CAIRO – A global Muslim body has called on the European countries to accept Muslims and their religion as a family member and to fight anti-Muslim sentiments to help improve relations with the Muslim world.
"Islam should be welcomed as a family member in Europe, not as a guest,” Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), told Anadolu news agency and Turkish state broadcaster TRT on Tuesday, July 25.
“As the exclusion of Islam means ignoring the influential role of Islamic civilization in the evolution of the Western civilization."
|Muslim Growth Sharpens German Islam Fear|
Ihsanoglu is currently in Brussels to open the OIC Permanent Observer Mission to the European Union (EU).
The OIC chief warned that drafting policies based on hateful remarks leads to discrimination against Muslims.
"If Islam becomes a political content, it will be a double-edged sharp knife. We observed such results in Norway, France and several places in Europe."
Muslims are estimated to account for 8 to 9 percent of the population in the EU member-states.
Far-right politicians across Europe have accelerated their rhetoric against Muslim minorities in Europe in recent years.
In France, far right leader Marine Le Pen has accelerated rhetoric against Muslim immigration, heaping problems in the European country as scarce jobs and housing problems on Muslims.
In 2010, Le Pen compared Muslim prayers on the streets to Nazi occupation.
In Germany, sentiments against Muslims have been on the rise, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
In the Netherlands, far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has called for banning the Muslim face-veil in the country and stopping immigration from Muslim countries.
In Sweden, the far-right Sweden Democrats have unveiled plans to impose a moratorium on building new mosques in the Scandinavian country.
MisuseThe OIC chief warned that the misuse of some Islamic terms leads to misconceptions about Muslims and their religion.
"As a matter of fact, it is those terrorists who use such definitions themselves,” Ihsanoglu said.
“How come you call it jihad and do it in the name of Islam what you are doing?
“We must ask this question with a much higher voice,” the OIC chief said.
“We must explain to the world public opinion that those people have no right to declare jihad, use these words and phrases, explaining clearly with historical evidences and religious justifications that jihad does not necessarily mean killing the other.”
Jihad is often stereotyped by Western media as meaning “holy war”.
But Muslim scholars have repeatedly affirmed that the word Jihad, which is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an, means "struggle" to do good and to remove injustice, oppression and evil from society.Karen Armstrong, the prominent and prolific British writer on all three monotheistic religions, has criticized stereotyping the Arabic word "jihad" as merely meaning holy war.
Related Links:Rightists Use German Identity to Fight Islam
Far-right Uses Muslim Symbols to Sow Fear
Job Bias Targets UK Muslims, Minorities
French See Islam 'Incompatible'
Norway Rightists Oppose Islamic Schools