Öcalan calls for Democratic Islam Congress

Öcalan calls for Democratic Islam Congress

Öcalan calls for Democratic Islam Congress

Abdullah Öcalan met and congratulated PKK militants many years ago in Syria. Hürriyet photo

The jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has issued a call for a “Democratic Islam Congress” to convene in Diyarbakır against “groups betraying Islam, in particular al-Qaeda and al-Nusra.”

The Peace and Democracy (BDP) lawmakers who visited Abdullah Öcalan on Oct. 14 on İmralı Island prison conveyed an Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice message from the PKK leader.

“Our people, both Alevi and Sunni, should conduct in-depth debates in this congress and it should conclude meaningful decisions and institutionalizations,” Öcalan said in his message. 

The Prophet Muhammad’s shura (council) - exercises that were a kind of collective decision making process in which the Prophet consulted with his companions before making important decisions - should be a model for a Democratic Islam Congress, he suggested. He also added that the efforts should be conducted in accordance with the spirit of Sheikh Said, a Kurdish religious leader who led a religious rebellion and was executed in 1925.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is known as the PKK’s wing in Syria, is fighting in northern Syrian towns with al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist groups, in particular with al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Recently, daily Radikal reported that al-Qaeda affiliated groups were luring youths from Turkey’s southeastern region to fight for jihad in Syria.