Columnist for The Guardian, Madeleine Bunting says the Ottoman model could end the rising Islamophobia in the Western world.
Bunting, recalling how the Ottomans behaved tolerantly towards Christians and Jews for centuries, believes this could be a source of inspiration to overcome Islamophobia.
Answering Zaman's questions, Bunting stresses that terrorism has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.
The British columnist believes Turkey could undertake an important mission on the issue and that dialogue must be recognized to in order to prevent prejudices and misunderstandings. She says it is a "necessity" that the West understands the real Islam.
Bunting is currently in Turkey for the Forum Istanbul meetings themed "Co-Habitance."
Bunting, who also studied history at Harvard and Cambridge, says the Ottoman Empire could be a good source of inspiration for the solution of the problems facing "co-habitance" today.
The British writer, mentioning that several ethnic groups lived together with tolerance under the Ottoman Empire, said: "The Muslim population in many European cities will obtain majority within 20 years. A new method is necessary in order to live together with love and tolerance. We can use the inspiration we get from the Ottoman Empire to find a new way in this area." Bunting stresses the Ottoman Empire left a quite good heritage despite some deficiencies.
Urging Turkey to get into contact with the West to prevent prejudices and misunderstandings, Bunting states it is a "necessity" that the West understand the real Islam.
She attaches more importance to the cultural aspect of Turkey's membership to the EU, which she sees as "vital," rather than to its economic and strategic advantages.
Asserting that the real Islam is misunderstood in the West, Bunting makes the observation, "They listen to Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and al-Qaeda as the representatives of Islam. You cannot understand the real Islam if you only go to Saudi Arabia. There is a big misunderstanding here."
Bunting, who conducted award-winning studies on British Muslims last year, says the West entered a "paranoia of terrorism" after the attacks on New York, Madrid and London, adding "They identify the violent views on TV with Islam. However, millions of Muslims in the world are honest and pacifistic."
Bunting has praise for Islam, which she states has a very rich and perfect heritage, and emphasizes that Turkey enriches Europe with its religion.