Caribbean Muslims – April 29, 2018
Caribbean Muslim Report on Minorities Summit
By Alim Ali
The “World Muslim Minorities Summit” organized by the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey was held in Istanbul from 16th to 19th April with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for Muslim unity and brotherhood during the World Muslim Minorities Summit that began in Istanbul on Monday.
Speaking at the first-ever Muslim minorities’ summit in Turkey, Erdogan said: “Differences should not be an obstacle to love and brotherhood.”
He said just like the direction of the Qibla — the direction that a Muslim takes when praying — is same, the hearts of all Muslims are also same despite them being in different locations around the world. Erdogan said attacks on Muslim minorities had become commonplace in many countries.
“Today, attacks on Muslims and refugees have become commonplace in many states that practice democracy and law,” he said. He added that Muslim homes and workplaces, as well as places of worship, have been targeted by racist and fascist groups almost on a daily basis. The Turkish leader mentioned the fact that several anti-Muslim attacks have been reported in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. “Muslim women are being harassed on streets, at workplace just because they wear headscarves.
“The western world wants to defend its own ideology and way of life through anti-Islamism.
“Islam, which is the only religion that can respond to the depression of modern people, is being given labels through pre-planned terrorists,” Erdogan said. He added that terror groups like Daesh, Boko Haram, Al Shabab and FETO were harming Musli-ms as well as giving an opportunity to anti-Muslim circles. The countries that press Muslim states on minority rights do not see ethnic cleansing of Muslim minorities in many African and Asian countries, according to Erdogan.
“We should not allow these hypocrisies to keep us from our path and our righteous struggle,” he said.
“Muslims have no problem in living together in peace with other religions and never have [had any such pr-oblems] throughout history,” he added.
He urged Muslims to continue their struggle against “double standards”.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım greeted the participants and expressed his willingness to cooperate with the participants in identifying the basic problems, proposing solutions to them, and finding opportunities for cooperation, Prime Minister Yıldırım said, “We will further our acquaintance with each other, and have the opportunity to renew our neglected fraternal ties. We will have the chance to establish cooperation and improve existing activities for cooperation. I would like to thank all of you for your contribution at the Summit and hope that this event will be instrumental for goodness for all our Muslim brothers and sisters and the family of humanity.”
Prime Minister Yıldırım stated that the minority problem was a global issue and that Muslims were very closely and directly concerned, and said, “Today, about one-third of the world’s Muslim population is treated as a minority in the countries they live in. The worst problem Muslim minorities are facing is the rise of anti-Islamism in the West, or Islamophobia and anti-minority issues. Islamophobia is a human rights problem rather than a religion-caused problem. The baseless fear towards Muslims, enmity and hate rhetoric is one of the contemporary reflections of Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia. With this definition, Islamophobia should be regarded and assessed as a particular kind of racism, which includes many historical, sociological, and political causes just like antisemitism. As a particular kind of discrimination, Islamophobia is on the focus related to many issues among others, such as freedom of religion, right to work, right to education, and freedom of speech. The hate rhetoric driven by enmity against Islam and social exclusion threaten societal harmony, multiculturalism, and coexistence. Human rights and democratic values are being crumpled every day because of Islamophobia. That being the case, dimensions of rising extremism in Europe and anti-Islamism will reach even graver levels if necessary steps are not taken.
Delegates at the “World Muslim Minorities Summit”
World Muslim Minorities summit had 211 participants from 103 countries. Several Caribbean Muslim Communities were represented at the Summit, including those of Grenada, Barbados along with those from Latin America.
President of Religious Affairs Erbaş noted that “The ‘World Muslim Minorities Summit’ is the most vivid sign that Islam meets with humanity regardless of time, place, race, color, language, status and gender, and will continue to do so until the last day”. President Erbaş said that the summit was being held in order to have discussions with religious leaders of the Muslim presence in different parts of the world and to improve cooperation.
Also stating that the Presidency aimed to plan religious services in accordance with today’s circumstances and requirements and to be carried out with authentic religious knowledge, President Erbaş said, “This consultation meeting is an important gathering for us to eliminate deficiencies in religious education, religious services and religious publications, and we will develop our horizons together, we will define strategies for cooperation, and we will show the will to carry out these activities.”
Pointing out that the universality of Islam was also manifested in geographical terms, President Erbaş said, “From Asr al-Saadah to this day, Muslims have reached every corner of the earth. Islam’s realm of mercy and its principles that bring peace and well-being to humanity are being experienced and represented by your valuable efforts in all the countries of the world.”
Pointing out that the Presidency of Religious Affairs hosted the Eurasian Islamic Councils, the First and Second African Muslim Religious Leaders Summits, and the Latin America and the Caribbean Islands Muslim Religious Leaders Summit, Presidents Erbaş stated, “We have witnessed that each meeting we organize as part of the ethics and law of brotherhood contributes to sharing our experiences and contributes to the creation of joint solutions for our problems.”……
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