Monday, 24 September 2012

Deadly Islam protests: "Not in this country" says Erdogan

As protests continue to rage around much of the Islamic world over controversial anti-Islamic film "Innocence of Muslims", Turkey's religious and political leaders are calling for calm and restraint.

Shocked by deadly protests which have left more than 30 people dead, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that despite the film's provocative message, Turkey would "not fall in the trap of provocation. Those who resort to violence in return will themselves be considered provocateurs against Muslims; and we reject that."

Protests like this one in Egypt have shaken the Islamic world.

Protests have broken out in around 20 countries, but only in a few places, including Indonesia, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, did the action turn violent. 

The privately-produced US film contains images of Muslims attacking Christians, and depicts the prophet Muhammad as being a womaniser, a homosexual and a child abuser. 

In Ankara protestors gathered at the US Embassy, chanting and burning a US flag, but in general the protests have been peaceful.

Professor of relgious studies and former head of Religious Affairs has said Muslims worldwide needed to find a "civil way" to protest, choosing discussions over violent action. "We see that people in the Arab counries are pouring to the streets under the name of peace, but causing more deaths. What is the logic behind it?" he said.

Gareth Jenkins of the Institute for Security and Development POlicy's Turkey Initiative said that protests against insults to Islam have always been more restrained in Turkey than in the rest of the Islamic world. 

"It was the same when there were protests about the anti-Islamic cartoons," he said. "I don't think this means that radical Islamists in Turkey are necessarily less angry but they do seem to be able to exercise greater self-control and more able to distinguish between something happening in a country and the government of that country being responsible for it."


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