Over the past years, Islamophobia has reached such alarming levels across the EU and not only Muslims but all Europeans must be concerned about the situation. In a period during which far-right movements, neo-Nazis and racists are coming into prominence in Europe, developing international cooperation and increasing their vote shares in the national elections, all democrats must adopt a stance against this trajectory. But what we are witnessing is quite the opposite.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and First Lady Emine Erdoğan wave to supporters prior to his speech revealing his ruling party's manifesto ahead of snap elections, in Istanbul, May 6.
What has happened in France is evident. A total of 300 French writers and politicians, including the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, demanded abrogating some verses of the Quran by arguing that they incite violence and anti-Semitism. The manifesto signed by the 300 intellectuals was published in the Le Parisien newspaper.
Regarding this manifesto as a call to change the contents of Quran, Muslims in France and Europe rightfully reacted against it. I would like to ask, "How would the French Catholics respond if a group of Muslim intellectuals living in Europe demanded a change in some verses of the Bible on the grounds that they led to the Crusades that targeted Muslims throughout history and incited racist acts of violence against Muslims?" The Christian world would rightfully object to such a demand made by a group of non-Christian people.
Is it different when Muslims are in question? Although these people have not prob- ably read Quran and do not have any knowledge about the true nature of Islam, they are demanding the deletion of some verses. I wonder if they have really read the verses. Had they really read the Quran, they would have seen that there is no reason to sign such an absurd manifesto that only serves racism.
This manifesto must be motivated to resuscitate the Crusade mentality across Eu- rope, which is a very dangerous development and the last thing needed in Europe today.
Above all, it must be noted that there is not a single verse that calls violence or anti-Semitism in the Quran. Contrarily, the peaceful coexistence of humanity is encouraged in the holy book. Of course, there are people inclined to violent extremism in society, who are Christians, Muslims, Jews or Atheists that are breaching humanitarian values. All people, regardless of their religion, are required to take a stance against such violence prone groups.
In reply to the anti-Semitism claims, I would like to remind people of a few incidents from history: During an era in which anti-Semitism reached alarming levels in Spain and the rest of Europe, this hostility was provoked by the Catholic religious functionaries under the command of the Vatican. The Jewish people who could survive and flee took shelter in the Muslim Ottoman Empire and have been living in Anatolia since then.
Likewise, while Hitler's fascism was massacring the Jews across Europe and France was sending the Jews to concentration camps, the ones who escaped from Hitler took shelter in Muslim Turkey and adopted the country as their homeland. Today, most of them still live in Turkey. The 300 French Catholics talking against Islam must first explain the French Jews who were loaded onto train cars in France. They must explain why they remained indifferent to violence and inhumane acts at the time. We are not calling the Bible responsible for such acts.
In recent years, attacking Islam and Muslims has become a trend. Some people, who consider themselves to be intellectuals, claim that they can prevent the rise of racism in their countries by supporting Islamophobic movements. However, what they do only favors and consolidates racists and their Crusader mindset.
The Islamophobia in the manifesto must have pleased racists, neo-Nazis and some Muslim terror groups who exploit Islam since Islamophobia is serving the interests of violence-prone Christian and Muslim terrorists. Thanks to this, they can address and deceive more people who are uninformed about the religions. In fact, it is not possible to understand how a sane French- man could sign such a manifesto. This is a golden opportunity for those wishing to incite hostility between religions in Europe.
Not only Muslims, but people of all religions who side with societal peace in Europe must take a stance against this manifesto. This is required for Europe and democracy.