposed unilateral changes to the constitution via thirteen amendments, which some observers viewed as an unconstitutional attempt to tilt the balance of power in the Republic. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots rejected the proposed amendments as an attempt to settle constitutional disputes in favor of the Greek Cypriots and as a means of demoting the Turks' status as co-founders of the state to one of minority status, removing their constitutional safeguards in the process. The President defended his amendments as being necessary "to resolve constitutional deadlocks." The Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1965, described the policy of the Turkish Cypriot leaders in this way: "The Turkish Cypriot leaders have adhered to a rigid stand against any measures which might involve having members of the two communities live and work together, or which might place Turkish Cypriots in situations where they would have to acknowledge the authority of Government agents. Indeed, since the Turkish Cypriot leadership is committed to physical and geographical separation of the communities as a political goal, it is not likely to encourage activities by Turkish Cypriots which may be interpreted as demonstrating the merits of an alternative policy. The result has been a seemingly deliberate policy of self-segregation by the Turkish Cypriots"Report S/6426.

On 21 December 1963, a Turkish Cypriot crowd clashed with the plainclothes special constables of Yorgadjis. Almost immediately, intercommunal violence broke out with a major Greek Cypriot paramilitary attack upon Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia and Larnaca. Though the TMT — a Turkish resistance group created in 1959 to promote a policy of taksim (division or partition of Cyprus), in opposition to the Greek Cypriot nationalist group EOKA and its advocacy of enosis (union of Cyprus with Greece) — committed a number of acts of retaliation, historian of the Cyprus conflict Keith Kyle noted that "there is no doubt that the main victims of the numerous incidents that took place during the next few months were Turks." Seven hundred Turkish hostages, including women and children, were taken from the northern suburbs of Nicosia. Nikos Sampson, a nationalist and future coup leader, led a group of Greek Cypriot irregulars into the mixed suburb of Omorphita and attacked the Turkish Cypriot population. By 1964, 193 Turkish Cypriots and 133 Greek Cypriots had been killed, with a further 209 Turks and 41 Greeks missing and presumed dead.

Turkish Cypriot members of the government had by now withdrawn, creating an essentially Greek Cypriot administration in control of all institutions of the state. Widespread looting of Turkish Cypriot villages prompted 20,000 refugees to retreat into armed enclaves, where they remained for the next 11 years, relying on food and medical supplies from Turkey to survive. Turkish Cypriots formed paramilitary groups to defend the enclaves, leading to a gradual division of the island's communities into two hostile camps. The violence had also seen thousands of Turkish Cypriots attempt to escape the violence by emigrating to Britain, Australia and Turkey.

The Republic of Cyprus has argued that the Turkish Cypriots' withdrawal from the government and their retreat into enclaves was a voluntary action, prompted by their desire to form a state of their own. In support of this view, a 1965 statement has been cited in which the then–United Nations Secretary General, U Thant, stated that Turkish Cypriots had furthered a policy of "self-segregation" and taken a "rigid stand" against policies which might have involved recognizing the government's authority. Turkish Cypriots, for their part, point to a ruling of Cyprus's Supreme Court which found that Makarios had violated the constitution by failing to fully implement its measures and that Turkish Cypriots had not been allowed to return to their positions in government without first accepting the proposed constitutional amendments.

On July 15, 1974, the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 backed a Greek Cypriot military coup d'état in Cyprus. President Makarios was removed from office and Nikos Sampson took his place. Turkey claimed that, under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, the coup was sufficient reason for military action to protect the Turkish Cypriot populace, and thus Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Following Turkey's military intervention, the coup failed and Makarios returned to Cyprus. Turkish forces proceeded to take over the northern third of the island (about 37% of Cyprus's total area), causing large numbers of Greek Cypriots to abandon their homes. Approximately 160,000 Greek Cypriots fled to the south of the island, while 50,000 Turkish Cypriots fled north. Approximately 1,500 Greek Cypriot and 500 Turkish Cypriots remain missing.

