Disabled-friendly mosque presented
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul Tuzla district’s first disabled-friendly mosque opened yesterday. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELIstanbul’s Tuzla district and the Directorate of Religious Affairs have collaborated on a project to refurbish all mosques in the district in order for them to be accessible for those with disabilities.
Under the project the district’s Çiçekçiler mosque’s common areas have been renovated, and a restroom suitable for the needs of the disabled and an elevator that facilitates their access to the mosque have been added.
The mosque’s yard has also been equipped with ground markers to assist the vision-impaired. The total budget for the project, which foresees similar rehabilitation of the other 58 mosques in the district, is 1 million Turkish Liras, according to information provided by Tuzla Municipality.
Tuzla Mayor Şadi Yazıcı emphasized the collaboration that was behind the project, speaking at a press conference held to mark the reopening of the mosque as a disabled-accessible facility. “We consulted with Religious Affairs about our ambition to renovate the restrooms at Tuzla’s mosques in order that they would have the most hygienic conditions possible.
Görmez was very excited about this project and also offered to renovate the mosques to suit the needs of our disabled citizens,” Yazıcı said.
Görmez said the directorate had asked Tuzla Municipality to participate in more such collaborations, including making the same renovations at mosques in a developing province in eastern or southeastern Anatolia, to be funded by Tuzla Municipality resources.
“We want to see all of the 86,000 mosques in the Republic of Turkey have the same level of hygiene and accessibility. The mosques should be appropriate for hosting women, and restroom conditions are therefore very important. Every mosque must have a ladies restroom that complies with good health standards,” he said.
Görmez also said mosques should host activities that respond to young people and children’s social needs.
‘MOSQUES SHOULD BE PART OF URBAN TRANSFORMATION’
Mehmet Görmez, the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, has said the ongoing urban transformation projects in Turkey should cover the renewal of mosques.
“It is a matter of aesthetics, but it is also a matter of public safety, since the vast majority of these mosques are not considered suitable by the Earthquake Directorate,” he said.
Recalling the ongoing academic discussions at the International Mosque Symposium, Görmez said his administration was not involved in the construction process of Turkey’s mosques and that their sole duty was to appoint the clergy to their posts. Nevertheless, he said:
“The building of mosques should take aesthetic standards into consideration because mosques are not only temples, but are centers of civilization.”