Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the recent vow by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to make Saudi Arabia a bastion of "moderate Islam"
"Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.' Islam can only be one thing," Erdogan said in a speech at a program hosted in Ankara by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on women's entrepreneurship on Nov. 9.
"Recently the concept of 'moderate Islam' has received attention. But the patent of this concept originated in the West," Erdogan said.
"Perhaps the person voicing this concept thinks it belongs to him. No, it does not belong to you," he added, noting that he was "asked about 'moderate Islam' at meetings in the European Parliament many years ago."
"They are now trying to pump up this idea again. What they really want to do is weaken Islam ... We don't want people to learn about religion from foreign facts," Erdogan said, also criticizing the previous practice banning women from driving in Saudi Arabia. The ban was recently lifted with an order from King Salman requesting that driving licenses be issued to women.
"You say 'moderate Islam' but you do not allow women to drive. Is there any restriction in Islam banning women from driving? There is no such thing," he said.
The Saudi Crown Prince had made his "moderate Islam" pledge at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh on Oct. 25.
"Saudi was not like it is today before 1979. Saudi Arabia and the entire region went through a religious revival after 1979 ... But now all we will do is go back to what we were: A moderate Islam that is open to all religions, to the world, and to all traditions and people," he said.
Meanwhile, President Erdogan also blasted the OIC for "obstructing" certain plans that Turkey wants to implement to support women's rights within the OIC.
"Turkey proposes a women's platform within the OIC but some leaders of the organization do not agree," he added.