Erdoğan urges fight against Islamophobia
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 22 called for a global fight against rising Islamophobia like the one against “anti-Semitism after the Holocaust” following the deadly attacks on two New Zealand mosques.
“Just as humanity fought against anti-Semitism after the Holocaust disaster, it should fight against rising Islamophobia in the same determined fashion,” he said in his address at an emergency meeting of ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The executive-committee of the OIC held an emergency meeting to discuss the brutal attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch city, New Zealand, on March 15. A gunman killed 50 Muslims in attacks against two mosques during Friday prayers.
The president has presented the mosque attacks, by a self-avowed white supremacist who killed 50 people, as part of a wider assault on Islam and demands the West do more against anti-Muslim sentiment. “Right now we are facing Islamophobia and Muslim hatred,” he said.
Erdoğan slammed populist politicians who he said encouraged attacks on Muslims and refugees. “Politicians who pave themselves the road to power by alienating Muslims and creating enemies out of refugees must pull themselves together.”
He also called for neo-Nazi groups to be considered terrorists and said: “If we don’t show our reaction in a strong manner, the neo-Nazi virus will engulf the body even more. If we don’t raise our voices, Western governments will not disrupt their comfort.”
Erdoğan said the reaction and empathy shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following the attack in two mosques in Christchurch should be an example to world leaders. He thanked the people and authorities of New Zealand for their sensitivity and determination against the attack.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu also praised New Zealand authorities and their “sincere solidarity messages.” ”We are here to show we are one body against Islamophobic actions across the world,” he said.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters reassured Muslims living in the country they would be “safe and secure” despite the deadly attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.
“Ensuring Muslim communities in New Zealand feel safe and secure is a particular focus,” he said at the gathering in Istanbul. Peters said: “No punishment can match the depravity of his crime but the families of the fallen will have justice.” He screened photographs of New Zealanders mourning the victims.
Representatives from the OIC, which groups Muslim countries, said in a statement that “genuine, comprehensive and systematic measures” were needed to tackle the “affliction” of Islamophobia.
“[The OIC] calls on the U.N. and other international and regional organizations to adopt March 15, the day this horrendous act of terrorism was perpetrated, as the International Day of Solidarity against Islamophobia,” read a joint communiqué released following the emergency meeting of the OIC.
The OIC demanded the U.N. secretary-general to accelerate his efforts against anti-Muslim trends in the world as it called the secretary “to convene a special session of the U.N. General Assembly to declare Islamophobia as a form of racism and to assign a special rapporteur for monitoring and combatting Islamophobia.”
The communiqué also urged the U.N. secretary-general to ensure measures are taken on social media platforms. “OIC requests the secretary-general to engage managements of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in order for them to take institutional and technical measures to filter and ban any content that incites violence and hatred against Muslims,” it said.