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LOCAL > I did not see anyone consume alcohol in mosque during Gezi protests, muezzin says

ISTANBUL

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Fuat Yıldırım, the muezzin of the mosque that had sheltered injured Gezi Park protesters, has repeated that he did not see alcoholic beverages being consumed in the mosque.

“I did not see anyone consume alcohol within the mosque or hold an alcoholic beverage bottle,” said Yıldırım in an interview with daily Yurt newspaper.

He added that he could not lie as he was a man of faith. “I cannot say something I have not seen,” he said, while also claiming to have seen a bottle outside of the mosque that resembled a beer bottle.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been asserting in speeches for the past three weeks that the protesters drank alcoholic beverages within the mosque, adding that they also entered the mosque with their shoes, two acts considered to be disrespectful in Islam. Police started an investigation into the issue after Erdoğan, at rallies in Ankara and Istanbul, openly accused the protesters of having engaged in such behavior.

Yıldırım said that he had testified to the Counter-Terrorism Department of the Turkish National Police for six hours, as part of this investigation.

The muezzin confirmed that first aid had been provided to injured protesters in the Dolmabahçe Mosque between May 31 and June 3, a time when the clashes between police and protesters were at their most fierce.

June/27/2013

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