Parliament says defense on cemevi ‘constitutional’

Parliament says defense on cemevi ‘constitutional’

Parliament says defense on cemevi ‘constitutional’

Parliament has had a mosque since 1989, but no other religious buildings are located on its premises. Daily News Photo

Parliament has defended itself against Alevi organizations furious at its recent reiteration that cemevis are not houses of worship, basing its decision on the Constitution and previous court rulings.

The Parliament Speaker’s Office released a statement in which it noted that groundless comments were being attributed to the office by the media in last few days regarding the issue of “Cemevis and Alevism.”

“On such a sensitive issue which has historical deepness, no view belonging to Parliament has been formed,” the statement said, recalling that the issue subject to discussions was mainly “a responsive petition” addressed to the Ankara 6th Administrative Court demanding the dismissal of a case which was filed by Republican People’s Party (CHP) Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün.

Aygün had filed a formal application in May requesting a place be provided for a cemevi at Parliament, but Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek rejected the idea.

“The petition introduced to the court entirely includes related clauses within the Constitution and the related laws and rulings made by courts in cases opened on this issue earlier,” the statement said.

Parliament said it was not possible to consider cemevis places of worship because “Alevism, which is a subgroup of Islam, cannot have a place of worship other than mosques or masjids, which are common places of worship within Islam.” The statement elicited rage among Alevis.

Parliament has had a mosque since 1989, but no other religious buildings are located on its premises.

Alevism is widely perceived as a liberal sect of Islam, although many characterize it as a belief system separate from Islam. Alevis, who are described as followers of the Caliph Ali, the nephew and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, conduct religious practices distinct from Turkey’s Sunni majority.

The Alevi worship ceremony is called a “cem,” and is traditionally held in a cemevi, while Sunnis worship in a mosque. Unlike most other Muslim practices, Alevi rituals are conducted mostly in Turkish. The ceremony features music and dance called the “semah.”