Replica Mecca, Quran-shaped cake slammed by Turkey's top religious body
Fatma Aksu / Meltem Özgenç - ISTANBUL / ANKARA
The Tuzla Municipality in Istanbul has recently inaugurated the “Hijra Walking Track” featuring a replica of the Kaaba. Hürriyet photoTurkey’s top religious body has registered its disdain at two recent efforts to celebrate Islam, describing a Quran-shaped cake as “wrong” and slamming the replicas of Islam’s holiest places and objects as “great sin.”
Two municipalities in Istanbul recently constructed replicas of the Kaaba in Mecca, as well as other sacred places.
It was also recently revealed that a Quran-shaped cake was made by a Quran class in the Black Sea province of Tokat in 2013.
“It is very wrong to use a Quran or Kaaba-shaped cake to inaugurate a company or for similar occasions,” Turkey’s top religious body, the Diyanet, said in a statement on April 21.
“A mockup [of the Kaaba] should only be used to practise how to act [during the Hajj]. Otherwise, it is a great sin to try to tawaf this mockup while thinking of fulfilling a religious duty,” the statement said.
Tawaf is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage, or the Hajj. It consists of circumambulating the Kaaba, which is the most sacred site in Islam, seven times, in a counterclockwise direction.
MHP attacks government
Meanwhile, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli used the incidents as a means for attacking the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
“Let God forgive them!” Bahçeli said in messages posted to his Twitter account late on April 21, referring to the inauguration of the “Village of the Age of Happiness” by the Üsküdar municipality in the Asian side of Istanbul on April 19, as well as to the Tuzla municipality’s “Hijra Walking Track,” which features replicas of the Kaaba, the Sevr cave and some novelties such as the lookalikes of two hills in Mecca.
“The mentality which targets buying planes for each minister, which puts theft on a pedestal and which praises commemorating Armenian gangs at the Patriarchate on a pedestal is sinking, coming to an end, collapsing,” Bahçeli tweeted.
“This nation didn’t forget ministers who at the time ordered for transfer of the Sakal-I Şerif [Prophet Muhammad’s beard] to VIP halls. Nobody will forget hypocrites and slanderers who exploit religion for politics,” Bahçeli also said.