Populism fuels Islamophobia in Europe, says Turkey

Populism fuels Islamophobia around the world, especially in Europe, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday.

Speaking in Istanbul at an international conference focusing on human rights abuses against Muslims, Turkey’s top diplomat said the political rhetoric dominating in parts of Europe serves to legitimize the rise of Islamophobia in these countries.

Opening new mosques and maintaining existing mosques have even posed significant challenges, Çavuşoğlu said in a video message to the conference, co-organized by the Turkish Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Commission. Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. (OIC).

In Western understanding, Çavuşoğlu said, competition and conflict are the main dynamics of societal development, while Islamic civilization encourages harmony, respect and solidarity.

Noting that the OIC has marked March 15 as the International Day Against Islamophobia following the 2019 terrorist attacks that targeted two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, Çavuşoğlu called on Muslim nations to work for a similar decision at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He also underlined the international isolation to which the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is subjected and Greece which deprives its Turkish minority of their most basic human rights, saying that Muslim countries should seek solutions to these major problems. .

Turkey will also continue to keep the challenges facing the Palestinians on the global agenda, he added.

The normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel would not mean a change in Ankara’s Palestinian policy, Çavuşoğlu also said last week.

Despite the recent rapprochement, Turkish officials continue to criticize Israel’s policies targeting Palestinians, including illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Known for its unwavering solidarity with the Palestinians, Turkey has been expressing its support for the Palestinian cause in the international arena for decades. The Turkish authorities stress that the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the Middle East is through a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue within the framework of international law and United Nations resolutions.

In a separate video message, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop claimed that Islamophobia has been adopted as state policy by some countries, becoming one of the widespread forms of racism.

Obvious examples of Islamophobia can be seen in almost all spheres of daily life, including public spaces, media, universities and international organizations, Şentop said.

Commenting on the treatment of the Turkish minority in Greece, Şentop said its members have faced serious problems and systematic human rights violations. He called on OIC members to respond vigorously to Athens.

The Turkish Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the OIC IPHRC, are organizing the two-day conference which started on Wednesday to discuss the human rights violations faced by Muslims across the world .

In a statement, the organizers said the conference aims to “establish a multi-stakeholder dialogue to objectively analyze the fight against the growing acts of Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims in different parts of the world, as well as to identify ways and practical ways to protect and promote the rights of Muslim communities and minorities.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to address the event via video conference.

During the discussions, the organizers said that the participants “seek to trace the roots and practices of discriminatory behaviors and policies against Muslim communities in order to understand the context in which Islamophobia has developed and the role that it plays in the violation of their human rights”.

International experts on the subject, government officials, human rights institutions, members of civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academics are among the participants.

“Participants are expected to have an open and in-depth discussion of existing practices, policies and behaviors that have led to increased discrimination against Islam and Muslims,” ​​the statement said.

Turkish officials have criticized their Western counterparts for remaining indifferent to anti-Muslim sentiment and fueling ideology, while experts believe Turkey can lead the fight against it. Turkey has continuously called on world leaders to take action to end the demonization of Muslims and has taken steps to tackle the growing problem.

President Erdoğan has often said that Western countries insist on not taking action against rising anti-Islamic sentiment. Erdoğan also called on Turkish institutions to take action on issues related to Muslims and Turks in these countries. Some European countries, particularly France, have taken a hostile stance against Muslims in recent years.

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