By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – Turkey as a Muslim state must be at the forefront of the global fight against every kind of discrimination, prejudice and racism, not only for the sake of Muslims, but for all mankind, the founder and CEO of a prominent U.K.-based research and advisory group said Wednesday.
Speaking at an event where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met representatives of the Turkish and Muslim communities in the U.K., Anas Altikriti said “the plight of many Muslim societies, communities and minorities living under a state of oppression, discrimination, occupation and subjugation around the world is unacceptable.”
Altikriti said many campaigns in the U.K. work to lift those conditions, and Turkey is notable for its support for many of those cases and its efforts in standing by the Palestinians, Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis, Rohingya, Kashmiris, Uyghurs, and countless others are recognized and deeply appreciated beyond the nations of Muslims.
“However, much more needs to be done, particularly in upholding the values of human rights, democracy, freedom and justice, and with Turkey’s ascendency on the global stage of economic, manufacturing and industrial success come the responsibilities which you are undoubtedly well aware of.”
A recent initiative by President Erdogan to advocate and promote true Islam around the world could not have come at a better time, Altikriti said.
He reminded those attending the event that Erdogan had recently announced a new initiative to advocate and promote true Islam around the world, “the Islam which the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world understand and exhibit every single day of their lives.”
Altikriti praised the timing of the initiative, pointing out the proximity of the event’s venue to the location of a recent terrorist attack in London.
“We are gathered here right now only a few steps away from London Bridge, where a terrorist attack took place only a few days ago, and from which we as a Muslim community and a British society are challenged to emerge stronger, more resilient and more appreciative of the values that govern both our faith as well as our human collective.
“If anything, the messages sent by the families of the two victims as well as the family of the culprit show that we are indeed on course to achieving that,” he said.
“Islamophobia is an issue which ravages and challenges our society today.
“Both on the rhetorical as well as on the physical levels, callous acts, incidents and crimes driven by the ignorance and hatred of Islam and Muslims are at record levels. While figures and heroes of the British Muslim community continue to fight the manifestations of this disease within our political and media structures, the rise and expansion of extremist rhetoric on both sides of the spectrum poses an existential danger to the safety, security and future prospects of all of society.”
Pointing out that Islamophobia is a disease that travels as fast as the fastest broadband internet and satellite connection and that it recognizes no borders, Altikriti also said that many Islamophobes in the U.K. find inspiration in extremists across the borders in Europe, North America and elsewhere and vice versa.
“This year’s massacre of 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is but one tragic example. Moreover, Islamophobia today finds footing within Muslim states and regimes and their exertions are often used as cover and justification for the racists and extremists around the world.”
Altikriti also said in his speech that British Muslims lead in campaigns, platforms, groups associations and organizations which collectively represent and indeed enact Islam in all facets of British life.
“They together present the pure form of Islam and exhibit the sublime humane values which our faith ordains in an attempt to make a better, more prosperous, more caring and more responsible Britain. Their contributions are recognized, and not a single corner of British life operates without the input of Muslims,” he said.
“You are an inspiration to many, and Turkey under your leadership has gained countless friends from around the world,” Altikriti told Erdogan.
“We pray for you and we pray for Turkey.”