The debate over whether Islam has been hijacked by fundamentalists — or whether the religion itself preaches the kind of hatred that leads to terrorism — has been raging since the 9/11/2001 attacks on the United States. Although this issue has not been resolved, one thing is clear: in the Muslim world, the demonization of Jews and Christians is commonplace.
Take Turkey, for example, where anti-Semitism has been exhibited publicly for decades by prominent members of government, the religious establishment and the media. In June this year, the head of the government’s Religious Affairs Directorate — the “Diyanet” — joined the chorus.
In a speech he delivered in Gaziantep — a transcript of which was posted on the Diyanet’s official Twitter account — Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez announced that Islam was brought to the world by Allah to correct the “distortions” of Judaism and Christianity. At the center of Judaism, he said, was “material, money and wealth.” Christianity, he asserted, took the opposite, albeit equally “wrong,” interpretation of the divine, as it “came up with an understanding that denigrated the world and deemed property and wealth almost forbidden [haram].”
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