Turkish President Erdogan says those who encourage insults towards Prophet Muhammad and those who ignore attacks on mosques are trying to hide their fascism.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments in Western countries, saying insulting people's beliefs has nothing to do with freedom of thought.
"You have been closely following the meanness in France towards the Prophet [Muhammad] under the label of 'freedom of thought'," Erdogan told the 23rd annual convention of the Muslim American Society on Saturday.
"Insulting people's holy figures is far removed from freedom. Because the thought is different, the insult is different."
In a speech earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron described Islam as being "in crisis" and defended the rights of notorious Charlie Hebdo magazine after it re-published caricatures insulting Prophet Muhammad, offending Muslims around the world.
Several Arab countries as well as Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan have criticised Macron's attitude toward Muslims and Islam.
Islamophobia spreading faster than Covid-19
Stressing that ideological fanaticism has gained more ground, President Erdogan said those who encourage insults towards the Prophet and those who ignore attacks on mosques are trying to hide their fascism.
He said the Western countries use freedom of thought and press while attacking sacred values, adding they cannot tolerate even the slightest criticism of themselves.
Describing Islamophobia as a disease that spreads faster than the novel coronavirus, Erdogan said: "Cultural racism, discrimination, and intolerance have reached levels that cannot be concealed in countries that for many years have been hailed as cradles of democracy."
Erdogan said that Islamophobia and xenophobia have turned into a trend that guides state policies and makes daily life difficult.
The marginalisation of Muslims due to their beliefs, language, names, or dress-code has become normal in many countries, the Turkish president said.
Turkey, an example to follow
Turkey, which strives to prevent ethnic and sect-based conflicts, does not hesitate to respond if anyone targets their sacred values, he said.
"We are trying to follow a balanced, fair, and self-confident policy that will set an example for all humanity, especially regarding religious freedoms. We do not interfere with anybody's beliefs or lifestyle, and we guarantee the freedom of worship of all our citizens living in the country."
The Turkish president said he is gladly following the close brotherly relationship they have developed with other Muslim groups, speaking on the Turkish community living in America,
He said the annual meeting of the Muslim American Society will give hope and strength to Islamic society.