Turkey's religious top body marks holy month for Alevis
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
DHA PhotoThe head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has sent a letter to the Alevi community for the holy month of Muharram, as well as Ashura and Karbala, saying all Muslims should unit under common values in order to avoid new Karbalas, regardless of sectarian differences.
“No matter their sect, temperament, language, culture and region, all Muslims around the world need to develop a common language, culture, thought and feelings togetherness in order to avoid new Karbalas,” said Mehmet Görmez in his letter to Alevi religious leaders (dedes), as well as Bektaşi and Caferi opinion leaders and NGOs working on the topic.
Efforts to build a wall of separation between Sunnis and Alevis by focusing on Karbala would destroy Islamic brotherhood and unity, Görmez said, adding that a believer in Islam should stand against felons wherever and whenever.
In the Battle of Karbala of 680 A.D., the supporters and relatives of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, were all killed by the forces of Yazid I, the Sunni Umayyad caliph, who Husayn refused to recognize as caliph. The dead are regarded as martyrs by Muslims, and the battle has a central place in Alevi and Shiite history and tradition.
Görmez will host a Muharram feast on Nov. 3 as part of the “Ashura Day and Commemorating of the Karbala Martyrs” event, while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced that he will attend the Hacıbektaş Veli Culture Association’s Ashura event on Nov. 8, in the Hacıbektaş district of the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir.