KONYA, TURKEY – Make note of the poster in the photo that accompanies this article. Copies of it were displayed at bus stops around Konya, Turkey, during the week of September 20. Read it carefully.
In case your Turkish is rusty, here is an English translation of the sign, a quote from Surah Al-Maidah 5:51 in the Quran:
O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as friends. They are [in fact] friends of one another. And whoever is a friend to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.
The verse, taken entirely out of context, is, however, one that is popular among hardline Muslims. According to Deniz Ertub in an article in The Times of Israel, “In Turkey this verse is very famous. Many people quote it. Unfortunately, most of the time, it is mistranslated – on purpose.”
Those who use the verse to cast aspersions on Jews and Christians are doing what we call “proof-texting.”
Proof-texting is the misguided method of believing something without necessarily having a factual basis, then finding a scripture text to substantiate our belief, regardless of the context in which the verse appears.
In this instance, it is at least as important to understand verse 52, which begins, “Indeed you see those afflicted with the disease of hypocrisy race towards them, saying: ‘We fear lest some misfortune overtakes us.”
In context, the verse was written during a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims in Arabia. A core group of Muslim merchants and politicians (in these verses, called hypocrites) thought it best to maintain good relations with the Jews and Christians. They reasoned that, if Islam were defeated, they might find themselves still in the good graces of their Jewish and Christian trading and diplomatic counterparts. Those with Jewish and Christian “allies” also reckoned that Islam was likely to lose and that they might be able to find refuge and grace with their “unbelieving friends.”
Nonetheless, extreme and radical Islamists use these verses from their own Quran to warn their brethren to avoid and shun Jews and Christians. It is used as a catalyst to incite hatred and fear among Turkish citizens.
This comes at a particularly critical time as Turkish President Erdogan builds a power base from which to establish his dream of a global Muslim caliphate.
The good news is that the posters raised public outrage on social media. One Turkish gentleman tweeted,
“I met with Konya Metropolitan Municipality officials. Banners containing hate speech against Christians and Jews were confiscated from the reactions. Continue to fight against hate speech and hate crimes!”
Turkish officials have removed all the posters.
To read more news on Christian Persecution on Missions Box, go here.
- Faithwire, ‘Do Not Take Jews and Christians as Allies’: Anti-Christian Advertisements Pop Up in Turkish City as Jihadis Continue to Slaughter Kurds in Syria
- Premier, Turkish posters telling Muslims not to make friends with Christians and Jews removed
- The Times of Israel, Posters in Konya and Fighting Like Moses
- Ahval News, Public outrage leads AKP municipality in central Turkey to remove posters targeting Jews, Christians