Islam is a religion of peace that defends universal values, Ali Erbas, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, said on Wednesday.
“Islam is a religion of peace that defends and tries to keep the same universal values alive all over the world,” Erbas said at the opening ceremony of 2nd meeting of European Muslims in the German city of Cologne.
Erbas said racism, xenophobia and attacks on mosques gradually narrow areas of freedom and restrict rights.
“The recent increase in racial movements and anti-Islamic discourses and actions in Europe threaten the multiculturalism of Europe, the culture of living together, peace and tranquility,” he added.
According to the European Islamophobia Report 2017, a rising wave of Islamophobia has taken hold in Europe.
The report revealed 908 crimes, ranging from verbal and physical attacks to murder attempts, targeting Muslims in Germany, as well as 664 in Poland, 364 in the Netherlands, 256 in Austria, 121 in France, 56 in Denmark, and 36 in Belgium.
The report was prepared by the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).
[AA, 2 January 2019]