By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
The term ‘Islamophobia’ fails to explain the new wave of antipathy towards Muslims in Europe and “this has now turned into an anti-Islam [movement] and enmity toward Islam,” Turkey’s EU minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking at an event held in London, Celik said “anti-Semitic and Islamophobic flows have become the reality in Europe.
“This situation finds reflections in the rise of far-right politics and populist nationalism”.
“In a way, [there are] tens of new psychological and ideological Berlin walls in Europe,” he added.
“Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-EU [ideologies] are, in fact, different realizations of the same distorted mentality,” Celik said in his speech.
Wednesday’s meeting also hosted authors, academics, journalists and religious figures including Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General Harun Khan and President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush.
Celik said European values such as democracy, human rights, equality, freedom and pluralism had been targeted by the far-right in their Islamophobic and anti-Semitic approaches.
“Islamophobia fuels the politics of hate which can be seen in racism and sometimes violence targeting migrants, refugees and Muslims,” he added.
“The danger rising in the West with the far-right shows that an anti-Islam movement has appeared, just like anti-Semitism.”
“Just like anti-Semitism, which threatens all of us no matter what religion we are from, Islamophobia is also a crime against humanity.”
Celik said Daesh attacks in Europe fuelled Islamophobia and this “vicious circle” needed to be broken.
He also underlined that Turkey was aware of its duties in the fight against religious extremism and hate crime but Europe was lacking the will to cooperate.
He also said some European countries “follow a discriminatory policy” in their approach to terrorist groups. “They applaud Turkey’s fight against Daesh but they do not show the same support in its fight against the PKK.”