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Erdogan praises Mark Zuckerberg over pro-Muslim message

Mark Zuckerberg has received praise from Turkish President Erdogan for his stance against anti-Muslim rhetoric. It comes after presidential candidate Donald Trump's demand for a ban on Muslims traveling to the US.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday for defending Muslims against discrimination.

"I highly value Mark Zuckerberg's message for pointing out the profound difference between Islam and terrorism since these two concepts are often mentioned in the same breath these days," he wrote on his official Facebook account.

"As I always express on different platforms, Islam is a religion of peace."

Erdogan's post, which was in English and also his native Turkish, came in response to Zuckerberg's message on Wednesday, which said the Muslim community should not fear being "persecuted for the action of others" after attacks in Paris and elsewhere have brought fear and confusion towards Muslims around the world.

"After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others."

"If you're a Muslim in this community...I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you," Zuckerberg wrote on his official Facebook page.

Zuckerberg's supportive message came days after Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump demanded a ban on Muslims traveling to the United States.

Erdogan's softened stance on social media?

Erdogan, who appears to have softened his social media stance, has taken to his official Facebook page and Twitter account, @RT_Erdogan, to regularly post his speeches and statements.

Though before the March 2014 elections, the Turkish strongman had raised the option of banning Facebook in the country, arguing that his opponents were using social media to attack him. He had blocked Twitter and YouTube before the elections.

Most recently, Erdogan and his government have been blamed for cracking down on free speech in the country after a third Turkish journalist was arrested following an allegedly slanderous article.

smm/bw (AFP)

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