ISIL destroys Islamic civilization, Turkish President Erdoğan says
AA PhotoThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is trying to destroy everything in Islamic culture, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, likening its acts to the burning of 36 libraries in Baghdad during the Abbasid era by the Mongols, and the burning of 1 million Islamic books in Andalusia upon an order by a Spanish cardinal.
“Today, a terrorist organization active in Syria and Iraq is taking the same path, trying to destroy everything in our civilization, culture and roots,” Erdoğan said during the opening of a classical arts exhibition in Istanbul, referring to ISIL.
“A library in Mosul, which was holding 8,000 rare works, was unfortunately set alight by the organization. A similar thing was also practiced in Timbuctoo [in Mali, Western Africa],” he said.
“Our civilization has managed to sustain its existence against all such cultural massacres and attempted genocides. God willing, we will continue to do so,” Erdoğan said.
“Our civilization attaches a great importance to knowledge and learning, books and libraries,” he said, adding that the Prophet Muhammad preached that Muslims must keep learning until the last day of their life.
“Maybe it was the Chinese who discovered paper, but it was our ancestors who used it deservedly and then took it to the West and other places,” he said.
In his speech, Erdoğan thanked Mehmet Çebi, the curator of the exhibition, its sponsor Doğuş Holding, the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Academy and the Istanbul Art Museum Foundation, for their contributions to the exhibition.
The show was organized by the Islam and Culture Arts platform and includes precious calligraphic works of Quranic verses, in addition to other artifacts.
President Erdoğan also revealed that a large center for Islamic artifacts would be opened on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, alongside the under-construction mosque on Çamlıca Hill.
A 5 million-book library will also be opened inside the gargantuan new presidential palace in Ankara, he also stated.