Stephen Coughlin presented a statement at a Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Warsaw, Poland, where he talked about the growing negative influence of The Diyanet, which is the Directorate of Religious Affairs, an official state organ of Turkey, whose head said its purpose is “to dominate the world.” Full text below.
Working Session No 11
Fundamental Freedoms 1
Including Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association, Nation Human Rights Institutions, etc
OSCE / ODIHR
17 September 2018
Thank you, madam moderator, ladies and gentlemen. There is an OSCE ODIHR flyer Hate Crimes Reporting – Hate Crimes against Muslims made available outside this room, which states –
- Muslim communities across the OSCE region are the victims of rhetoric that often associates them with terrorism and extremism, or portrays the presence of Muslim communities as a threat to national identity.
Leaving aside that the specific “epidemic” of knife and related blade attacks that can be traced to fatwas to that end, this intervention raises specific questions on the role of the Diyanet. From the Diyanet’s own webpage –
- The Diyanet, the Directorate of Religious Affairs is an official state organ of Turkey authorized by Article 136 of the Constitution of Turkey in 1924.
This makes the Diyanet an arm of Turkish state power. It is headed by Ali Erbaş. In April, he Tweeted:
- “The fundamental purpose of our existence is to dominate the world”.
Is pointing this out “bigotry”?
In recognition of the large and growing number of Diyanet Centers in Europe and North America, national security analysts in Europe have begun raising the issue, fully justified from a national security perspective –
- “(The) Diyanet – and through it Ankara – will become the sole mediator between European Islamic communities and the Western authorities . . . Without the aid from Diyanet or other foreign religious organizations European authorities will not be able to enforce law and order in the Islamic suburbs of Paris, Toulouse or large and small cities in Germany and the Netherlands in the near future.”
From Paris, to Toulouse, to the small cities of Germany and the Netherlands there are indicators that this is a genuine current concern. In the United States, there are indicators that Turkey is exercising control of the Muslim Brotherhood inside the United States through its Diyanet system as well.
On the downstream effects of the suppression of speech, as it is presumed that all national security players in all countries are under some oath or obligation to “support and defend”, Unconstrained Analytics asks: At what point do corrosive postmodern narratives of “Bigotry that associates ‘them’ with terrorism and extremism” begin to be scored as intentional interference with national security analysis that might otherwise provide bona fide indicators and warning of such an activity? When does it constitute negligence when national security analysts fail to undertake such analysis for fear of being labelled bigots?
Unconstrained Analytics recommends that the OSCE and all participating States – reconsider the corrosive nature of the dominant “diplomatic speak” on the legitimate aspirations and requirements of the nations they represent? In truth and in fact, national identity is not racism and a healthy patriotism and national pride is not bigotry. Thank you!