According to media reports (for instance here or here), the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan offered protection  to the President of Sudan, who was scheduled to come to Istanbul for a summit of the Organization of Islamic States. The Turkish Prime Minister subsequently withdrew that offer. The background is that Interpol and the International Criminal Court have issued a warrant for the arrest of the President of Sudan for crimes of genocide, and the President of Sudan is therefore being sought for arrest. The Turkish Prime Minister declared that the President of Sudan may not be arrested anyway, a statement he substantiated by declaring that Sudan is an Islamic state and that Islamic states are not in a position to commit crimes such as genocide.

In terms of genocide, he did mention Israel’s actions towards Palestinians as well as China’s actions towards the Uigurs. According to Erdogan, 1,500 people have been killed in Gaza, while the UN accuses Sudan of being responsible for the murder of 300,000 people!

A Muslim leader can by definition not be a criminal, but does this apply even in the case where the evidence is so overwhelming? If Muslims are the victims, is there immediate mention of genocide? It does not appear to be coincidental that China is accused of genocide against the (Muslim) Uigurs but apparently not against the (Buddhist) Tibetans! If that is applied to history, that means that past faults committed by Muslims are denied, while faults committed by non-Muslims are still triumphantly invoked centuries after they were committed. On the one hand, this mentality fits to Christians, who work through their history self-critically and admit many faults (and that should not change). It also fits with historians critical of Christianity, who still preferably only itemize Christian offenses (that, however, should change!).

This is in line with what Islamic states, under the leadership of Pakistan, are presently seeking to implement. In the face of massive resistance from western countries, several votes resulted in a Defamation of Religion Resolution from the United Nations Human Rights Council being successfully passed, which addresses what until now has not yet been binding international law: to view a critique of Islam as a human rights violation. This is due to the fact that in the last resolution, from March 2009, religion in general is mentioned but only Islam is mentioned by name.

Islam is allowed to criticize whomever it wishes however it wishes, but no one is allowed to criticize Islam – no matter how peacefully, friendly, and objectively this is done? Therefore: all rights for us, and no rights for others? No, that cannot be! I wrote my book Islam: A Stereotypical Enemy (Feindbild Islam) protecting Muslims from slander by rightwing Christian groups. because from a Christian point of view the slander of others is always wrong, not only when it has to do with our own religion or when it only affects our own people. What is at issue is ‘all rights for all people.”

Just so that no one misunderstands me or accuses me of blanket condemnation: This year I was in Instanbul with Turkish professors from all over the country and from different fields of study (including Islamic theology!) who stand up for religious freedom and were appalled to report about the Islamification of cities and provinces that are under the leadership of Justice and Development party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP) politicians. Without any “academic fluff,” Turkish families who have visited us at home, as well as politicians with Turkish heritage, have told us the same here in Bonn. By far not all Turks think like the Turkish Premier Minister. As far as I am concerned, I have no interest in increasing any tensions. The World Evangelical Alliance has its own taskforcefor peace building, which is strongly engaged in areas heading towards states of crisis and is engagned in moderating peace between Muslim and Christian communities. We also assist people in personally getting to know each other in a way that goes beyond religious boundaries and promotes their working together for peace. In spite of this it still has to be pointed out that internationally the difficulties with Islam are becoming more intense, when simply by definition it is decreed that Muslims are always the victims and never the offenders.


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