Islam’s a “political party” not a religion, says Archbishop of Greece

29th Jan 2021
Islam’s a “political party” not a religion, says Archbishop of Greece

Archbishop Ieronymos II of Greece (Credit: Pasok Flikr CC)

Elham Asaad Buaras

The Archbishop of Greece Ieronymos II has been slammed for branding Islam a political party and not a religion.

Speaking on January 16, the Archbishop said, “Islam, its citizens, is not a religion, it is a political party, it is a political pursuit and it is the people of war, the people of the spread, this is characteristic of Islam, it is also said by the teaching of Mohammad.”

Ieronymos II stated his views on Islam while speaking on the role of the Orthodox Church during the 1821 revolution which saw Greece gain independence from the Islamic empire of the Ottoman Turks.

He went on to add that the clergy of the Orthodox Church was heavily involved in the Greek war of independence and that this was the reason so many flags during the revolution featured Christian crosses.

Greek Muslims condemned Archbishop Ieronymos II, stating that a more “constructive” rhetoric is needed for a peaceful environment, especially in contemporary days plagued by the pandemic.

“We condemn the statement of the Archbishop of Greece, Mr. Ieronimos,” said Western Thrace Turkish Minority Consultation Council. In a statement shared on the council’s Twitter account, the council said: “We hope a more peaceful language to be used instead of anti-Islamic discourse in such difficult times of pandemic.”

The head of Diyanet, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbas, called on Christians to oppose this “sick mentality.”

“The most important duty of the clergy, who should strive for peace and tranquility, should be to contribute to the culture of coexistence,” Erbas said in a statement.

“The Christian world must oppose this sick mentality. This kind of discourse aiming to marginalize Muslims feeds the racist perspective against them and leads to attacks on their lives and places of worship,” he added.

Responding to criticism Archbishop Ieronymos issued a statement the following day. “The Archbishop and our Church respect in practice all the known religions,” said a spokesman of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens.

“With everything that the Blessed Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Ieronymos, said about Islam, in the context of his recent television interview about the contribution of our Church to the Revolution of 1821, he meant nothing more than the perversion of the Muslim religion itself by extreme fundamentalists, who sow terror and death throughout the Universe,” the statement said.

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