Populism is fueling Islamophobia across the world, especially in Europe, Turkiye’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking in Istanbul at an international conference on human rights violations against Muslims, Mevlut Cavusoglu said current prevailing political rhetoric in parts of Europe was serving to legitimize rising Islamophobia in these countries.
Merely opening new mosques and maintaining existing ones posed significant challenges, Cavusoglu said in a video message to the conference, co-hosted by the Turkish justice and foreign ministries, as well as the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
In the Western understanding, Cavusoglu said, competition and conflict are the main dynamics behind societal development, whereas Islamic civilization encourages harmony, respect, and solidarity.
Noting that the OIC marked March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia following the 2019 terrorist attacks that targeted a two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, Cavusoglu called on Muslim nations to work toward a similar decision at the UN General Assembly.
He also highlighted the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and deprivation of members of Greece’s Turkish minority from their most basic human rights, remarking that Muslim countries should seek solutions to these major problems.
Turkiye will also continue to keep the challenges facing Palestinians on the world agenda, he added.
In a separate video message, Turkish parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop asserted that Islamophobia has been embraced as a state policy by some countries, becoming one of the widespread forms of racism.
Obvious examples of Islamophobia can be observed in almost every sphere of daily life, including public spaces, the media, academia, and international organizations, said Sentop.
Referring to the state of the Turkish minority in Greece, Sentop said its members have faced serious problems and systematic human rights violations, calling on OIC members to respond in a robust way against Athens.
* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk
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