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 'To Associate Religion with Terrorism Hurts Believers'

Latest News'To Associate Religion with Terrorism Hurts Believers'
Zaman Online, Turkey

By Mukremin Albayrak, Baran Tas, Istanbul
Published: Thursday, May 04, 2006

Turkey’s Director of Religious Affairs, Professor Ali Bardakoglu, said Wednesday Turkey is a country where different cultures coexist in peace and tolerance.

“Religion is ranked above politics in one’s private life. It is independent of politics. It is not a means to be used by politicians,” Bardakoglu said.

Speaking at “12th Mediterranean Special Dialogue Seminar” organized at the Ritz Carlton Hotel; the director noted Islamic countries have problems in terms of democratization, state, and politics-religion relations.

He said Islam promotes ...

human and women’s rights, political participation, and never suppresses free thinking in the name of God, adding that one cannot commit violent acts in the name of religion.

“We Muslims condemn global terror. World leaders should not associate violence with religion. All religions encourage peace and brotherhood while rejecting violence,” Bardakoglu said.

Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos recalled Martin Luther King’s statement, “Either we will learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or perish together as fools,” and said they believe different religions and cultures will live together in dialogue.

Turkish Jewish Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva also stressed that both in the East and the West, civilization is achieved through humane understanding, and it is under the monopoly of no one.

Following speeches at the seminar, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliament’s Polish representative asked questions regarding church assets and the Heybeliada Seminary.

Kirikkale MP Vahit Erdem told the Polish representative legal regulations about church assets are being drafted. “No school is outside our law,” Erdem said about Heybeliada Seminary.

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