Turkish president says there is no ‘moderate Islam’

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Turkey President Recep Erdogan believes that the idea of a “moderate Islam” is a Western invention, meant to weaken the ancient religion.

“The term ‘moderate Islam’ is being lathered up again,” Erdogan said in a speech delivered at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Women’s Advisory Council on Friday. “The patent of moderate Islam belongs to the West. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam; Islam is one. The aim of using such terms is to weaken Islam.”

Erdogan’s comments came in response to new reforms in Saudi Arabia, considered to be the “home” of Islam. Last month, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, said he aims to restore “moderate” Islam to his country. Prince bin Salman hopes to socially transform the Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam, changing bans on gender mixing. The country recently changed a law preventing women from driving, and next year, women will also be allowed to attend sporting events.

“Perhaps the person voicing this concept thinks it belongs to him,” Erdogan said, in what may be a direct reference to bin Salman. Erdogan’s monarchy currently follows a Salafist or Wahhabi version of Islam, considered to be “ultraconservative” and administered through Islamic Sharia law, according to RT.

Erdogan said Islam does not belong to the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince. He also balked at a “moderate” interpretation of the religion, saying he was “asked about ‘moderate Islam’ at meetings in the European Parliament many years ago.”

“They say we will return to moderate Islam,” Erdogan said on Friday. “Is there such a thing in Islam?”

Edogan leveled criticism at the EU, disconcerted about the approval of a series of “burka bans.” France was the first European country to impose a ban on full-face coverings, and Belgium passed a similar law. Germany approved a partial ban on full-face veils, and Austria’s parliament endorsed measures to outlaw wearing full-face veils in public.

“Headscarves are gradually being banned in EU states with the public – personal space trick, attempting to bar Muslim women from entering social life. Attempts to incarcerate Muslim women in their homes is spreading like a virus,” Erdogan said. “Those who are teaching us lessons on human rights are unfortunately applauding as the most basic human rights are being trampled in their countries.”

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