Mus­lims in West­ern coun­tries re­main be­sieged by anti-Is­lam prej­u­dice

At an Is­tan­bul sum­mit bring­ing to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Mus­lim mi­nori­ties from around the world, Pres­i­dent Er­doğan ac­cused the West of cre­at­ing an ex­tremely hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment for Mus­lims and stok­ing re­li­gious ha­tred and big­otry

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

THE WORLD Mus­lim Mi­nori­ties Sum­mit opened in Is­tan­bul yes­ter­day amid Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan’s strong crit­i­cism of the West’s anti-Is­lam sen­ti­ment. The four-day event, or­ga­nized by the Pres­i­dency of Re­li­gious Af­fairs (DİB), brings to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives, aca­demics, ex­perts and jour­nal­ists from 100 coun­tries where Mus­lim mi­nori­ties live and fo­cuses both on the in­ter­nal prob­lems of the com­mu­ni­ties and the chal­lenges they en­dure in the face of Is­lam­o­pho­bia. On the first day of the sum­mit, the par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed the past and fu­ture of Mus­lim mi­nori­ties and to­day, they will de­bate is­sues rang­ing from free­dom of mi­nori­ties to rad­i­cal­iza­tion. On the third day, prob­lems re­gard­ing re­li­gious ser­vices and main­tain­ing re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion will be dis­cussed. The sum­mit, the first of its kind, aims to boost ties be­tween Tur­key and Mus­lim mi­nori­ties under the motto “The Be­liev­ers are but a sin­gle Broth­er­hood.” In an open­ing speech, Er­doğan lashed out at the West for stok­ing anti-Is­lam sen­ti­ment in its bid “to im­pose its own ide­ol­ogy and life­style.” Known for his frank crit­i­cism of what he calls the hypocrisy of West­ern coun­tries who are turn­ing a blind eye to their his­to­ries of colo­nial­ism, Er­doğan said they wanted to stain Is­lam through “ter­ror­ist groups en­gi­neered to ac­com­plish that.” The pres­i­dent said at­tacks against Mus­lims and refugees has be­come “an or­di­nary thing” in many coun­tries cham­pi­oning democ­racy and law.

“RACISTS and fas­cist groups tar­get busi­nesses, homes and places of wor­ships be­long­ing to Mus­lims, par­tic­u­larly in Ger­many, the Nether­lands, France and Bel­gium. Mus­lim women are ha­rassed be­cause they wear head­scarves, for in­stance, in France,” he said.

Er­doğan pointed to the multi-lay­ered, multi-sided wave of at­tacks against Mus­lims in the post 9/11 pe­riod “through gangs with blood on their hands.” “Ter­ror at­tacks by Daesh, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, FETÖ, etc. both harm us and give op­por­tu­ni­ties to anti-Is­lam cir­cles to de­fame Is­lam. They ask: ‘How come Mus­lims do not shed blood? Isn’t Is­lam a re­li­gion of peace?’ They ig­nore the plight of Mus­lims and the slay­ing of Mus­lims by those groups. On the con­trary, they hold Mus­lims ac­count­able for these bru­tal mur­ders. Most West­ern coun­tries, in a bid to smoke­screen their in­ter­nal prob­lems, stoke this fire,” he said. He lashed out at “seem­ingly clean” coun­tries with his­to­ries of mas­sacres and im­moral­ity. “I asked one of them in a phone call re­cently why they didn’t ac­count for killing 5 mil­lion in Al­ge­ria,” he said, re­fer­ring to a con­ver­sa­tion with French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron.

Ankara has stepped up rhetoric against ris­ing anti-Is­lam sen­ti­ment par­tic­u­larly in Europe and Par­lia­ment’s hu­man rights com­mit­tee launched a probe into Is­lam­o­pho­bia on the con­ti­nent amid re­ports that in Ger­many alone, some 950 Mus­lims and Mus­lim in­sti­tu­tions faced at­tacks in 2017.

Er­doğan com­plained about dou­ble stan­dards when it comes to the lives of Mus­lims. “We know how West­ern pow­ers are irked when their in­ter­ests are dis­turbed. When it comes to mar­ket shar­ing or ac­quir­ing oil, gold and di­a­mond re­serves, they are like sharks at­tracted to scent of blood and go thou­sands of kilo­me­ters for their in­ter­ests while turn­ing a blind eye to the mas­sacres in Pales­tine, [Myan­mar’s] Rakhine and in Syria. They only think about grab­bing the re­sources of a coun­try under the guise of fight­ing Daesh and en­dors­ing new ter­ror­ist groups for their own pur­poses,” he said in a thinly veiled ref­er­ence to the U.S. sup­port for a PKK-linked group that Turk­ish troops fought in Syria.

“The world is big­ger than five” is the fa­mous motto Er­doğan has re­peated in speeches in ref­er­ence to the world pow­ers’ mo­nop­oly in the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and was once again high­lighted in the pres­i­dent’s speech at the sum­mit. “We al­ways said the United Na­tions needs re­forms. Alas, even lead­ers of Mus­lim coun­tries can­not com­pre­hend what we ad­vo­cate. They got used to the pol­icy of en­slave­ment and do what they are told [by the West]. We don’t live in the post-World War II pe­riod any­more. We need to build a new world,” the pres­i­dent stated.

He also touched upon the U.S. and its al­lies’ re­cent mil­i­tary strikes in Syria in re­sponse to the Bashar As­sad regime’s chem­i­cal at­tack in Douma. “Mus­lims have failed to re­solve their own prob­lems and those out­side Is­lam try to ‘solve’ it. This is when bar­rel bombs start drop­ping. They say it is a re­ac­tion to a vi­o­la­tion of a con­ven­tion on chem­i­cal weapons. It is a crime no mat­ter what kind of bomb kills the peo­ple. Chem­i­cal weapons killed peo­ple but con­ven­tional weapons killed hun­dreds of thou­sands of oth­ers too. They never speak about it,” Er­doğan said in his crit­i­cism of West­ern pow­ers tak­ing ac­tion only when the As­sad regime used chem­i­cal weapons.

Pres­i­dent Er­doğan ad­dresses del­e­gates from Mus­lim mi­nori­ties at an event held at Is­tan­bul’s Dolmabahçe Palace.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.