Turkey’s Friday sermon glorifies “armed jihad”

A sermon sent to Turkey’s 90,000 mosques for Friday prayers by Turkish state religious authorities took as its theme the importance of jihad.

“Engaging in armed struggle for belief, existence, nation, survival and freedom is the highest level of jihad,” the sermon said.

“The struggle we gave only yesterday in the east, west, north and south to protect this glorious nation is the most lively witness to jihad. Gallipoli, where we triumphed with Allah’s help, is the name of an existential epic, belief, bravery and determination,” said the sermon, sent to be read out at each of Turkey’s mosques by the state Directorate of Religious Affairs.

Jihad began with the self, and winning this inner struggle would allow for victory in external struggles as well, it said.

“Jihad is learning Allah’s religion from the best sources and living it in the best possible way,” it said. “And if the believer can succeed in the jihad with their own flesh, then they can have victory in the jihad against the enemies of Islam.”

However, this external jihad should not be used as an excuse to kill innocents, the sermon said.

“Jihad is carried out in order to extinguish all forms of evil that have distorted mankind away from the reason for its creation,” it said. “Whoever it is carried out against and for whatever reason, attacks on innocent people can never be squared with the noble spirit and ideals of jihad in Islam.”