Saudi Arabia’s ‘moderate Islam’ term also used by Gülenists: Turkish MP

Saudi Arabia’s ‘moderate Islam’ term also used by Gülenists: Turkish MP

Saudi Arabia’s ‘moderate Islam’ term also used by Gülenists: Turkish MP

A Turkish lawmaker has slammed the use of the term “moderate Islam” by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his recent pledge to restore “moderate, open” Islam, claiming that the term is also used by the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Ravza Kavakçı Kan from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said she doesn’t accept the term “moderate Islam” for several reasons, including the fact that the phrase is used by Gülen and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. 

“If what Saudi Arabia means is becoming a more democratic country that relies more on rights and freedoms, then this is good news for the region, for our ally and for women’s rights. However, I don’t accept the term ‘moderate Islam,’ because Islam doesn’t need to be moderate. I don’t think such a starting point is appropriate,” Kan told daily Habertürk on Oct. 27, adding that Muslims don’t accept the term “moderate Islam.”

“A similar terminology is being used by the terrorist leader Fethullah Gülen and FETÖ. I don’t think it is appropriate to use the same phrase. Thus, we need to look at what they meant. ‘Moderate Islam’ is a term rejected by Muslims and is a phrase that was invented in political science,” she said.

Prince Mohammed’s pledge on Oct. 24 was met with surprise all over the world for breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favor of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.

“We want to live a normal life. A life in which our religion translates to tolerance, to our traditions of kindness,” he told international investors gathered at an economic forum in Riyadh.

“We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today and at once. We are returning to what we were before - a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions, traditions and people around the globe,” he said.

Another Turkish political party to comment on the crown prince’s remarks was the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), with its deputy leader Öztürk Yılmaz saying that the prince is in search to create sympathy.

“We can perceive the crown prince’s statement as a search to create sympathy regarding his own future. Adopting a moderate understanding of Islam means ending a part of the oppressive practices, but we know that the leadership there survives with these practices,” Yılmaz told Habertürk, adding that Saudi Arabia is looking for a way to get over its image problem.