Top figures of Europe’s Muslim community met in Cologne Germany for a two day conference to talk about the future of Muslims in Europe. The conference is being hosted by Turkish-Muslim religious body DITIB. The head of Turkey’s religious authority, Ali Erbas held the keynote speech of the conference in which he gave some important messages about recent controversies surrounding German government’s attempt to take German Muslims under its control by creating “German Islam.”
“There is no such thing as German, French or European Islam. Tenets of Islam needs to be understood. Islam is the religion if peace in around the world,” said Ali Erbas. German government recently held the Islam Conference in Berlin aim of which is described by the Turkish Muslim community in Germany as to create a German version of Islam.
German government has been putting an immense pressure on DITIB to completely cut its relations with Turkey. DITIB operates over 900 mosques in Germany and Turkey has been sending imams for DITIB mosques which German authorities claims Ankara is using to impose influence on 3 million Turks in Germany. A political science professor from Georgetown University, Fared Hafez also attending the organization. He said it was a nature right of Muslim community to maintain ties with homeland Turkey. “The Turkish Muslim institutions should be independent. They should not be acting like Turkish embassies. But that does not mean they should cut ties with Turkey. They have the right to maintain ties with homeland as Catholic community for example maintains ties with Vatican,” said Hafez.
German daily Bild published a highly controversial headline on Saturday saying “How terror money finances the mosques in Germany.” Under the headline, Bild used the picture of DITIB Central Mosque where the conference is being held. Thousands of Turks and Muslims condemned Bild for targeting DITIB and prompting Islamophobia. Just three days later on the new years eve, a mosque in Swedish city of Malmo was attacked. 5 bullets went through its windows as people outside were celebrating the new year.
“Media, both printed and visual media has been advocating Islamophobia under the pretext of “criticism,” Erbas pointed out. He warned the European countries that the future of European Muslims could not be considered separate from the rest of the Islamic world. Erbas also called on the European Muslim community to eliminate their internal rifts.