Islamophobia prevents diversity and coexistence, Turkish minister says


Islamophobia is being exploited as a tool to link Islam with terrorism and prevents the peaceful coexistence of different cultures, Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports said on Wednesday.

Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu was speaking at the two-day Youth Forum for Islamic Cooperation (ICYF) seminar titled “Global Youth Action Against Islamophobia”, during which several international officials and experts will discuss strategies to combat Islamophobia, especially among young Muslims.

Kasapoğlu said in a video message sent to the event that the ICYF has done considerable work to educate young people about the global issue of Islamophobia.

“Islamophobia is the main tool of people who try to associate Islam with terrorism, deprive different cultures of living together and turn fascist rhetoric into political activity,” said Kasapoğlu, who is in Japan to attend the Olympics. of Tokyo 2020.

“We can see that this mechanism is sometimes even used by countries which identify themselves as the most liberal and democratic countries,” he commented.

Kasapoğlu went on to highlight the role of the media in spreading anti-Muslim hatred: “The role of the media in spreading Islamophobia is an indisputable fact.

“The prejudices of the societies are reproduced, in particular by using the popular culture industry. Therefore, we must be able to oppose, in particular the disinformation produced by the media”, he added.

Kasapoğlu said that the country’s Ministry of Youth and Sports “are very attentive to this issue and we are launching projects to educate young people against Islamophobia.”

Farkındayız (We Are Aware) is one of the most important projects among these. In this regard, we have enabled our young people to spot Islamophobic content detected in cinema, cartoons, music videos and computer games on the Internet. “

According to the Turkish minister, education is also an important area in the fight against Islamophobia.

“Our ministry keeps its doors open to educational projects of international organizations through its youth centers and youth camps.

“Youth Forum has recently carried out important education programs to explain the effects of Islamophobia and to encourage young people to participate in the process,” he added.

The Turkish ministry, in collaboration with the forum, annually organizes media training camps to raise awareness about the fight against Islamophobia, Kasapoğlu noted.

“In addition, as a ministry, we have educated with a presentation over 7,500 young people across the country,” he said, adding that Turkey is striving to increase the number of university researchers.

Kasapoğlu also underlined the importance of “closer cooperation and enriching this cooperation with new projects”.

“Cooperation and communication are extremely important,” he said, adding: “We should have a common position with a common language and adopt a common attitude.”

“We must explain the true values ​​of Islam and strive to emphasize the values ​​respecting human rights and the differences which are constantly emphasized by Islam,” he said.

Kasapoğlu said that young people are among the groups most affected by Islamophobia and that “we can overcome the discrimination that young Muslims face through uncompromising policies on equality and human rights.”

Farhad Hajiyev, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, virtually attended the event.

He said it was one of the most difficult issues facing young Muslims in the fight against Islamophobia.

Hajiyev noted that the majority of young Muslims are directly affected by Islamophobia; Young Muslims are often victims of discrimination and social exclusion at different levels of society, they have developed deep concerns about increasing prejudices against Muslim communities in Europe and North America.

“Therefore, young people must be sensitized, educated and involved in the prevention of Islamophobia and in the defense of the values ​​of respect for cultural and religious diversity and non-discrimination,” added the vice-minister.

“Our future, the future of humanity and that of our planet are in our hands. It is also in the hands of today’s young generation, who will pass the flashlight on to future generations. The only way forward. towards prosperity is through connection and unity, and above all, active young people with strong voices, ”he said.

He went on to say, “Young people have proven to be resilient in a variety of ways and they are using their innovations, networks and collaborative actions to achieve a better future for all of us and future generations. We must continue to be creative, inspired, innovative in the service of a bright future for all. “

Founded in 2004 in Baku, ICYF is “an international, non-commercial and non-partisan organization bringing together the main umbrella youth organizations of the Member States of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well as international youth organizations, operating in the OIC region and youth organizations representing significant Muslim minorities around the world, ”according to its website.

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