ANKARA - In harsh but indirect remarks addressed to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the Saudi official does not own the Islamic faith.President Erdogan said on Friday that the notion that there was a “moderate” Islam and an “immoderate” one had been invented by the West to “weaken” the faith.
Speaking at a major investment conference in Riyadh on October 24, bin Salman had vowed to return Saudi Arabia to “a moderate Islam.”
“The term ‘moderate Islam’ is being lathered up again,” Erdogan said in his Friday remarks. “The patent of ‘moderate Islam’ belongs to the West. There is no ‘moderate’ or ‘immoderate’ Islam; Islam is one. The aim of using such terms is to weaken Islam.”
“Perhaps the person voicing this concept thinks it belongs to him. No, it does not belong to you,” President Erdogan said, without referring to Mohammed bin Salman by name.
While the official ideology in Saudi Arabia is Islam, an ideology known as Wahhabism is preached by government-sanctioned clerics in the country. That same ideology is practiced by the Takfiri terrorists wreaking havoc in the Middle East region and beyond, as well.
“They (the Saudis) say we will return to moderate Islam, but they still don’t give women the right to drive. Is there such a thing in Islam? I guess they will give this right when they turn to the moderate one,” Erdogan said, sarcastically.
Bin Salman was appointed the first in line to the Saudi throne by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in June. Since then, he has engaged in a string of radical economic and social projects that he has attempted to portray as “reformist” in nature.
But those projects have been widely seen to be more about consolidating personal power and less about bringing about real change to the country. Over the last two weeks, Mohammed bin Salman has been involved in an aggressive push to purge royals and businessmen critical of his policies under the banner of an “anti-corruption campaign.”
And while a royal decree was issued in September to lift the ban on women’s driving in June 2018, the Wahhabi clerics in the country remain free to preach their extremely intolerant ideology.