Let the religious orders be legitimate

Let the religious orders be legitimate

It has been reported the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is going to invite all the leaders of different communities and religious orders according to a list.

They will gather under the umbrella of the Diyanet and negotiate vis-à-vis the transparency issues of communities and orders. They will discuss what kind of line will be drawn between state affairs and religion and belief services; maybe they will make a joint declaration. 

However, there are certain people who are annoyed with this instead of being happy about it. 

A segment is gnashing their teeth at Diyanet, accusing them of legitimizing religious orders in the eyes of the state.  

Did Diyanet invent these structures? Well, no. Are the communities a fact in our lives? Yes, they are. Are the orders a social phenomenon? Yes, they are. Do sheikhdoms become nonexistent by declaring that they do not exist anymore? No, they don’t. Didn’t the lodges dry out when they were banned by law? No, they did not. 

Then, what Diyanet is doing is good. 

Instead of being pushed underground, let the communities and orders conduct their activities aboveground. 
Instead of being out of the zone of control, let them go under the scrutiny of the state. Instead of remaining in the dark, let them become transparent.   

Instead of being banned or outlawed, let them be forced to obtain legal status. Instead of being excluded by the state, let them be known, recognized, contacted and monitored; this way, it would be so much better. 
Bilal Erdoğan, the son of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is right. Otherwise, how would you call them to account for the money collected as alms or the skins of the animals sacrificed during the Feast of Sacrifice? Or where and how they spend their donations? 

Do not forget that the Gülenist monster grew underground. Where its branches and arms reached was not fully noticed because it was outside the zone of control and far from being transparent. By the time it was noticed, it was far too late. 

Instead of criticizing Diyanet, as a matter of fact, you should encourage them. You should hearten Diyanet so that new Gülenist-like gangs do not blossom and grow in the confusion. 

Do not worry; don’t be afraid. Just because religious communities and orders are to become transparent and registered by the state, secularism is not threatened.  

You better be afraid of just the opposite. I mean, weren’t we very close to losing so much more? 

Detail in the cycling ban in Iran 

Iran’s religious leader, Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa with power of law banning Iranian women from riding bicycles in public areas. This act is being forbidden with powerful words such as “haram.” 

However, Iranian women started a campaign defying the ban by riding bicycles in places open to the public. I was curious what the regime’s reaction would be to this blatant protest. 

I searched many sources and different media. The name of the vice police was not mentioned in any of the stories. They have not attempted to use force to implement the fatwa. 

I did not come across any detail about any interference with women who defiantly posed riding their bicycles. There were photographs of women with smiling faces riding their bicycles.  

This means that despite Khamenei’s fatwa, President Hassan Rouhani is keeping his promise. He had revoked the power to interfere with women on the streets from the vice police. 

The nightmare of the past, the dreaded revolutionary guards with sticks in their hands, were to be transformed into informers only, reporting to the nearest center any alleged inappropriateness they saw on the streets. 

It means that they have been transformed and that their powers have been restricted.  

Otherwise, while the fatwa is still valid, would they have just watched the bicycle protest that is being conducted so blatantly on social media?  

At least this part of the bicycle ban story is pleasing on the behalf of Iranians.