Diyanet president criticizes West over attitudes to Islam

Western nations should do more to protect the right of Muslims said Dr. Ali Erbaş, president of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, in an interview published on Sunday in Daily Sabah newspaper.

Referring to the U.S. decision to relocate its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Erbaş said, “The international community and organizations failed to adequately protest this action along with imposing sanctions and implementing preventive measures.”

“Indeed, this situation encourages Israel further and leads to the indiscriminate murder of the innocent, including children, elderly people and women,” he added.

Erbaş was also critical of a suggestion made by a group of French politicians and intellectuals that certain verses of the Quran, which allegedly promote violence, be removed, calling it, “an affront to the truth, history and the Holy Quran,” and of perceived double standards relating to acts of violence.

“Whenever an act of violence is committed with a Muslim identity and appearance, most of which are questionable, all Muslims and Islam are accused of ‘Islamic terrorism’. Yet when a similar act is done by a non-Muslim, he or she is portrayed as a mentally disturbed person. These double standards should end… We always express that this is slanderous to the Holy Quran; the holy book doesn't have any verse that targets non-Muslims just because of their beliefs.”

Erbaş further suggested that Islamophobia is “a manufactured project and an industry,” adding, “There are certain circles which benefit from this artificial fear, so they try to keep it alive.” 

Erbaş also criticized the protection afforded to Muslim places of worship in Europe.

“I was in Germany last month,” he said, “and most of the Muslims there complained about attacks on mosques. They have told me that 39 mosques were torched within 3 months. This is horrible. I believe Western countries should protect houses of worship and shouldn't allow any attacks towards them as we do in the Muslim world. I haven't heard such an act from the Muslim world because we have to protect all houses of worship according to our belief.”

Explaining his opposition to discourse relating to “moderate Islam”, Erbaş said, “It's not possible to talk about either moderate Islam or radical Islam. This is why we oppose the moderate Islam discourses.”

“I'm not against interfaith dialogue,” he continued, “when members of various religions come together to resolve certain issues like hunger, war or disasters. However, a compromise regarding the theologies of religions isn't possible.”