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Islamophobia continues to spread like plague in West: Turkish President

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on 14 March 2022 [Aytaç Ünal/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on 14 March 2022 [Aytaç Ünal/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Islamophobia is continuing to spread like a plague in Western countries, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a video message at the 2nd International Media and Islamophobia Forum in the capital, Ankara, the President said Islamophobia is "poisoning all segments of society, from people on the street to politicians, workers, and civil servants."

He further said: "The atmosphere of hatred promoted by irresponsible media negatively affects Muslims, as well as millions of people with different languages, religions, origins and cultures.

"The embarrassing debates in the context of the Ukraine crisis reveal the dangerous dimensions of Islamophobia and cultural racism."

Erdogan denounced discrimination against all vulnerable people around the world, stressing that Islamophobia is not only an issue for Muslims, but it should also be for all people around the world.

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"Otherwise, we cannot prevent Islamophobic attacks like (the ones in) New Zealand in 2019 and Canada in 2021," he warned.

The President emphasised that along with Western politicians, media outlets and state institutions, the biggest responsibility falls on the Islamic world and its institutions.

"Muslims must react strongly, seek their rights on legitimate grounds, and fight against this injustice, unlawfulness and discrimination, which targets hundreds of millions of people along with them," he said.

'Turkiye cannot fight Islamophobia alone'

"At this very point, Islamophobia is not a problem only for the Western communities and societies. As part of racism, Islamophobia is already a global problem," Turkiye's Communications Director, Fahrettin Altun, said in his address at the forum.

"We are not speaking about the racism which is underlining the biological differences, but it is actually a cultural racism construct that is based on the cultural differences," he added.

Islamophobia can be defined as "the dominant ideology of the 21st century," Altun said, adding that Muslim communities are subject to ever-increasing Islamophobic attacks and Islamophobic discourses all around the world.

READ: The targeting of Islam in the world is a worrying development

"We see that Islamophobic events are also disseminating on the social life and we see that in certain countries. The women are prohibited from reaching out to education due to their clothes and headscarves," Altun said.

We see that the radical right groups are abusing Islamophobia and, throughout Europe, we are seeing a process in which women are abstaining from wearing religious clothing and they are even afraid of going to mosques

he added.

People who are subjected to the Islamophobic attacks are in need of greater safety and security, he urged.

He also emphasised that discrimination of refugees based on religion and culture will always be remembered, pointing to the disparities in the treatment of refugees from Ukraine and other parts of the world such as Syria, Afghanistan and African countries.

Altun said the Turkish President is leading the fight against Islamophobia in every international platform, often underlining the "demand and request that Islamophobia should be accepted as a crime against humanity just like anti-Semitism."

"We will never allow Islamophobia to be legitimised or normalised under the disguise of freedom of expression, and we will continue our efforts in every platform," he said.

"Islamophobia is not a problem that Turkiye can fight on its own. We are in need of an international and multi-dimensional struggle against Islamophobia," he added.

"This struggle should definitely start from Europe and disseminate to the whole world. As Islamophobia is becoming institutionalised in Europe, the fight against Islamophobia should be institutionalised in Europe as well," he stressed.

Europe & RussiaRussiaTurkeyUkraine
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