Monday, June 7, 2021
Delivering the opening speech of the 1st International Media and Islamophobia Symposium, the President of Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, "The malady of Islamophobia is spreading rapidly across the world, the West in particular, like a cancer cell."
The 1st International Media and Islamophobia Symposium that is organized by the cooperation of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), the Presidency of Religious Affairs, Erciyes University, TRT, and the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) has started in Ankara with the attendance of the President of Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The opening speeches of the Symposium that is organized at ATO Congresium and that shall continue for two days were delivered by Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs; Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Minister of Culture and Tourism; and Ebubekir Şahin, the Chairman of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).
In the opening speech that he delivered, the President of Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who was the guest of honor to the Symposium wished the International Media and Islamophobia Symposium conduce to blessings for the humanity, Islamic world, Turkey and its institutions and thanked to everyone who would contribute to the Symposium with their opinions, evaluations, and discussions.
Congratulating everyone who made efforts regarding the execution of the Symposium, the President Erdoğan said, "I would like to start my words by stating that the issue we are faced with is not Islamophobia or fear of Islam, but outright hostility towards Islam. Yes, The malady of Islamophobia is spreading rapidly across the world, the West in particular, like a cancer cell."
Stating that there had been rivalry, tensions and even, very bloody conflicts throughout history between the people who were members of different religions, Erdoğan reminded the fact that the destructions caused by the Crusades that were executed with the dream of taking over the Anatolia and al-Quds and continued for a long period changed the course of the world history.
Saying that "During the conquests of the Ottoman Empire reaching out to the doors of Vienna, there was no regrettable incident that would bring neither our ancestors nor us and our grandchildren under suspicion within this frame," the President Erdoğan added: “On the other hand, the West always preserved their arrogance and grudge against the eastern societies which they materialized in the person of the Turkish people under the concept of orientalism.”
Stating that one of the latest examples of that was the flag of terrorist Israel being raised on the Prime Ministry building of Austria, Erdoğan said that it was possible to understand the meaning behind it, easily.
“There are numerous examples of sorrow caused by Islamophobia in the recent history”
Erdoğan recorded as follows:
"As a matter of fact, the extensive political and cultural change movements that have been initiated in the Ottoman remainder lands are the efforts of the West to rebuild them by melting the differences in this region within their own format. When we look at our environment, this approach whose partial successes we can observe in some places has not been able to keep a wide ground due to the religious and ethnical racism that it contains. Such kind of failure has showed itself in the form of foreign interventions with no end thereof, the internal conflicts, and deep and bloody incidents in the Islamic world. There are numerous examples of sorrow caused by Islamophobia in the recent history such as massacres in Bosnia, genocide in Rakhine and the tragedies occurred in several places such as Turkistan and Palestine today."
Drawing the attention to the fact that the wave of enmity to Islam of today have been carried out more sinister and veiled methods, Erdoğan said: "The strategy of "demonizing Muslims" launched by the American administration after the 9/11 attacks served to trigger the virus of hostility towards Islam that already existed in the cultural structure of many societies."
“Attacks against the Holy Qur’an are being guarded by the states’ themselves”
Stating that today, some countries in Europe, which were led by France, were in an intense effort to form the religion of Islam in accordance with their own disposition, Erdoğan continued his words as follows:
"After the Industrial Revolution, those who have established a powerful order of security and welfare over the natural resources, sweat and blood of several nations that they colonized together with their own people have entered into the 21st century with serious concerns. The Western countries which have faced demographic threats as well due to the decreasing rates of the population growth have been trying to evade the uncertainties that are caused by the changing global balances of power by detaining their own public with fascist discourses. That some racist trends which were considered as marginal have now took a place in the center of politics is an indicator of the fact that the West prefers to be deeply buried instead of being saved from the swamp that it has fallen into. Those who sit themselves as the castle of religious freedoms on a distinguished position in the world for a long time have entered into a race of prohibiting any kind of symbol that belongs to the Muslims, today. The attacks against our book, the Holy Qur’an, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw), and symbols that portray the religious choices especially the clothing of the Muslim women and men are being guarded by the states’ themselves, and therefore, supported.”
"Statistics clearly portray the grave extent of Islamophobia"
Stating that the statistics clearly portrayed the grave extent of the problem, Erdoğan drew the attention to the fact that in the West, racist and anti-Islam attacks have increased 250 percent and the rate of those who have lost their lives in these attacks have increased 700 percent within the last 5 years.
Erdoğan stated that in the biggest 5 European Union member countries, over 15 thousand incidents of enmity to Islam had been reported to the civil society organizations within the last 5 years.
Uttering that there had been an increase of 54 percent compared to the last year on the rate of attacks targeting the Turkish citizens residing in Europe; Erdoğan continued his words as follows:
"The enmity to Islam and all these activities that were just overlooked, kept silent, and laid low by keeping it at the level of mere police incidents until a while ago have now been started to inserted into the constitutions and laws. The public authorities which are responsible for providing the security of all of the citizens, especially the political parties which have the responsibility of administering the country and the police, have in fact entered into a race of enmity to Islam. These tendencies of the politics and the public institutions have caused to the development of a groundless prejudice against the religion of Islam and the Muslims among the democratic people who are living in the Western countries as well. However, those who turn their back to the fact that in places where the freedoms are removed, the welfare also cannot survive long are in fact being enemy to their own future, not to the religion of Islam.”
