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RIGHTS > EP rapporteur asks about cemevi talks

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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European Parliament Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten has asked for information on the request by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Hüseyin Aygün for a cemevi (Alevi worship house) to be established at the Turkish Parliament, according to CHP deputy Ayşe Danışoğlu.

“The first thing that Ria Oomen-Ruijten asked was why the CHP’s proposal on establishing a cemevi in the Parliament was rejected by the [ruling Justice and Development] AK Party,” Danışoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on July 13.

Oomen-Ruijten asked for the information during a visit by the Turkish Joint Parliamentary Commission, of which Ayşe Danışoğlu is a member, to the European Parliament. Members of the commission from the AKP, the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) visited members of the European Parliament on July 11 and 12.

“I told her [Oomen-Ruijten] the CHP position and said that if there was a mosque inside Parliament then there should also be other worship houses, according to other people’s religious beliefs. Mrs. [Oomen-]Ruijten said she shared my opinion that there should be space for every kind of religious belief according to human rights,” Danışoğlu said.

Worship place

Aygün had applied to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office on July 7 for a cemevi to be established in Parliament. His request was refused by Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek. In his refusal, Çiçek 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 on July 11, saying, “We had 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.”

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ had also said that Alevism is an interpretation within Islam and that Alevis are all Muslims.

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

July/14/2012

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