Turkish President Gul: Terror in Islam’s name fuels Islamophobia
Islam might be the religion of 'love, tolerance and conciliation,' but terrorism in the name of the faith gives ammunition to Islamophobes, President Abdullah Gul says, calling on the Muslim world to rectify the situation, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has blamed terrorism in the name of Islam for soiling the faith's image in the world and resulting in the growth of Islamophobia, while calling on Muslim countries to intensify their efforts to fight against prejudices against the religion.
"Terror and violence engaged by dark-souled people plays a great role in the continuity of this problem, as much as intentional smear campaigns do," Gul said during his inaugural address yesterday at the Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (COMCEC) 29th session in Istanbul.
Islamophobia still remains a critical problem that instigates "baseless prejudices against Islam and Muslims," Gul said, adding that all Islamic countries should etch the idea that "terror has no place in Islam" in everybody's minds.
"We have to combat any form of deviant play from those who equate terrorism with Islam, the religion of love, tolerance and conciliation," he said during the meeting.
Poor education levels, a spiritual void, poverty and income inequality are what feed violent, militant movements, and governments should act to rectify these issues with determination, the president said.
Addressing representatives from Muslim nations during the main multilateral economic and commercial cooperation platform of the Islamic world, Gul referred to a study that concluded 21 of 57 member countries were ranked among the least developed countries.
Dealing only with their own problems will not be sufficient for Muslim-majority countries to improve their images, he said, suggesting that enhancing their involvement in global-scales problems was key.
"Playing a more active role in the solution of global problems such as climate change, poverty, the fight against organized crime, immigration, radicalism, narcotics and human trafficking will certainly introduce new economic and commercial opportunities for Muslim countries," Gul said.
The Turkish president further said conducting business in the best and proper manner would also contribute to the elimination of negative perceptions associated with Muslims.
Touching upon the political and economic turmoil in Syria as well, Gul said it was mainly the duty of Muslim countries' to find a solution to the bleeding problem in Syria as its consequences could affect all.
"The civil war in the neighboring country of Syria has turned into the self-destruction of a nation. It is primarily our duty to put out the fire, whether it occurs at our home or at a neighbors'. Otherwise, the cost will be great for all of us," he said. "That is why I invite all member countries to boost their efforts in devising 'our own solution to our own problems.'"
This climate also adds to the importance of COMCEC to engage in conflict resolution, as "it is the best platform to create additional instruments to overcome social and economic difficulties," according to Gul.