"They have placed Muslims on the target board”
Saying that "I believe that this fact shall be accepted by all who have reason and consciousness," Erdoğan continued his words as follows:
"The Western countries, which opened the compassof religious and ethnic freedoms in the embarrassment of the shame of anti-Semitism through the history from Spain to Germany, are now rapidly moving towards the opposite direction. Those who are bracketing all this genocide on Jews that had happened during the World War II in their own way, have now turned Muslims into a target. When the mindset is the same, it is not possible for the results to be different.”
Erdoğan said, "Even though this new racism against Muslims is tried to be softened by the Westerners themselves under the name of 'Islamophobia', we know very well that what is actually being done is enmity to Islam."
Uttering that those who previously tried to legitimize Islamophobia with the label of "Islamic terrorism" did not refrain from targeting all Muslims without any hesitation,, Erdoğan continued: "Because the spear cannot fit in the sack. Those who consider themselves as superior with respect to culture never abstain from marginalizing all other groups, especially Muslims.”
"The new tool of motivation is being formed as Islamophobia”
Referring that when the concern of losing the political and economic power got deeper due to the pandemic, the balance of the Europeans deteriorated, the President of Republic of Turkey Erdoğan recorded as follows:
"This, in turn, leads to the spread of the reflex of protecting the modern European identity, or rather European unity, by increasing the dose of religious and cultural fanaticism.The new motivation tool of this European identity, which was protected against the communist threat during the Cold War, is shaped as Islamophobia.. We can evaluate within this framework the fact that some trends within Christianity determining their goal of existence as enmity to Islam have been gaining power with the contribution of political and economic power that they have.”
Drawing the attention to the fact that the developments in the world are advancing in the direction of protecting the economic power of European countries, and are causing further security concerns, the President of Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: "It means that Islamophobia would continue to rise." “We must tell that Islamophobia is a global threat, not the religion of Islam”
Expressing that those who follow the Western media closely will see an increasing effort to portray Muslims as "terrorists" and Islam as a "religion of terror," Erdoğan emphasized that they need to develop new and more effective approaches against the ever-increasing Islamophobia movement.Erdoğan assessed, " First of all, we must explain to every one of the more than 7.5 billion people in the world that Islamophobia is a global threat, not the religion of Islam. Instead of discussing the political, social, psychological and economic dimensions of this threat, the fact that the West is influenced by the racist and discriminative trends is nothing more than taking the easy way out.”
“We should remember the fact that we face several manifestations of this malady even in our country”
Emphasizing that they were aware of the fact that this was not an easy way, Erdoğan continued his words as follows:
"Leaving the West aside, we should remember the fact that we face several manifestations of this malady even in our country. We can encounter people who cannot stand the adhan, mosque, headscarf and the religious worships in a country where the majority is Muslim. At the backstage of the conflicts on secularism that have been continuing for many years in our country, there are tensions caused by the intentions of prohibiting the religious freedoms rather than protecting them. This twisted mindset that makes the state counter against its own people has been appearing as one of the biggest excuses of coups. When we consider the argumentum of the coups of 1960 and 1980, which are the black stains of our multi-party political life, and the intervention of February 28, we do, and, can see this fact clearly. This means that we need to determine the strategy of fight that we shall perform against Islamophobia in a way to cover the content as well.”
Drawing the attention to the fact that the media came first among the elements that needed to be focused the most in this fight, the President of Republic of Turkey Erdoğan said, "In a media order where the resistance of people who protect their own right to life is labeled as terror while the destruction caused by Israel in Palestinian cities and the massacre that they execute are being swept under the carpet, it is clear as day that our work is not easy.”
Stating that it was the casefor Turkey as well, Erdoğan talked as, "Those who try to include such kind of fight of Turkey against the terrorist organizations within the scope of violation of human rights, glorify as much as possible the disproportionate force performed against the smallest threat to themselves. On this occasion, I remember our 33 civilian and unarmed soldiers who were vilely martyred when their bus blocked on the highway of Bingöl-Elazığ by PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) 28 years ago on May 24th, 1993 with blessings.”
" It is essential for them to establish a strong communication network in the international arena”
Emphasizing that the duty that fell onto themselves was to work to tell the truth to the World by using every means on their hands, the President of Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recorded as follows:
"We should urge all the conscientious politicians, intellectuals, members of the media, the clergy across the worldas well as our own religious officials, to take action against the malady of enmity against Islam. It is essential for all societies and countries exposed to this threat to come together and establish a strong communication network in the international arena. Efforts to prevent enmity against Islam, which are of vital importance for the peace and safety of the entire humanity, should be conducted via shared wisdom mechanisms to be established. Otherwise, it is inevitable for us to encounter an inefficient picture with very little results even though a lot of time and energy is spent.
If the majority of refugees in the World is consisted of Muslims, if Muslims die the most in internal conflicts, and poverty is observed the most among Muslims, it means that there is a problem of unity and solidarity that needs to be solved first. When the Islamic world establishes the unity among itself, it is possible for the fight to be performed against Islamophobia to reach a conclusion soon. Otherwise, the current vicious circle situation, which is always talked about, always discussed, but for which even a single useful step could never be taken, will continue."
Wishing that the Symposium would counduce to the beginning of a new era in this direction, Erdoğan thanked all scholars who would contribute to the program with their opinions, members of the media and the attendees.
Following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech, Ebubekir Şahin, the Chairman of the Radio and Television Supreme Council, offered Erdoğan a painting, which represented the moment when a Jewish citizen submitted a petition to the Sultan.
Vice President of the Republic of Turkey Fuat Oktay and the Minister of Family and Social Services Derya Yanık also attended the symposium.