Turkey’s top religious body likens ISIL activity to rampage by Crusaders

Turkey’s top religious body likens ISIL activity to rampage by Crusaders

Turkey’s top religious body likens ISIL activity to rampage by Crusaders

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Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) dedicated this week’s Friday sermon to “global terror” in the wake of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacks last week in Paris, stating that ISIL is “following the same path as the Crusaders.”

The sermon, “The Religion Which is Targeted by Global Terror,” was read out on Nov. 20 at around 80,000 mosques across Turkey and more than 2,000 mosques abroad that function under the directorate.

“As a matter of fact, it is not only innocent people that are killed in Ankara, Paris, Beirut, Baghdad and Nigeria, in sum in the four corners of the globe, but also Islam’s holy values, which were sent as a mercy to mankind,” said the sermon, while also referring to the Oct. 10 attack in the Turkish capital that killed at least 103 people and was blamed on ISIL.

“Today, murderous gangs in the guise of religion are exploiting rage that has accumulated from the past to today, pride that has been hurt, emotions that have been suppressed and dreams that have been destroyed. Today, they are using the same methods as the Mongols, whom we remember for their sad stories in history as they rampaged and totally devastated our civilization,” it said.

“They are marching on the same path as the Crusaders who aimed at the civilization of conscience and mercy,” it stated.

Underlining that the ISIL attacks had targeted all humanitarian values and Islam, the sermon voiced regret that the name of Islam had become associated with atrocities and massacres.

Those who mercilessly kill innocent people, women, elders and children in the name of religion are actually slaughtering all of humanity, it said.

In August, the Diyanet released a report on ISIL, defining the group as a terror organization for the first time. At the time, Diyanet head Mehmet Görmez said the research was aimed at informing the public about ISIL’s tactics, slogans, operations and interpretation of Islam.

The report said in detail how ISIL recruits new followers, adding that they use means of mobile communications effectively.

“We will [be] reborn in heaven” and “You will only die once, why don’t you choose martyrdom?” are some of the slogans the organization has used, influencing young people in particular.