RIGHTS > Alevis fire at government in ongoing cemevi quarrel

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Leaders of the Alevi community respond to government officials who have claimed that Alevi worship in mosques as Muslims. Some community members say they are being forced to deny their beliefs by the AKP

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İpek Yezdani İpek Yezdani ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr

Alevi leaders have harshly criticized senior government officials for arguing that Alevis should pray in mosques, noting that the community’s cemevis are a sine qua non for the group.

“Alevis never discuss this issue among themselves: Our worship place is the cemevi, and we are all clear on this issue. Our understanding of Islam is different to Bekir Bozdağ’s understanding of Islam. This is why the Alevis have been massacred for centuries in these lands,” Ali Kenanoğlu, a prominent figure in the Turkish Alevi community and leader of the Hubyar Sultan Alevi Cultural Association, told the Hürriyet Daily News on July 11 after Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ had said Alevism was an interpretation within Islam and that Alevis were are all Muslims.

“The place of worship for all Muslims around the world is the same; their common house of worship is the mosque,” Bozdağ said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Hüseyin Aygün had applied to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office on July 7 for a cemevi to be established in Parliament. In his refusal, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek also said the house of worship for Islam was the mosque, adding: “Alevism is not a separate religion.”

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also lent strong support to Çiçek.

“The majority of Alevis do not consider Alevism to be a different religion and live according to that belief. We’d better look at the teaching in Islam that considers Alevism as having been within the Islamic religion for centuries, rather than a deputy’s words,” Arınç said July 11 in Ankara.

In response, Kenanoğlu said: “They are trying to make us discuss our houses of worship, but we will not be deceived. Cemevis are our houses of worship and we won’t discuss this. This is not a theological discussion, this is about freedom of religion.”

Attacking the government’s democratic credentials, Kenanoğlu said, “The AKP’s ‘progressive democracy’ is like the tolerance of the Ottomans: They are both huge lies.”

Kemal Bülbül, the chairman of another Alevi organization, the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association (PSAKD), said AKP authorities were forcing Alevis to go to mosques and deny their own beliefs in the same way that they did during Ottoman times.

“We want cemevis, because cemevis are our houses of worship. However, they are playing an underhand game by preventing us from carrying out our most natural human right,” Bülbül said.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

7/12/2012 4:53:53 PM

Yeah DENIZ There have been many who have sent out the warnings of the AKP's true goals in society and your PART 2 really defines how they are doing it. In every Christian faith there are many names given to the places of worship and our rites and rituals are all different. So be it church, chapel, cathedral, or grange hall- all are houses of the Lord. Simple. The Alevis should have their rights if Turkey is to become a true democracy. I can't wait for them to sing/dance iin the mosque.

Deniz Can

7/12/2012 8:22:24 AM

PART1 There is no doubt that the AKP made some good works since 2002. However, on the other hand, there is no doubt that it has been trying to transform the society into Orthodox Sunni belief by using indirect assimilation policy under the name of DEMOCRACY. History has got enough examples about the political behaviour of these type of systems had objective to create a single society by using the same methodology: intimidation, isolation, discrimination, and pacification

Deniz Can

7/12/2012 8:22:00 AM

PART 2 Example:everyone doesn't have to fast in Ramadan, but there is place to eat, or because of being attacked no one would dear to eat; everyone is allowed to wear what he/she wants but she/he will be isolated if someone is dressed “un-Islamic”or there is no public-job or he/she will be stigmatised.Alevis’ can have their own worship, but in Mosques.Building in every corner one Mosque is to suppress other cultures.It is a different version of Kemalist-nationalism, may called“Orthodox Sunnism”
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