Turkish posters telling Muslims not to make friends with Christians and Jews removed

Wed 23 Oct 2019
By Heather Preston

Authorities in the south west city of Konya have taken down posters advising Muslims not to befriend Christians, following complaints from the public.

The posters, up at bus stops throughout the city, quote chapter 5 verse 51 of the Quran, which says: "Do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies".

The verse goes on to say: "They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people."

The posters were removed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) after numerous complaints that the content was "hateful" to religious minorities. 

 

One tweet read: "This on an official space of the city's AKP municipality; is there any accountability? Can the Turkish gov make sure these hateful signs are removed as soon as possible?"

Religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) have been involved in advocacy work to highlight the oppression of Christians throughout Turkey.

CSW's Middle East representative Fadi told Premier he was not surprised by these posters: "It is not very unusual, we have witnessed similar incidents in other parts of Turkey."

He went on to say that the removal of the signs was a "step in the right direction" but "didn't indicate a significant improvement" in the treatment of Christians there.

Persecution continues to be a growing problem for religious minorities in the Islamic majority country since President Erdogan came into power.

"Anti Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-western narratives are on the increase in Turkey," Fadi said "You can feel it in Konya particularly which has always been a strong hold for Islamist parties."

"The situation of religious freedom has deteriorated significantly under President Erdogan and his Islamist party."

He said the problem is not just coming from government leaders but has become a societal problem.

Fadi encouraged the Christian community to pray for courage and wisdom for local believers "to deal with these challenges" and that "God would have favour and grace upon the Turkish church".

 

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