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Erdoğan urges Western countries to act on growing anti-Islam sentiment

Erdoğan urges Western countries to act on growing anti-Islam sentiment

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that Western countries insist on not taking measures against growing anti-Islam sentiment.

“Muslims are being taken under pressure with projects such as European Islam, French Islam, Austrian Islam,” Erdoğan said.

The president noted that attacks on Muslims’ sacred values have been disregarded by Western governments under the pretext of freedom of expression.

Erdoğan added that Turkish institutions should take action on issues related to Muslims and Turks in these countries.

Some European countries, particularly France, have embraced a hostile stance against Muslims in recent years.

In January, a special commission in the French National Assembly approved the “charter of republican values” of Islam that was introduced last year by President Emmanuel Macron as part of the fight against “separatism.”

The bill was announced on Oct. 2 by Macron, who claimed that law was needed in order to fight so-called Islamic “separatism,” prompting criticism and rejection from the Muslim community.

The bill is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly in February. The draft law is being criticized because it targets the Muslim community and imposes restrictions on almost every aspect of their lives. It provides for intervening in mosques and the associations responsible for the administration of mosques, as well as controlling the finances of associations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) belonging to Muslims.

France engaged in a bitter feud with Muslim countries last year, including Turkey, over the statements and policies made by top French officials following the republication of offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims across the world denounced satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s decision to republish cartoons, citing disrespect toward Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad.

Austria tried to impose a similar bill; however, the government revised the controversial “anti-terror” law, using the phrase “religiously motivated extremism” instead of “political Islam,” after negative reactions from the public.