President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lashed out at terrorist groups like DAESH and al-Qaida for "damaging [the image of] both Islam and Muslims."
Speaking late Thursday at a ceremony to mark the 742nd year since the death of the Islamic scholar and Sufi saint Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi in Konya, Erdoğan described groups like Boko Haram and Somalia's al-Shabaab as "enemies of Islam."
"Throughout history, only a small number of its [Islam's] enemies managed to damage Islam as much as organizations like DAESH, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al-Qaida have," he said.
Erdoğan said that a project of "disciplining Muslims by murderers disguised as Muslims" had been underway in all corners of the Islamic world.
"These terrorist organizations might be using symbols belonging to Islam but it does not change the fact that they are the biggest enemies of Islam," he added.
The president maintained that all humanity now needs Rumi's "scales of conscience," by which Rumi compared the difference between justice and oppression to that of watering a tree and watering a thorn bush.
Referring to the Syrian civil war, Erdoğan said: "Those who give consent to the atrocity right at our elbow, where 400,000 innocents were killed and 12 million people are displaced, are the very ones that water the thorns."
Also addressing the commemoration ceremony for Rumi, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the world had "witnessed barbaric atrocities along with people being oppressed by authoritarian regimes."
The premier said terrorist organizations like DAESH cannot be correlated with Islam and were terrorizing Muslims and other peoples.
"Today, we need Mevlana's call and philosophy of love more than ever while the world of Islam is in great pain with the greatest cities of the Islamic civilization being set on fire, just like back in Mevlana's era," he said.
Davutoğlu said the government would work day and night with Rumi's philosophy to "sow the seeds of love," both at home, in the Islamic world and globally. "We will respond with love to those who utter words of hatred. We will make a call for justice to the oppressors," he added.
Rumi was a prominent 13th century scholar and poet. His Mathnawi, an extensive series of poems about being in true love with Allah, is one of Anatolian culture's most important works.
Commemorations, also known as "Şeb-i Arus" or "reunion with the beloved," marking Rumi's death, take place annually from Dec. 7-17 in the central Anatolian province of Konya.
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