ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that anti-Muslim sentiments are continuing to spread like a plague in Western countries.
Anti-Muslim hatred “is poisoning all segments of society, from people on the street to politicians, workers, and civil servants,” he said in a video message at the 2nd International Media and Islamophobia Forum in Ankara on Tuesday.
“The atmosphere of hatred promoted by irresponsible media negatively affects Muslims as well as millions of people with different languages, religions, origins, and cultures,” he added.
“The embarrassing debates in the context of the Ukraine crisis reveal the dangerous dimensions of Islamophobia and cultural racism.”
Erdogan denounced discrimination against all vulnerable people around the world, stressing that anti-Muslim sentiment is not only an issue for Muslims, but it should also be for all people around the world.
“Otherwise, we cannot prevent Islamophobic attacks like (the ones in) New Zealand in 2019 and Canada in 2021,” he warned.
The president emphasised that along with Western politicians, media outlets, and state institutions, the biggest responsibility falls on the Islamic world and its institutions.
“Muslims must react strongly, seek their rights on legitimate grounds, and fight against this injustice, unlawfulness, and discrimination, which targets hundreds of millions of people along with them,” he said.
“At this very point, Islamophobia is not a problem only for the Western communities and societies. As part of racism, Islamophobia is already a global problem,” Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said in his address at the forum.
“We see that Islamophobic events are also disseminating on the social life and we see that in certain countries. The women are prohibited from reaching out to education due to their clothes and headscarves,” Altun said.
People who are subjected to hate attacks are in need of greater safety and security, he urged.
“Islamophobia is not a problem that Turkey can fight on its own. We are in need of an international and multi-dimensional struggle against Islamophobia,” he added.
“This struggle should definitely start from Europe and disseminate to the whole world. As Islamophobia is becoming institutionalized in Europe, the fight against Islamophobia should be institutionalized in Europe as well,” he stressed.