Turkish Urges Tolerance Toward MuslimsWell, Erdogan has a sort of warped logic. The problem of rioting Muslims does not have its roots in marginalisation of Muslims, the opposite is true. The fact that Muslim grievances were given special attention over those of all other groups was exactly what triggered the riots off in the first place.
Wednesday June 28, 2006 8:16 PM
By JAN SLIVA Associated Press Writer
STRASBOURG, France (AP) - Turkey's prime minister urged the West on Wednesday to make a concerted effort to lessen tensions with Muslim societies, saying more tolerance is needed to mend a deepening rift with the Islamic world.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last year's angry protests over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad reveal a need to discuss limits to free expression in some cases to keep extremists from exploiting growing polarization.
``Islamophobia and xenophobia are gaining ground in the West. In the Muslim world, on the other hand, there is a widening perception that it is besieged and its values are under attack. The combination of these trends threaten to turn the West and the Islamic world into adversaries,'' Erdogan said in a speech to the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights body.
``The way we see anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity, we need to see Islamophobia as a crime against humanity,'' he told the council's parliamentary assembly, made up of lawmakers from various European countries.
``All freedoms have a limit. You cannot have unlimited freedoms,'' Erdogan said. ``We argue freedom of expression can be restricted, and this has to be defined.''
He warned of a possible rise in terrorism if the West ignores cultural differences and does not respect Islamic values.
``Terrorism perpetrated in the name of religion will lead the world to a global crisis,'' he warned.
Turkey, a mostly Muslim country and U.S. ally that feels increasingly frustrated in its bid for European Union membership, is under pressure from the EU to enhance freedom of expression, religious freedoms and cultural rights for its Kurdish minority.
But Erdogan argued that freedom of expression can be curbed in order to prevent individuals from inciting terrorism and hatred for other cultures.
``There has never been unlimited freedom of expression in history,'' he said.
The Turkish leader said that while the size of Europe's Muslim population is increasing, Muslim communities are being marginalized, which causes problems in cities such as London and Paris.
He said integrating those communities requires efforts from both sides. European countries, he said, ``need to show more affection to the people living in ghettos and integrate them into the society.''
Long ago, when it started to become an issue, I tended to lean towards a Turkish membership in the EU, mainly because Turkey seemed to be a bullwark against Islam. But the way the country has taken in the meantime and which is mirrored by the Turks in Germany, is frightening. It shows how quickly a "moderate Muslim" person or society can turn into the, well, standard version.
The content of what Erdogan said is neither new nor original (better integration of Muslims by not bothering them with Western values my ass!), the fact that he dares to speak out publicly for a Islamisation of Europe is -- as is the fact that a major European medium like the Al Guardian prints it uncommented.
"The combination of these trends threaten to turn the West and the Islamic world into adversaries." They are already, Mr. Erdogan, always have been, and it's not the West's fault.
The good news are that the parlamentarian assembly of the European Council has strictly refused to curb the freedom of the press for the sake of "the sensitivities of certain religious groups", andstated that "exaggeration is no provocation".
Hat tip: Politically Incorrect!