World

Turkish prime minister: ‘Islamophobia’ is a ‘crime against humanity’

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan demanded in an interview with “Turkish Weekly” to know why no Western country will acknowledge that Islamophobia is a “crime against humanity.”

Anti-semitism is a crime in Turkey, he said, and Western nations should treat Islamophobia the same.

“The West hasn’t recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity — it has encouraged it,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan was responding to violent riots across Muslim countries which some have blamed on a YouTube trailer for a film that parodies not only Muslims but also the Prophet Muhammad.

The Turkish leader told reporters in Sarajevo that his government has successfully suppressed radical responses to the film. “In the last past 10 years, extremes [in Turkey] have been curbed. In a way, we acted like a lightning rod.”

Erdogan will be discussing the film at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25, He will urge the passage of international legislation against blasphemy.

“I am the prime minister of a nation, of which most are Muslims and that has declared anti-semitism a crime against humanity…. But [The film director] is saying he did this to provoke the fundamentalists among Muslims. When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion.”

Turkey will begin working towards banning any sacrilegious or hateful speech within its own borders as soon as possible, according to Erdogan. “Turkey could be a leading example for the rest of the world.”