Mall in Bursa cancels opening of Christian and Jewish prayer rooms upon attacks
Serhat Tezcan – BURSA
DHA PhotoA recently opened mall in the İnegöl district of western Bursa province has canceled the opening of its prayer rooms for Christian and Jewish visitors after being subjected to intolerant attacks, the mall’s founding president has said in a written statement.
Mobiliyum AVM, a large furniture mall opened in İnegöl on May 9, hosts around 200 domestic furniture producing firms and aimed to bring furniture producers under one umbrella. The mall was to include prayer rooms for Christian and Jewish visitors as well as Muslims, though the rooms had not been opened as they were still being readied. However, the mall decided to cancel the opening of the prayer rooms for Christian and Jewish visitors, Haluk Özbek, the mall’s founding president, said in a written statement.
“This mall project started with the goal of making İnegöl a center of furniture in the world. For that reason we wanted to include worshipping rooms for our foreign guests and we opened a church apart from a mescit [small mosque] in the mall. But we have been subjected to ugly and incomprehensible attacks,” said Özbek in a written statement on May 21.
“Some groups have misused the prayer rooms and brought the issue to a different dimension. Mobiliyum AVM has been exposed to ugly attacks via the media as well as by action. We have decided to reverse our decision to open prayer rooms, as we have lacked support from democratic circles against these attacks,” said the statement.
Özbek also told daily Hürriyet the attacks were caused by a lack of tolerance.
“We have respect for different religions and beliefs in our culture. We want to reflect that. We wanted foreign guests to be able to worship when they come here. We want this to be understood and be able to reopen the worshiping rooms,” said Özbek.