HomeWorldTürkiye says united Muslim world could stop Palestinian massacre

Türkiye says united Muslim world could stop Palestinian massacre

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If the Muslim world could join forces, no one could dare harm Palestinians, according to Ali Erbaş, the head of Türkiye’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).

Referring to Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, as well as the persecution of Muslims in India and Myanmar, Erbaş said the oppressors were “emboldened by the disunity of the Muslim world.”

The Diyanet director was speaking at a sahur program on Turkish private broadcaster A Haber early on Wednesday as he lamented attacks on Muslims worldwide that continue during the holy month of Ramadan.

“There is no genocide or massacre being committed in a city run by Muslims, but the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors are massacring Muslims right now,” Erbaş said.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas in which some 1,200 people were killed.

Over 31,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 72,600 others have been injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli army imposed a crippling blockade on the Palestinian enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population of over 2 million people into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the United Nations.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Speaking at an extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan too made a similar call to Muslim-majority nations, saying that they must “devise a plan to counter the atrocities in Gaza” particularly by stopping weapon shipments to Israel and preventing Palestinian deaths by starvation.

In collaboration with the Arab League, the OIC formed a Gaza contact group with the foreign ministers of its Muslim states, which lobbied major Western governments to stop Israel, but no effective outcome has been achieved so far.

Erbaş also pointed out a need to coin a new term to describe the attacks on Muslims besides Islamophobia, which he argued was a “wrong phrase formed by Europeans because it implies it’s Islam that frightens or is feared.”

“We need a new word that refers to the beliefs of whoever is carrying out the oppression,” Erbaş said, citing the growing chorus of anti-Muslim hatred among Hindus in India and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar after the 2021 military coup.

According to Erbaş, today’s oppressive powers are pushing for increased terrorism, chaos and oppression around the world and they are the ones “providing truckloads of weapons to the PKK terrorists Türkiye has been fighting against for 40 years.”

“Targeting places of worship, people of religion, women, infants, children, elderly or the environment is haram in Islamic rules of warfare,” Erbaş continued.

“Now we see 20,000 children and 10,000 women were killed under phosphorus bombs in Gaza,” he said.

Israel has been accused of using internationally banned white phosphorus munitions since Oct. 7 on both Gaza and southern Lebanon, where more than 60,000 olive trees were burned and over 6 square kilometers of forests and agricultural lands were damaged. Israeli airstrikes also claimed 400 lives in Lebanon since then.

Recalling March 8 International Women’s Day, Erbaş slammed a worldwide silence about the indiscriminate killing of Gazan women and said: “Why aren’t human rights organizations or women’s associations around the world saying something about this?”

Türkiye has been a virulent critic of Israel since the start of the war and a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause, including holding talks with Palestinian, Israeli and Hamas officials.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called Israel a “terrorist state” and accused it of carrying out a genocide in Gaza. He has expressed full support for Hamas and rejected the Western stance of classifying it as a terrorist organization.

Türkiye has also dispatched over 40,000 tons of aid to Egypt for delivery to Gaza, either by military planes or vessels, as recently as last Sunday in preparation for Ramadan.

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