Turkey, Pakistan Islamophobia claims amount to hypocrisy

Turkey and Pakistan’s complaints about Islamophobia are hypocritical since they often repress or silence non-Muslim communities, Kunwar Khuldune Shahid wrote in the Spectator USA on Wednesday.

As well as envisioning himself as the leader of the Muslim world, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also been waging a war on Islamophobia, as has Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The two leaders even launched an ‘anti-Islamophobia’ channel last year.

“But while both Erdoğan and Khan are quick to lecture the West on the plight of Muslim minorities, the voices of non-Muslim communities are often drowned out in both Turkey and Pakistan,” Shahid said. 

While Erdoğan last week ordered the re-conversion of the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque, Khan recently asked Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology to decide whether or not Islam tolerates the construction of non-Muslim places of worship.

“Khan’s actions are reminiscent of Erdoğan’s own anti-Christian power grab. For years, Turkish authorities have continued to seize churches and convert them into mosques,” Shahid said.

Turkey continues to deny the Armenian genocide, while Khan leads a Pakistan that has never acknowledged its genocide against Bengalis. Pakistan has historically viewed its Hindu population as Indian sympathisers, much of Turkey’s hostility to Christians is rooted in its antagonism with Greece and Cyprus, he said.

“As they call out ‘Islamophobia’, their unflinching quest to ‘set the record straight’ on Islam also unites Erdoğan and Khan,” Shahid said. “And Turkey and Pakistan’s religious minorities are losing out as a result.”