In 1975 the "Turkish Federative State of Cyprus" (Kıbrıs Türk Federe Devleti) was declared as a first step towards a future federated Cypriot state, but was rejected by the Republic of Cyprus, the UN, and the international community. After eight years of failed negotiations with the leadership of the Greek Cypriot community, the north declared its independence on November 15, 1983 under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This unilateral declaration of independence was rejected by the UN and the Republic of Cyprus. In recent years the politics of reunification has dominated the island's affairs. It was hoped that Cyprus's planned accession into the European Union would act as a catalyst towards a settlement, and in 2004 a United Nations–brokered peace settlement was presented in a referendum to both sides. The proposed settlement was opposed by both the president of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, and Turkish Cypriot president Rauf Denktaş; in the referendum, a majority of Turkish Cypriots accepted the proposal, but Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected it. As a result, Cyprus entered the European Union as a divided island, with the north (TRNC) effectively excluded. Denktaş resigned in the wake of the vote, ushering in the pro-solutionist Mehmet Ali Talat as his successor.

International status and foreign relations

The international community, with the exception of Turkey, does not recognise the TRNC as a sovereign state, but recognises the de jure sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island. The United Nations considers the declaration of independence by the TRNC as legally invalid in several of its resolutions.
In wake of the April 2004 referendum on the United Nations Annan Plan, and the support of the Turkish Cypriot community for the plan, the European Union made pledges towards ending the isolation of northern Cyprus. These included measures for trade and 259 million euro in aid.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference gave the TRNC the status of a constituent state, making the "Turkish Cypriot State" an observer member of the organization. A number of high profile formal meetings have also taken place between President Mehmet Ali Talat and various foreign leaders and politicians including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the then British foreign minister, Jack Straw and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

The European Union considers the area not under effective control of the Republic of Cyprus as EU territory under Turkish military occupation and thus indefinitely exempt from EU legislation until a settlement has been found. The status of TRNC has become a recurrent issue especially during the recent talks for Turkey's membership of the EU where the division of the island is seen as a major stumbling block in Turkey's long road to membership.

On February 18, 2008, The TRNC became one of the first nations to acknowledge the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Kosovo, in direct opposition to the stance of the Republic of Cyprus, which rejects the Kosovo UDI. It is argued by the Turkish and TRNC media that the independence of Kosovo could be a good model for the TRNC's recognition. It is to be stressed however that the TRNC's government has not yet formally recognized the government of Kosovo, despite President Talat's message of congratulations to Kosovo.

Islamic History and Muslims

Nazim al-Qubrusi

Mehmet Nâzım Adil (Arabic : الشيخ ناظم القبرصي; also known as Sultan-al Awliya Shaykh Mawlana as-Sayyid Khwaja Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani al-Rabbani al-Qubrusi al-Firdausi an-Naqshbandi (April 23, 1922 - IC: Sha'ban 26, 1340) is the leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order.

He (qas) was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, hence the title "Qubrusi," Cypriot. He traces his lineage to the 11th century Sufi Abdul Qadir Jilani and the 13th century Anatolian mystic Jalaluddin Rumi. Both of his maternal and paternal grandfathers were sheikhs in the Qadiri and Mevlevi orders respectively. As a child, the young Nazim showed a propensity towards spirituality. His father sent him to school to study secular knowledge during the day, and in the evening he studied Islam at the local maktab, where he learned the basics of Islamic law, jurisprudence, the Hadith, and Qur'anic exegesis.Shaykh Nazim is a spiritual leader of the Naqshbandi golden chain.He is also head of the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order.

He has also written or dictated many books, some of which have been published by the Islamic Supreme Council of America

Biography

After completing secondary school in 1940, at the age of 18 the young Nazim moved to Istanbul where two brothers and a sister were living. He studied chemical engineering at Istanbul University. While advancing in his secular studies, Nazim continued his education in Islamic theology and the Arabic language under the tutelage of Shaykh Cemalettin Elassonli (d. 1955 CE). Nazim received a degree in chemical engineering and he excelled among his colleagues. Yet he would later state, "I felt no attraction to modern science. My heart was always drawn to the spiritual sciences." He later came to master not only his native tongue Turkish, but Arabic, English, and Greek as well.

