Islam rejects terrorism, head of Turkish Religious Affairs tells American Muslims
WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency
American Muslims should not apologize for terrorists who claim affiliation with Islam, Turkey’s head of Religious Affairs, Mehmet Görmez said March 1 at a sermon in the newly built Diyanet Center of America in Maryland, some 21 kilometers from Washington D.C.
“My message to you is that you should continue to hold your head high, with honor and dignity, and don’t be defensive or apologetic for the horrible acts that have been committed overseas by criminals who claim affiliation with your faith,” Görmez told thousands of Muslims gathered at the mosque for Friday prayers.
Görmez was apparently sending a message to the anti-Muslim rhetoric orchestrated by some Republican presidential candidates in the wake of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacks in Paris and Brussels.
“We all know that all the crimes that are committed against humanity can never find any justification in Islam, nor can they find any basis in the Holy Quran, or the Sunnah of the prophet of mercy,” he added.
The top religious official also recommended Muslims not “deviate from the middle path of Islam,” which requires peace and understanding toward other will and beliefs.
He said that distorted ideologies propagated by terrorists has no place in the hearts and minds of pious Muslims.
“The region of this world that is the birthplace of the Abrahamic religions is now suffering from a severe hardship. The ideologies and the theologies that have ravaged the heart of that sacred land have no place in Islam and should be rejected by every Muslim,” he said.
The new complex features classic Ottoman architecture built on a 60,000 square-meter area. It includes traditional Turkish baths for men and women, swimming pools, a multi-purpose hall and an indoor sports complex.
The mosque at the center of the complex has two minarets, built on 879 square meters.
During the sermon, Görmez said the center is going to serve as a bridge between communities in the U.S.
“This place that we are in right now is not just a masjid or a community center, but is also a sanctuary of comfort and growth for all human beings, Muslims or non-muslims in America,” he said.