On November 27, 2020, the Turkish Presidency's official YouTube channel uploaded Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's video message to the Muslim American Society's Rise Up to the Moment Convention, held virtually on November 26-29, 2020. Erdoğan said that in addition to COVID-19, the world has been fighting the "virus of Islamophobia" which he said is spreading throughout the world. Among other things, Erdoğan criticized the French cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, saying that this is not justifiable as freedom of opinion or thought. In addition, Erdoğan said that Turkey will defend with its life the Muslims' right to Jerusalem and to Muslim conflict zones throughout the Middle East. Erdoğan also said that the Muslim American Society (MAS) strengthens these efforts, and that the Turkish state is ready to support MAS, Muslim organizations in the United States, and any initiative or project undertaken by the Muslim-American community.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "Brothers and sisters, this year, we had to fight not only the COVID-19 virus, but also the 'VIRUS OF ISLAMOPHOBIA', which spreads faster. In countries that have been described as the cradle of democracy for many years, cultural racism, discrimination, intolerance have grown to such an extent that can no longer be hidden. In particular, Islamophobia and xenophobia have turned into a trend that captures the politics, complicates the daily life and directs state policies.
"In many countries, it has now become ordinary to marginalize Muslims because of their faith, languages, names or appearance. The burning of the Quran in Sweden, the tearing of the Quran in Norway, the promotion of cartoons insulting the Prophet [pbuh] in name of freedom of the press... In France are just some of the attacks on our sacred values. The terrorist attack that took place in New Zealand last year, in which 52 of our brothers were killed, has exposed the threat we face as humanity. Six Muslims lost their lives in a mosque attack in Canada in 2017. Earlier in 2015, Our three brilliant children were shot dead in their homes and martyred in Chapel Hill town by a racist.
"Of course, Muslims are not the only targets of racist actions. Other sections of the society whose identity, appearance, religious affiliation are different are also negatively affected by these attacks. Far-right groups target African and Asian immigrants as well as Turks; Jews as well as Muslims. We see that this ideological fanaticism, which is no different from DAESH or FETO in terms of their mind-set, is gaining more and more ground, even encouraged at the level of the head of state.
"You are closely following the dishonor against our Prophet (peace be upon Him) under the guise of freedom of opinion in France in recent days. Insulting the sacred has nothing to do with freedom. Because the thought and insult are two very different things.
"Treating an insult as an idea is an insult to thought in the first place. Those who pat the backs of those who burn the Quran, those who encourage insults to our Prophet, and those who ignore the attacks against the mosques... do all these not in the name of freedom, but to hide the fascism in them. Note that while they put all kinds of attacks against our holy values in the brackets of... Freedom of thought and press, they cannot tolerate even the slightest criticism about them. Sometimes by threatening, sometimes by scolding the journalists, and sometimes by raiding newspapers with the security forces, they declare their limits to those who damage their interests.
"We have to defend the right of Jerusalem, which is the sanctuary of wisdom, honor and pupil... of the Islamic ummah, at the cost of our lives. We, as Turkey, approach the challenges in various parts of the Islamic region extending from Palestine to Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh to Syria in line with such understanding.
"When we implement these basic principles, I believe that we will strengthen our unity and solidarity among ourselves, and we will reach a much stronger position in the global arena. I think that this year's convention organized by the Muslim American Society [MAS] with the theme of 'RISE UP TO THE MOMENT' will contribute to these efforts. I am also happy to see that the Muslim-American community is getting more organized. In fact, today's meeting is one of the biggest indicators of this. I would like you to know that we support the work of Muslim organizations in the US, notably the Muslim American Society, which brings us together today.
"I would like to remind you of the fact that the Diyanet Center of America in Maryland State, which we inaugurated in 2016, is also at the service of our Muslim brothers and sisters living in the US. Acting in unity and solidarity after the arson against the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven... last year, I thank you for your quick response to the attack and your valuable contribution to the repair of our mosque. On this occasion, I would like to express our satisfaction with the fact that the Muslim representatives... of the Congress were re-elected in the recent elections.
"I hope that the current number of Muslim representatives will gradually increase and thus, the Muslim community will be more visible in Congress and American politics. I would like to state that we, as the Turkish State, are ready to give any kind of support to any initiative and project undertaken by the Muslim-American community in this direction, as it has been before."