At some point during his first year of life in Istanbul, Nazim met his first spiritual guide, Shaykh Suleyman Erzurumi (d. 1948), who was a murshid in the Naqshbandi Order.

Sheikh Nazim attended the gatherings of this particular shaykh which were held in the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Here he learned the basic spiritual methods of the Naqshbandi Order, in addition to those of the Qadiri and the Mevlevi. His focus on spirituality was further reinforced by the unexpected death of an elder brother. Shortly after attaining his degree Sheikh Nazim received inspiration to go to Damascus in order to find the famed Naqshbandi master, Shaykh Abdullah al-Fa'izi ad-Daghestani (1891-September 30, 1973). He obtained permission from Shaykh Erzurumi to leave Istanbul and in 1944 he arrived in Syria, although the unrest caused by the Vichy French government prevented his entry into Damascus until 1945. Upon meeting with the master, whose tekke is located on the slopes of the Jabal Qasyoun, Sheikh Nazim took his hand in bay'ah, or initiation. The young Sheikh Nazim’s mystical faculties were self-evident and he advanced along the Sufi path with great speed.

Shortly thereafter Shaykh Abdullah Daghestani ordered Shaykh Nazim to return to his native Cyprus to deliver spiritual guidance. Shaykh Abdullah also conferred the title of "Shaykh" to Shaykh Nazim thus giving him the legitimacy to speak on behalf of the Naqshbandi Order.

While in Cyprus, Shaykh Nazim came into conflict with pro-Atatürk governing body of the Turkish community of the island. His repeated act of making the adhan in Arabic rather than the prescribed Turkish brought several lawsuits against him and there were some 114 cases lodged against him for crimes against the secular order. Nevertheless all these were dropped shortly thereafter with the coming to power of Adnan Menderes in Turkey, whose government opted for a more tolerant approach to Islamic traditions.

Shaykh Nazim moved back to Damascus in 1952, when he was wed to the daughter of one of the murids of Shaykh Abdullah Daghestani, Amina Adil (1929-2004), whose family came to settle in Syria after fleeing Soviet rule of their native Kazan. From that time, Sheikh Nazim took up residence in Damascus, and every year he would visit Cyprus for at least three months. The couple have two daughters and two sons.


Worldwide mission work
In the year following the passing of his murshid in 1973, Shaykh Nazim began visiting Western Europe, traveling every year from the Middle East to London. On his return trips to Damascus, he would often drive by car through the former Yugoslavia, spending time visiting the Muslim communities there. It became his practice to spend the month of Ramadan in the large centre established in London. In 2000 this practice was discontinued due to his advanced age.

In 1997, Shaykh Nazim visited Daghestan, the homeland of his murshid, Shaykh Abdullah Daghestani. He also made repeated visits to Uzbekistan were he made the pilgrimage to the tomb of the eponymous founder of the Naqshbandi Order, Shah Baha'uddin Naqshband (d.1388CE)

In 1991 Shaykh Nazim visited the United States for the first time at the invitation of his khalifa and son-in-law, Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Hisham Kabbani (married to Hajjah Nazihe Kabbani, Shaykh Nazim's daughter), to officiate the marriage of their son Nour Kabbani. Shaykh Kabbani moved to the US in 1990 and instantiated the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order in order to manage the affairs of the Tariqah in the US and the Americas and the Islamic Supreme Council of America to work in educating the American policymakers and public on classical Islam which is based on love, peace, tolerance and the brotherhood of humankind.

At that time Shaykh Nazim made the first of four nationwide tours, during the course of which he brought several hundred individuals into the fold of Islam.

