President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at the term “moderate Islam” on Friday, saying the term’s only aim is to weaken the religion itself rather than distance it from extremists.
In a clear reference to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s remarks, Erdoğan said that the origin of the term lies in the Western world.
“The term ‘moderate Islam’ is being lathered up again. The patent of moderate Islam belongs to the West. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam; Islam is one. The aim of using such terms is to weaken Islam,” Erdoğan said.
“They say we will return to moderate Islam, but they still don’t give women the right to drive. Is there such a thing in Islam? I guess they will give this right when they turn to the moderate one,” he added.
Erdoğan’s words came at a women’s entrepreneurship event held for the Organization Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Women’s Advisory Council at the Presidential Palace complex in Ankara.
In his speech, Erdoğan also criticized discrimination against Muslim women. “Headscarves are gradually being banned in EU states with the public – personal space trick, attempting to bar Muslim women from entering social life. Attempts to incarcerate Muslim women in their homes is spreading like a virus,” Erdoğan said.
“Today, most EU countries actively restrict Muslim women from working and getting access to education. Those who are teaching us lessons on human rights are unfortunately applauding as the most basic human rights are being trampled in their countries.”
Erdoğan also said Turkey has spent $30 billion on refugees from Syria and Iraq alone, whereas the EU has pledged to give 6 billion euros for the refugees, but gave only 800 million euros so far.
“As developed countries are searching for peace and comfort with strict security policies behind high walls, Turkey has embraced millions of people regardless of their ethnicity, religion, language and sect,” he said.