‘Who are you to attack our scriptures?’: Erdogan slams French manifesto targeting holy Quran

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday hit out at a French manifesto calling for certain passages of the Holy Quran to be removed in response to rising anti-Semitism.

Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Erdogan said the move directly targets Muslims’ sacred values.

“Who are you to attack our scriptures? We know how vile you are,” Erdogan retorted.

“Have they ever read their books, the Bible? Or the Torah?” Erdogan asked, referring to the Christian and Jewish holy books, adding: “If they had read them, they probably would want to ban the Bible.”

An open letter, published on April 22 in Le Parisien newspaper and signed by nearly 300 well-known French personalities, argued verses of the Holy Quran calling for the “murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers” should be removed because they are “obsolete”.

“We will not stoop to your level and attack your holy values while you are attacking ours, but we will undermine you,” reported Daily Sabah.

Signatories included former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and former prime minister Manuel Valls, actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour as well as intellectuals and other public figures.

The signatories in the letter said “Islamist radicalisation” was to blame for what it described as a “quiet ethnic purging” in the Paris region, with abuse forcing Jewish families to move out.

A third of France’s record hate crimes target Jews, despite the community making up only 0.7 percent of the population.

But Erdogan also pointed to Islamophobia in the West, saying Ankara had warned its partners of “Islamophobia, anti-Turkish feeling, xenophobia, racism”.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, addressing his fellow party members at the CHP parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, said:

“It is not the Quran that is outdated but you are. All world accepts the fact that Islam is a religion of peace.”

AFP inputs