President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late Thursday that Muslims have to fight against sectarianism and protect their children and the youth against terrorism and extremist ideologies, asserting that Islam harshly rejects terrorism of any kind.
Speaking at the formal closing sitting in the 2nd Turkish Arab Congress on Higher Education held in Istanbul, Erdoğan said: "We don't have a religion named 'Shi'ism' or 'Sunnism.' We have a religion named 'Islam' which means 'peace.' We have to fight against perverted ideologies and sectarianism which is used to shadow our brotherhood as Muslims."
In his speech, Erdoğan also pointed to the threat of extremism the Muslim youth faces. "Our youth is exposed to the threat of extremism. Those terrorist organizations; Daesh, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and other militant groups commit crimes against humanity in the name of Islam. We have to protect our Muslim youth, we have to tell them Islam is nowhere near those extremist ideologies," he stated.
Criticizing racism and racist ideologies, the president also made a reference to the Farewell Sermon of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). "An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab. Superiority is only by taqwa," he said.
The Farewell Sermon, also known as The Final Sermon or The Last Sermon, was delivered by Prophet Muhammad on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH (6 March 632) in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, during the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj. In the part of the Farewell Sermon to which Erdoğan made a reference, the Prophet Muhammad said: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also whites have no superiority over blacks nor do blacks have any superiority over whites, except by piety (taqwa) and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that Muslims constitute one brotherhood."
The Second Turkish Arab Congress on Higher Education is organized in partnership of Istanbul Medeniyet University with the Association of Arab Universities with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Numan Kurtulmuş. The congress brings together academicians and executives of Turkish and Arab universities in order to promote a sustainable process of dialogue, mutual understanding, exchange of knowledge and increased cooperation between Turkey and the Arab world.