I was born to a Sunni family and now I'm curious
I was born into a Sunni family. It was only once, once in his lifetime, that I heard my father say we were “Hanafi.”
For all of my life, I have never heard even once from a member of my family or my elders that we were “Sunnis.” My family was originally from the Balkans. They had emigrated to Turkey. They were pious. My maternal grandfather and grandmother and my paternal grandmother all went to Mecca for the pilgrimage.
My mother, until recently, only when she was hardly able to walk because of the pain in her legs, did her payers five times a day. She is still trying to perform them.
For all of our lives, the sect that we belonged to was nothing of curiosity for us. In other words, we never paid attention.
Since our sect, our belonging did not matter to us, naturally, it was nothing to make a point of that our neighbor was an Alevi, or had a different belief. It did not matter for us.
We all lived together in the Kahramanlar neighborhood in the Aegean city of İzmir. Throughout my childhood, I never witnessed any religion-based fight or any kind of belief polarization. In Turkey, we grew up as happy children of the neighborhood.
Our friendships from our old neighborhood still continue and we're still not curious which sect the other belongs to.
However, today I am curious about this. In this geography called the Middle East, where a major part of my country lies, why has “sectarianism” become so important?
I am also curious about this:
Why is it that those people who act on behalf of “the Sunni sect” in this region somehow cannot come up with a pluralist, tolerant and democratic movement?
I'm looking at Egypt.
The leader of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, which claims it has been oppressed for years, could only receive 25 percent of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections. Then, in the second round, he was barely elected president thanks to alliances, and the first thing he did was form an oppressive authoritarian regime.
I am looking at Iraq. Organizations that act in the name of Sunnis cut off people’s heads; they bomb everywhere.
I am looking at Afghanistan, Peshawar, Syria...
Those people who eat human livers, who cut heads off and who videotape these scenes and distribute them to the world with pride are all Sunnis.
And I am looking at Turkey…
The government is designing its domestic and foreign policy based on the Sunni sect. It is wearing such a heavy Sunni dress that it is able to accuse a judge who has made a decision it does not like of “being an Alevi.”
It is even building bridges, where all citizens in this country will pass over, using the names of Sunni pride and arrogance. Now, the entire world is saying the regime they have built in the name of Sunni Islam is openly moving toward totalitarianism.
I'm from a Sunni family. I have never, through all of my life, ever wondered who is Sunni and who is Alevi. But now, I am curious. Why?
Who and why are they making me ask this question at this age?
Is it the sect I was born into?
Or is it the politicians who are trying to erect totalitarian monuments based on that sect?
Don’t be mistaken that any other would be any different…
If I were born to a Shiite family, instead of a Sunni one, I would be asking the same questions, but for the Shiite sect…