Turkey Muslim Cleric Hate
Turkish imam joins ISIL in Syria, deputy PM confirms
Hurriyet Daily News
An imam who worked at a mosque in the Çanakkale province of
northwestern Turkey has joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL), daily Taraf cited Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç as saying
on Dec. 12, adding that the imam has been removed from his post.
“Unfortunately it is true that an imam from Çanakkale’s Bayramiç
district joined the ISIL. This person was suspended from his post on
June 25,” said Arınç, while responding to questions over the budget of
Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet). In Turkey, imams are
appointed to mosques by the Diyanet.
“I don’t know if there are similar examples in other provinces, but it
deeply hurt us that an imam could leave the country to join an army of
such murderers,” the deputy prime minister also said.
More than 100 of the 600 Turkish citizens that have gone to fight for
jihadist groups such as ISIL have perished in battle, according to
intelligence estimates, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Nov. 24.
Some 7,000 foreigners have been banned from entering Turkey and 1,100
people were deported on suspicions that they may join jihadist groups,
the minister said in reply to questions by lawmakers in Parliament
during budget discussions.
The foreign minister said it was unfair to expect Turkey, which has a
1,000-kilometer-long border with Syria and Iraq, to tackle alone the
problem of foreign fighters crossing through Turkish territory. He
asked Western countries to share more intelligence with Turkey on
suspected militants so that Turkish authorities can stop them from
entering the country.
Turkey has been subjected to criticism that it has turned a blind eye
to extremists using its territory to cross into Syria. Since 2013,
Ankara has stepped up its efforts to tackle the crossings of foreign
fighters through its territory, particularly at airports.
Foreign fighters from Western countries mainly come from Germany,
France, the Netherlands and Belgium to fight with al-Qaeda-linked
groups like the al-Nusra Front and ISIL.
European countries, for their part, argue that they cannot arrest
suspected fighters departing from their territory because they do not
have concrete evidence that these people are going to join the Syrian
civil war, and they cannot restrict their citizens’ freedom of movement.
Britain and Turkey are working “as closely as possible” to stop foreign
fighters, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Dec. 10.
“We are fighting a common enemy, extremist terrorism,” Cameron told a
joint news conference in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet
Britain has said it is facing the biggest terrorism threat in its
history, in part because of the fear that British jihadists returning
from Syria and Iraq could launch attacks on home
More than 500 Britons are believed to have crossed into Iraq and Syria
to fight with ISIL militants. Around half of those are thought to have
returned to Britain.
“The prime minister and I have agreed we should exchange even more
information, we should cooperate more in terms of intelligence,” he
“We should work hand in glove because the people who are travelling
whether from Britain or elsewhere... these are people that threaten us
back at home, so we should do everything we can,” he added.
Muslim cleric tells pope to apologize
September 15, 2006
From combined dispatches
ISTANBUL -- Turkey's top Islamic cleric asked Pope Benedict XVI yesterday to
take back recent remarks he made about Islam and unleashed a string of
counteraccusations against Christianity, raising tensions before the pontiff's
November visit to Turkey -- his first to a Muslim majority nation.
In a speech Tuesday, at Regensburg University in Germany, the pope quoted
from a book recounting a conversation between 14th-century Byzantine Christian
Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Islam and
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope
"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and
there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread
by the sword the faith he preached.' "
Benedict said "I quote" twice before repeating the phrases on Islam and
described them as "brusque," while neither explicitly agreeing with nor
The Vatican hastened to defend the pope, saying that the pontiff wanted to
promote respect toward and dialogue with other religions, "obviously also toward
But Ali Bardakoglu, head of Turkey's powerful Religious Affairs Directorate,
said he was deeply offended by the remarks about Islamic holy war, calling them
"extraordinarily worrying, saddening and unfortunate."
Mr. Bardakoglu said that "if the pope was reflecting the spite, hatred and
enmity" of others in the Christian world, it would be even more troubling.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Tuesday that the
pontiff had not been giving an interpretation of Islam as "something violent,"
although Father Lombardi said the religion contained both violent and nonviolent
Mr. Bardakoglu said that he expected an apology from the pope and that it
was Christianity, not Islam, that popularized conversion by the sword, according
to Turkey's state-owned Anatolia news agency.
"The church and the Western public, because they saw Islam as the enemy,
went on Crusades. They occupied Istanbul; they killed thousands of people.
Orthodox Christians and Jews were killed and tortured," he said.
largest city, was the capital of the Eastern Roman and Byzantine Christian
empires before being conquered by Ottoman Muslims in 1453.
The Christians "saw war against those outside the Christian world as a holy
duty," Mr. Bardakoglu said.
Senior Islamic officials in Kuwait and Egypt also demanded an immediate
apology from the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Hakem al-Mutairi, secretary general of Kuwait's Islamic Umma, or Islamic
Nation, party, urged Muslim countries to recall their ambassadors from the
Vatican until the pope apologized for what Mr. al-Mutairi called his "calumnies"
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