Fire erupts at Shiite Mosque in Istanbul amid threats to community
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
The fire caused considerable material damage inside the Muhammediye Mosque in Istanbul's Esenyurt district. AA PhotoA fire erupted in a mosque mostly attended by the Shiite Caferis in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district early July 8, after the community received repeated threats over the last week.
The fire at the Muhammediye Mosque started at approximately 2 a.m. and has led to considerable material damage, but left no one injured. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
According claims reported by Cihan News Agency, unidentified people entered the mosque using ladders before setting fire to the library. They then spread the fire to the pulpit of the mosque before running away, the report added.
The imam of the mosque also claimed that the fire was ignited at his library and then spread inside the building. “I can’t tell whether it’s a Molotov cocktail or not. A week ago, they came and threatened me. I filed a complaint to the police,” said İmam Hamza Aydın.
“They told me, ‘You are not one of us. You don’t deserve to live. You worship stones. You are Shiite. We will burn you.’ Then, a week later, they did it,” Aydın said, adding that the police had not taken any measures following his complaint.
Caferis regularly denounce discrimination and stigmatization against their community on the basis of their faith. They also criticize the government’s policies, particularly in the field of education, as an attempt at assimilation.