Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Istanbul urges world to ‘address this affliction’
Muslim nations on Friday called for “genuine” measures against Islamophobia after the attack on two New Zealand mosques that killed 50 people.
Violence driven by Islamophobia requires “genuine, comprehensive and systematic measures to address this affliction,” ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation said in a statement after a meeting in Istanbul.
The OIC said attacks against mosques and murders of Muslims showed the “brutal, inhumane and horrific outcomes” of hatred of Islam. It called for countries with Muslim communities, minorities or migrants to refrain from “statements and practices that associate Islam with terror, extremism and threats” to society.
During the March 15 attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant killed 50 men, women and children—the victims aged between three and 77 years old—and left dozens injured.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called for a global fight against rising Islamophobia like “anti-Semitism after the Holocaust.” The Turkish leader presented the mosque attacks by a self-avowed white supremacist who killed 50 people as part of a wider assault on Islam and demands the West do more against anti-Muslim sentiment.
“Just as humanity fought against anti-Semitism after the Holocaust disaster, it should fight against rising Islamophobia in the same determined fashion,” Erdogan told the meeting of ministers from the OIC. “Right now we are facing Islamophobia and Muslim hatred,” he said.
Erdogan said far-right neo-nazi groups should be treated as terrorists in the same way as Islamic State jihadists.
Erdogan, campaigning for local elections this month, has angered New Zealand by repeatedly showing the video made by the alleged gunman, an Australian who was arrested. He has also angered Australia with comments about anti-Muslim Australians being sent back in “coffins” like their grandfathers at Gallipoli, a WWI battle.
On Friday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu praised New Zealand authorities and their “sincere solidarity messages.”
“We are here to show we are one body against Islamophobic actions across the world,” he said.
The Muslim call to prayer rang out across New Zealand on Friday followed by two minutes of silence nationwide to mark a week since the attack. Thousands of people—including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern—stood silently in a park opposite the mosque where the killing began.