The bonds of the ummah (community) of Muslims worldwide are too strong to break, said Turkey’s president on Friday, marking the start of celebrations of the birth of the prophet Muhammad.
“What makes us worry about the problems of people who are thousands or tens of thousands of kilometers away from our country is Islam as a common denominator, and the consciousness of being an ummah,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a ceremony in Istanbul starting the week of Mawlid al-Nabi festivities for Muhammad.
“Universal Muslim fellowship has no limits. No one can sow discord among us,” he added.
Calls by some to expel the Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey back to Syria are not acceptable, Erdogan said, stressing the Muslim solidarity between the Turkish and Syrian people.
Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world, and has so far spent $40 billion on them, according to official figures.
Erdogan added: ''We are in an age of crisis where individual ambitions, social illnesses, injustices, oppression and violence have descended over humanity like a nightmare.''
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