In 1993 Shaykh Nazim, at the invitation of Shaykh Kabbani, opened a center in SE Michigan for the purpose of Sufi retreats and activities. Established officially as the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi order the center has since expanded into a mosque and Islamic studies center, located in Burton, Michigan. This visit also included a long traverse of the US and Canada.

In 1996, Shaykh Nazim was guest of honour at the First International Islamic Unity Conference, held in Los Angeles, under the chairmanship of Shaykh Kabbani. Over 8000 people attended this conference which included major Islamic scholars from around the world and whose theme focussed on Islamic Spirituality. Following the conference, as guest of his son-in-law Shaykh Kabbani, Shaykh Nazim visited many parts of the US and Canada, giving talks, association and meetings to people of all faiths and every walk of life. Shaykh Nazim gave widely-attended speeches and associations and Dhikr gatherings in a number of venues, including churches, temples, universities, mosques and New Age centers.

In 1998 Shaykh Nazim was again chief guest of honour at the Second International Islamic Unity Conference, held in Washington DC, under Shaykh Kabbani. Attended by over 6000 people, the highlight of this conference was the ringing denunciation of terrorism by Shaykh Nazim to the 160 Islamic scholars and VIPs from around the world, including the current Grand Mufti of Egypt, Grand Muftis of Russia and neighboring nations and dignitaries from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East and Africa.

Following this conference Shaykh Nazim visited the home and spiritual centre of Shaykh Kabbani, as well as traveling to a number of areas, including the East Coast and the Midwest to deliver lectures, associations, Mawlid and Dhikr in universities, mosques and other venues.

Later in 1998, Shaykh Nazim traveled to South Africa, accompanied by Shaykh Kabbani and a large contingent of students from around the globe. There he visited Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, in each city giving lectures in mosques filled to capacity. He assigned his representative in South Africa to be Dr. Yusuf DaCosta.

In 2001, Shaykh Nazim, accompanied by his khalifa Shaykh Hisham Kabbani and a large group of students, made the 2001 Naqshbandi-Haqqani Eastern World Tour of the Muslim World, starting in Uzbekistan, from where he then traveled to Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In the course of this journey, Shaykh Nazim met with people of all walks of life, from the highest dignitaries and leaders to the common folk. The Shaykh, despite his advanced age, was able to maintain an incredibly hectic schedule of meetings, speeches, dhikr gatherings and spiritual gatherings with little or no rest for a period of forty days and covering a distance of over 15,000 miles.

Shaykh Nazim made his last trip to the United States in 2000, during which he was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on Religion and Spirituality.

A year after becoming a Mujahid in 1974 war in Cyprus, Shaykh Nazim sent Shaykh Sayyid Abdul Kerim to New York. He sent Sayyid Ahmad Amiruddin to Toronto, Canada to spread the message of the Naqshbandi Tariqat.

Shaykh Nazim has had close relations with several notable politicians, notably the late president of Turkey, Turgut Ozal as well as the president of Turkish Cyprus, Rauf Denktaş. During his travels in Southeast Asia (which began in 1986) he gave his spiritual blessings to His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, His Highness Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta and several members of Malaysia’s royal families including His Highness Prince Raja Dato’ Seri Ashman Shah have taken initiation into the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order at his hand. He also traveled on numerous occasions to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka where he has been received with great fanfare. In the late 1990s he visited South Africa where he established contacts with the Sunni Muslim community. Shaykh Nazim has made the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) some 27 times.

Due to his advanced age, Shaykh Nazim rarely travels abroad nowadays. He currently resides in his family home in the town of Lefke, Northern Cyprus.

There are several websites dedicated to the Shaykh and his spritual cause such as "sufilive.com" and "beforearmageddon.com" aswell. These sites provide recordings of talks of both Shaykh Nazim and his khalifah's Shaykh Hisham Kabbani and Shaykh Adnan Kabbani.
 

   Islamic Centers and Organizations

   Muslim Owned Business

References

Northern Cyprus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Cyprus ,   October,  2008).
Nazim al-Qubrusi (   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazim_al-Qubrusi  , October,  2008).