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Freedom of expression is no excuse to desecrate Quran — Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that attacks on the Quran cannot be “defended with the excuse of freedom of expression” and that such acts “target social peace and stability”, during talks with a delegation from the US Council of Muslim Organizations [USCMO].

Erdogan also asked them on Wednesday to tell the US Congress and other political circles about the dangers of Islamophobia during the meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara.

“I would also like to express my gratitude for your work and solidarity regarding the February 6 earthquake disaster,” he said, referring to the twin quakes whose epicentre was in southern Kahramanmaras province.

The president also said the US Muslim community’s donations worth $100 million for the earthquake victims have been a manifestation of Islamic solidarity.

“Our Ummah’s stand against Islamophobia, intolerance and discrimination and their unity is of vital importance in the fight against this threat,” he added.

Pointing out the importance of the task undertaken by the council in order to explain the true understanding of Islam based on tolerance and brotherhood, Erdogan said: “Your strength as a Muslim community in America sets an example for the entire Islamic world and constitutes a source of strength and inspiration.”

‘Clear hate crime and barbarism’

Saying they have expressed on every occasion that they do not accept attacks against the Quran in Europe under the guise of “freedom of expression,” he said: “This is a clear hate crime and barbarism.”

“We see once again in every incident how much those who turn a blind eye to these attacks against Islam and Muslims have internalised humanitarian values,” he added.

Emphasising that the adoption of resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council that consider all acts of violence against holy books a violation of international law are important developments, Erdogan told the USCMO delegation.

“Of course, it is obvious that we need to ensure that these decisions are reflected in practice. As Türkiye, we continue to call on the relevant countries to take the necessary measures against those who commit these hate crimes.”

Erdogan also called on the delegation to raise awareness of the dangers of Islamophobia in political circles.

“Many of you have access to political circles in America. You play important roles in terms of social peace and stability. You have representatives in local and federal politics. By using this influence, you can effectively inform all political circles, especially the American Congress, that attacks on the holy Quran cannot be defended under the excuse of freedom of expression and that they target social peace and stability,” he underlined.

“I believe that your support will be useful in neutralising the smear campaigns of anti-Türkiye lobbies. I also expect your contributions in conveying the facts about the terrorist organisations PKK, PYD, YPG and FETO to the American public,” he added.

‘Historic election victory’

USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal later expressed his honour and satisfaction to be together with Erdogan.

“We came here today to congratulate you. You have won a historic election victory,” said Jammal.

“This election victory is not just a victory for you or Türkiye. It is essentially a victory for the entire Muslim world.”

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