Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (Turkish American National Steering Committee photo)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (Turkish American National Steering Committee photo)

President Erdogan delivered a much-needed message of unity and a call to action to American Muslims at a time when Muslims worldwide are facing persecution. The speech was delivered on September 21, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Protesters attempted to cause a disruption, but President Erdogan advised the audience to ignore the distraction and absorb his message. Speaking in Turkish to a welcoming and often uproarious crowd, estimated to be over two thousand, Erdogan acknowledged the support of American Muslims and offered a rallying cry to Muslims-at-large.

Less than two miles from the United Nations Headquarters, where the 72nd General Assembly was in session, President Erdogan called out the UN’s lack of an effective response to the slaughter of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He declared the crisis, “a test for entire humanity and particularly, the Islamic world,” and criticized their insensitive response to the Rohingya genocide, stating that the situation is so horrible one cannot help but be grieved. He vowed that Turkey, who has already given 75 million in aid, would continue to assist the persecuted Muslims.
Warning of the duplicity of the Islamophobia industry, which is provoked by a select circle, President Erdogan urged American Muslims to control their own narrative by informing people of Islam. He reiterated that Da’ish, also known as the Islamic State, are not Muslim and do not practice Islam. Erdogan cautioned that this deliberate mislabeling hurts the legitimate struggle of Muslims and is part of global Islamophobia, which has been on the rise.
President Erdogan urged American Muslims to be good Muslims, follow
Holy Qur’an and the way of the Holy Last Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him), be exemplary members of the community, thereby, reshaping the narrative. Calling this the best response to the terrorists, Erdogan promised the strength of American Muslims in the U.S. will be a source of motivation for Muslims all over the world.

Finally, Erdogan closed by saying the Islamic world needs a new awakening and presented the following call to action. American Muslims must speak out concerning atrocities against Muslims; remember that Muslims follow one religion and must unify and never deviate from the faith.

Despite the presence of interpreters and media President Erdogan’s message was suppressed. The overwhelming news coverage in the days following his address overlooked President Erdogan’s timely message and instead focused on the protestors’ minutes-long distraction and subsequent physical apprehension and ejection from the premises, allegedly by Turkish security guards.

Anyone who may have wondered about the content of President Erdogan’s speech would be hard pressed to find it by reading U.S. news. Hopefully, those present will take President Erdogan’s message of unity, amplify and act upon this much needed direction.