Muslim, Jewish, Christian leaders raise one voice

Muslim, Jewish, Christian leaders raise one voice

Muslim, Jewish, Christian leaders raise one voice

AA photo

Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders and representatives have underlined religion’s role in the fight against terrorism and the refugee crisis, which have affected many states across the globe.

“The humanitarian crisis we face should be a priority not only for the European Union and Turkey but also for the international community,” said Fener Rum Patriarch Dimitri Bartholomeos on April 7, during the “Forced Migration: Refugee Issue and Terrorism” session of the 19th Eurasian Economic Summit.

“We must fight against illegal immigration,” he said, adding that the fight must also include criminal networks as they make fortunes out of the misfortunes of vulnerable people.

“Our perspective on migration should not be limited to EU’s border but should be open to the full spectrum of action,” he said.

As terrorism and war are a constant reality affecting “everybody’s hearts,” the Patriarch said terror used religion and religious beliefs to inspire bloodshed and fear.

“Fanatics and terrorists despise wisdom. They may claim to believe in God. They do not know wisdom and they do not live a virtuous life,” he said.

Chief Rabbi in Turkey İshak Haleva said terrorism and forced migration is then common problem of humanity. 

“If a rooted problem cannot be found to address the problem, I am afraid these people will remain as refugees for years , maybe even for centuries in the countries they went to and what is worse, they will feel themselves as refugees,” he said on the migrant crisis.

“Embracing refugees, feeding and hearing them is a responsibility of humanity,” he said. 

“As long as religions do not really unite, as long as clerics preach only in mosques, churches and synagogues, terrorism cannot be defeated,” said Yusuf Sağ, the deputy patriarch of the Turkish Syriac Catholic Church in Istanbul on April 7, during a session on forced migration and terrorism at the 19th Eurasia Economic Summit.

Stating there were clerics and preachers who declare fatwas in order to kill people, Sağ said believers and non-believers were all siblings.

“It does not matter how much you try to marginalize, everyone comes from one mother and one father,” he said. “Believers and non-believers are siblings.”

Asking why people promoting terrorism were acting as the attorneys of God, Sağ said religions needed to make peace.

Muhamed Jusufspahic, the mufti of Serbia, said there were actually no Syrian refugees but “ousters.”

“There are no Syrian refugees, they are not seeking refuge in other countries; they have their countries. They are ousters,” Jusufspahic said April 7 at the summit.

Calling the situation not only ethnic cleansing but also a religious cleansing, Jusufspahic said this was “made by those printing money, printing papers as money” which had no value.

Yusuf Çetin, the patriarchal vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Istanbul and Ankara, said one of the most effected people of the current conflicts in the Middle East was the Syriac community.

Syriacs who have lived for centuries in Mesopotamia had to flee the two places where they had lived the most comfortably, Syria and Iraq, due to the ongoing civil war in Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claiming swathes of land from both countries to form a so-called caliphate, Çetin said.

Stating they had formed an aid committee for the refugees in Istanbul, Çetin said they provided shelter in a building that they owned and food to Syriacs fleeing war-torn countries.

Çetin said terror did not know any difference between religion and nation. 

“We Syriacs have been born in these lands and we continue our presence here. We know that wherever we go we will be assimilated within three to five generations,” said Çetin. “We want an urgent end to the wars,” he said, adding that they wished for everyone to be living happily in their own homes, in reference to finding a solution to the migration crisis. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan opposes approaches that do not promote peace to the conflicts in the region, specifically the Nagorno- Karabakh area, said Allahşükür Paşazade, the Shaykh al-Islam of Caucasia and Azerbaijan yesterday. 

“We oppose wanting to continue without a peaceful approach,” he said while speaking at the 19th Eurasia Economic Summit in Istanbul. Paşazade said he believed in peace in the region. “However, our land is occupied,” he said, in reference to the recent clashes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenian-backed separatists in the region and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the mountainous territory with a population of mostly ethnic Armenians in the early 1990s, during which thousands were killed on both sides, and hundreds of thousands were displaced. A cease-fire was announced on April 5 by both parties but Azerbaijan reported more than 100 violations since it went into effect. “Armenia violated the truce and they hinder the peaceful solution to the problem,” Paşazade said.