Erdogan accuses radicals of being ‘enemies of Islam’

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KONYA, Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at terrorist groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda for “damaging both Islam and Muslims”.

Speaking late Thursday at a ceremony to mark the 742nd anniversary of the Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi in Konya, Erdogan described groups like Boko Haram and Somalia’s al-Shabaab as “enemies of Islam”.

“Throughout history, only a small number of its enemies managed to damage Islam as much as organizations like Daesh, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda have,” he said.

Erdogan said that a project of “disciplining Muslims by murderers disguised as Muslims” had been underway in all corners of the Islamic world.

“These terrorist organizations might be using symbols belonging to Islam but it does not change the fact that they are the biggest enemies of Islam,” he added.

The president maintained that all humanity now needs Rumi’s “scales of conscience” by which Rumi compared the difference between justice and oppression to that of watering a tree and watering a thornbush.

Referring to the Syrian civil war, Erdogan said: “Those who give consent to the atrocity right at our elbow where 400,000 innocents were killed and 12 million people displaced are the very ones that water the thorns.”

Also addressing the commemoration ceremony for Rumi, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the world had witnessed barbaric atrocities along with people being oppressed by authoritarian regimes.

The premier said terrorist organizations like Daesh could not be correlated to Islam and were tyrannizing Muslims and other peoples.

“Today, we need more than ever Mevlana’s call and philosophy of love while the world of Islam is in great pain with the greatest cities of Islamic civilization being set on fire, just like back in Mevlana’s era,” he said.

Davutoglu said the Turkish government would work day and night for the philosophy of Rumi to “sow the seeds of love” both at home, in the Islamic world and globally.

“We will respond with love to those who utter words of hatred. We will make a call for justice to the oppressors,” he added.

Rumi was a prominent 13th century scholar and poet. His Masnavi, an extensive series of poems about being in true love with Allah, is one of Anatolian culture’s most important works.

Commemorations, also known as ‘Seb-i Arus’ or reunion with the Beloved, marking Rumi’s death, take place annually from Dec. 7 to 17 in the central Anatolian province of Konya.

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