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G20 calls for respect for ‘holy books’ and end to ‘religious hatred’

September 11, 2023 at 10:31 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes remarks during the press conference after the end of the 18th G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, India on September 10, 2023. [Mustafa Kamacı – Anadolu Agency]

The G20 has called for an end to “religious hatred”, including acts against religious symbols and holy texts. The group of world leaders has been meeting in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference that burning copies of the Holy Quran under the protection of the police “is clear incitement and a hate crime”, and that “no one can expect that we will remain silent.” He pointed out that burning the holy book in front of Arab and Islamic embassies triggered “angry” responses in the Arab and Muslim world.

“Hate-filled attacks against Muslims and refugees have crossed the borders of tolerance in some Western countries and turned to a wave of hatred in some areas,” said Erdogan. “It is unfortunate that most countries which defend democracy and human rights, play the three-monkey game — I do not see, I do not hear and I do not speak — in the face of this barbarism.”

In the lengthy joint G20 declaration, paragraph 78 reads: “We also emphasise that freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion or expression, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, inter-related and mutually reinforcing and stress the role that these rights can play in the fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief. In this regard, we strongly deplore all acts of religious hatred against persons, as well as those of a symbolic nature without prejudice to domestic legal frameworks, including against religious symbols and holy books.”

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