Turkish mufti says ‘women should not see each other naked while swimming’
A top religious official of a northern Turkish province has stirred outcry on social media by claiming a woman “should not reveal her body to another woman while swimming.”
Rüstem Can, the mufti of the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, said he is 49 years old and has never had peace of mind while swimming in the sea because he has always tried to hide himself from other people while in his swimsuit.
“I have been jumping off the rocks into the water like seagulls, because [seeing another person naked] is against God’s will. This is a world of tests,” Can said, Demirören News Agency reported on June 29.
The mufti then advised women to do the same on beaches and pools. “They should be careful about what they wear. They should enter the sea in a way that other women cannot see them. Even women should hide their bodies from other women,” he reportedly said.
This is not the first time a Turkish mufti has drawn ire from women over comments about attire and sexuality.
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) launched an investigation against a mufti over his sexist comments in September 2017, which insinuated women who do not wear a headscarf were like “products sold at half price.”
Mehmet Yazıcı, the mufti of the Marmara province of Kocaeli’s Gölcük district, had likened women without headscarves to products sold at half price in a post on his Facebook account.
“Display products whose packages are opened are sold at half prices in stores,” he wrote.
Daily Hürriyet columnist Ertuğrul Özkök had described Yazıcı as “insensitive.”
“Men and women are not products that can be displayed or sold,” he wrote in a column.
The remarks also came after similar derogatory comments toward women who do not wear the headscarf at a symposium in Istanbul in September 2017.
Emine Merve Akyüz, a speaker at a symposium held by Akademya Magazine and the Üsküdar Municipality, compared women without headscarves to “peeled tomatoes.”
“Muslim women have to be covered. Nobody wants to buy a peeled tomato. In this sense, veiling also protects a women’s essence and shape,” she said, drawing a harsh reaction on social media.