Religious Affairs launches probe into badminton in mosque
ANTALYA - Hurriyet Daily News
Children in Antalya can now play tennis during breaks from Quran lessons.The Religious Affairs Directorate has launched an investigation into children playing badminton in a mosque in the Muğla province in line with new protocols, while Antalya has been added to cities offering sports courses to children who attend summer Quran lessons.
Officials confirmed to Anadolu Agency that the photos in the Milas district of Muğla, which showed children playing badminton inside the mosque, were the focus of an investigation for being “inappropriate for the respectability and etiquette of a mosque.”
The directorate will release a guideline to prevent further mistakes, Anadolu Agency reported.
Photos showing children in a mosque playing on either side of badminton net prompted a quick response from opposition benches as well, with Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy İhsan Özkes showing the photos to ruling party deputies and voicing his objections.
Referencing the Dolmabahçe Mosque, which became the focus of the repeated accusations from the prime minister against Gezi protesters who took refuge there to escape tear gas, Özkes asked the Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies why they remained silent about the badminton pictures.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the Gezi Park protesters for wearing their shoes inside the mosque, and for consuming alcohol, despite the muezzin repeatedly denying such claims.
The AKP benches said it would be okay for children to play games inside mosques, according to Anadolu Agency.
Meanwhile, tennis classes are now being offered in Antalya mosques to accompany summertime Quran courses, following a protocol signed between the Religious Affairs Directorate and the Sports Ministry - the same protocol that allowed badminton classes to be given in Milas.
Antalya Mufti Ahmet Çelik also played tennis and table tennis with the children to kick off the new arrangement, which allows the mosque to offer badminton and volleyball classes, as well as in areas prepared inside and outside the mosque.
The children will be offered Quran classes three hours a day with sports training in their breaks, Çelik said, adding that some of the children have never before played tennis and seem happy to attend the classes.
A badminton net was put up inside the Milas mosque and the first match went down between local religious official Uğur Kocabaş and badminton trainer Şermin Günaydınoğlu. Badminton lessons will reportedly now be offered to all children who attend the summer Quran courses at the mosque.
Kocabaş said the arrangement allowed “students to be introduced to sports while they learn religion.” The Milas mosque is the first to realize the protocol, which went into motion in April 2012.