Turkey’s ‘rocker imam’ dismissed by religious authority
A Turkish cleric who hit headlines as a “rocker imam,” has been dismissed from his profession after co-founding a music band.
Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, an imam from the southern province of Antalya whose rock band has grabbed media attention since 2015, has been under investigation by Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) for the past three months.
In July, Diyanet launched the investigation over reports that the 47-year-old imam took stage in concerts and also returned two days late after paid leave to Romania, his wife’s country.
Demirören News Agency reported on Oct. 5 that Diyanet’s Appointments and Replacements Board ultimately decided to ban Tüzer from profession.
In its decision dated Aug. 2, the institution said Tüzer had violated the code of Diyanet, which stipulates that an imam’s “creed, religious service, attitude and acts must be in accordance with Islamic customs.”
Tüzer’s band was previously allowed by Diyanet to perform concerts in Turkey and the United States.
In 2016, however, Diyanet denied Tüzer permission to perform a concert in Portugal after the “rocker” imam’s fame was spread across the world.
Saudi Arabia had refused to grant Tüzer’s request for a visa ahead of a scheduled concert in the Gulf country in 2015.
Tüzer put together a rock band named “FiRock” with his friends Doğan Sakin—the founder and guitarist of famous Turkish rock singer Erkin Koray’s Kramp band—and drummer İdris Tübcil.
FiRock gave its first concert at a yacht marina in Antalya’s Kaş district in 2013, shortly after their first video clip, “Mevlaya Gel” (Come to God), was recorded.
The band also released an album in 2014, combining rock and traditional sufi music.