Erdoğan slams French proposal to delete verses from Quran

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“We will not stoop to the level of French critics of Islam by attacking their sacred values,” Turkey’s president said on Tuesday, blasting a French proposal for the removal of some verses of the Quran, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

On April 21, 300 prominent French figures, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, published a manifesto in French daily Le Parisien arguing that the Quran incites violence and insisting that “the verses of the Quran calling for murder and punishment of Jews, Christians, and nonbelievers be struck to obsolescence by religious authorities” so that “no believer can refer to a sacred text to commit a crime.”

Addressing his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the 300 French authors and politicians who signed the manifesto making the proposal “obviously know nothing about the Quran.”

“I wonder if they ever read their own holy book, the Bible, or the [Jewish] Torah, or the Zabur [a holy book revealed by God before the Quran]. If they had read them, I guess they would want them to be banned. But they don’t have such a problem,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey has several times warned Western countries about anti-religious approaches, xenophobia and fascism, Erdoğan said.

“Even if you attack our holy book, we will not do the same. … We will not stoop to your level and attack your sacred values,” he added.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called the French proposal to remove some Quranic verses an approach akin to that of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and Daesh, an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Addressing his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu blasted the hundreds of French authors and politicians who signed the manifesto.

“A group of prominent figures including former politicians say, ‘Some verses need to be removed from the Quran because they are out of date.’ It is you who are out of date, not the Quran,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“This attitude exhibited by you is akin to that of al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra or Daesh. You are supporting them. We respect all holy books. The last book is the Quran. If you want to support Daesh and al-Qaeda, which use religion for terrorist acts, go right ahead.”

Kılıçdaroğlu added that Islam is a religion of peace and is accepted worldwide.

“There is no fight, hatred or rage in Islam, there is worthiness and peace. … It is obvious that those who made this declaration do not know what Islam is,” he said, recommending the French authors and politicians read the Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon, “considered the first human rights declaration.”

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