Islam is perceived by some as a violent and uncivilized religion constituting a threat to these civic values. They either do not know or conveniently forget that in the past, especially during the golden age of Islamic history and culture, Islam has been the crucible of several values such as freedom of choice, individual responsibility, property, free trade, individual rights, and rule of law. In every culture and religion there are elements that support these values and elements which undermine them.
Liberal Western Civilization, and the Universal Human values it espouses, are not born from nothing. Some people ignore the historical fact that the torch of civilization has passed though Babylon and Egypt into the hands of the Greeks, Romans, and Persians. This torch then shone brightly for seven hundred years, from Pacific to Atlantic in Islamic civilizations. Finally it was taken by Europe to further common Civilization of Humanity.
Touheed (Unity of God) is the first and the most fundamental principle of Islam. From its declaration flows the complete freedom of man. Freedom of choice, freedom of action, freedom of belief and freedom from tyranny of one man over another, in whatever form.
The Istanbul Network is a group of individuals who are dedicated to rehabilitate and advance these Universal Human Values among the World’s Muslim communities. Some are Muslim believers, others are friends of Muslims. They all believe that freedom is not an alien concept for Islam, and open societies, with a strong commitment to individual freedom, tolerance, the rule of law, the protection of private property, free markets, free speech and limited government are possible in the Muslim world.