Allergic reaction to imams

Allergic reaction to imams

Allergic reaction to imams

Singer Şenay Yüzbaşıoğlu's funeral in January. AA Photo

My mother died Tuesday. She was quite old, suffering from several illnesses, almost half-dead for a long time. So her death was, while hard to say, no surprise.

After my mother’s funeral ceremonies, I became sure that I have an unexplainable, uncontrollable hatred for certain types of imams. I think those certain types of imams do not like journalists either, especially female ones who answer back. Except for a few of them like Yaşar Nuri Öztürk and certainly the sweet, lovable imam in our former neighborhood, I think I have a strong allergic reaction to imams.

I transform from my usual peaceful character (excuse me?) to an aggressive bitch (now, that’s better) when an imam comes within 10 meters.

I should not be surprised, though. All the imams I choose to hate, except for a few, are representatives and spokespersons for an extremely misogynic system. Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls.

Misandry is the hatred or dislike of men or boys. Since I have no problem with non-imam guys, I will call my imam allergy “imamandry.” (If you don’t like it, find another term.)

My imamandry must have begun when imams started becoming more visible in my life and in Turkey (2002?). Before that, I had nothing against them. Then my good friend, my best friend (why not commemorate his memory now), dear Nahit Yücel, died at an early age. (Yes, women can have male best friends.) At his funeral, the imam at the big mosque at Selamiçeşme treated women in the yard like – let me say it – dogs. If it were not for my sorrow and the respect I had for my dear friend’s wife and two children, I would have hit the imam there. Right in the face. However, it was the first time I had come across such a humiliating attitude toward women and in a house of God. Also, my nerves were numbed by the sorrow of the loss… Maybe I was shy… Maybe that was before I diagnosed myself with my imam allergy.

Not anymore. I am older, wiser and hate them more.

Over the years, I realized that this woman-hating attitude was the popular stance around mosque yards. I had to hold myself recently at the mosque in Avcılar when a fanatic from the congregation acted like a militant imam and tried to herd the women there. I was having a good day and the fake Avcılar imam was saved.

Anyway, I think the type of imams I hate are not targeting the “obedient, silent, shy” women who stand by, with their headscarves tied, waiting for directions, almost non-existent. In other words, women who are quiet just like me (Hah, got you!). All right, those women who are exactly the opposite of me are quite safe.

I don’t put a headscarf on except when it is snowing. Now I will form a difficult sentence; so take a deep breath before you start reading: I wish those girls who were banned from universities because they were wearing a headscarf could be as active as us (you know whom when I say “us”) while we were supporting them, defending their rights to enter the public domain, that is, universities, with their headscarves on, in defending the right of any woman who refuses to wear a headscarf and who insists on her right to have her hair or head covered the way she likes to wear it anywhere, especially in mosque yards and/or inside mosques – where the pressure mounts – or any other place that a woman is expected to or forced to cover her head. Any questions? In other words, I expect every covered woman to support my right to refuse to wear the headscarf as much as I support her right to be accepted everywhere with her headscarf on.

This imam who was assigned to my mother’s funeral made a slight attempt to treat me like an insect; in turn, I made a slight attempt to treat him like an insect. My brother got involved, but the congregation was able to stop us before we got physical. Everything was perfect. He (the imam) did his job; we laid our mother to rest according to Islamic rites, not according to his (the imam’s) self-made rules. He (the imam) had a beautiful voice, though, and recited the Quran poignantly… Wait, that’s what he does for a living, right?

After he (the imam) was finished with the burial proceedings, he set out for his next victims and I set out for my next imams.