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Insulting religion can't be justified as free speech - Erdogan

Sat 15 September 2012 05:26 GMT | 10:26 Local Time
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Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan condemns a film for provoking Muslims but also slams others for using the movie as an excuse to commit violence.

“I want to remind the Muslims of the world one more time. The film was a serious provocation. Those who are resorting to violence should know that this is a provocation of Muslims and we reject it,” Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech at a conference in the Ukrainian Black Sea resort of Yalta. Erdogan’s comments came after the anti-Islamic movie “Innocence of Muslims” sparked global protests and outrage in the Muslim world.

“Legal and peaceful protest by Muslims is a useful and correct thing. But a protest cannot envisage any kind of violence or terrorism,” he said.

“Insulting the Prophet cannot be justified as freedom of expression,” said Erdogan, adding that leaders should take necessary measures against those actions which cause provocation within society.

“It cannot be a reason for innocent people to be attacked or harmed,” he said. “This is justified by nothing and, above all, not by Islam. No one can, in the name of Islam, carry out actions of the kind that happened in Libya with the attack on the U.S. mission [in Benghazi].”

He said attackers who conduct violent protests in the name of Islam damage Muslims most and added that those who conduct terrorist actions in the name of Islam should be condemned in the strongest terms.

Erdogan said he believed that it was not possible for US President Barack Obama to approve of the film and added that the extremists who prepared the movie should be punished.

Later on, Erdogan met with the prime minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Anatoliy Mogilyov.

“We are observing that extreme rightist moves and racism target Muslims, this time Europe-wide; we are worried that it will escalate in Europe,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan also spoke about his views on global values and racism and said people should continue living in “multifariousness and unity” and stated that in order to achieve this, discrimination based on culture, religion and ethnicity should be rejected.

Hurriyet Daily News

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