Stand, table inside mosque in Turkey’s Kayseri stirs controversy
KAYSERİ – Doğan News Agency
CHP Kayseri Provincial Head Mustafa Ayan criticized a meeting organized for Muharram in the Talas district of Kayseri for having a “political context.”The setting up of a protocol table and stand for a mayor in a mosque, as part of activities during the holy month of Muharram in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, has come under fire from the provincial head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who slammed the move as “inappropriate” and “political.”
CHP Kayseri Provincial Head Mustafa Ayan criticized a meeting organized for Muharram in the Talas district of Kayseri for having a “political context.”
“The current mayor in Talas continues the [ruling party Justice and Development Party] AKP’s struggles to trick citizens politically by gathering everyone inside the mosque, God’s venue, placing a table inside and using it like a hall. Instead, people should be there for their belief, faith and the forgiveness of their sins,” said Ayan.
“If this meeting is not organized in the name of Allah, our faith and religion, then every meeting held in a mosque is political. The mayor has a political identity, what are you doing there? Why did you gather the citizens there?” added Ayan.
Although the holy month of Muharram has a meaning for all Muslims, Shiites and Alevis place special importance on the month due to the Battle of Karbala of 680 A.D., where the supporters and relatives of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, were killed by the forces of Yazid I, who Husayn refused to recognize as caliph. The dead are regarded as martyrs by Muslims, and the battle has a central place in Alevi and Shiite history and tradition.
Talas Mayor Mustafa Palancıoğlu denied that his speech in the mosque was political, stressing that all activities throughout the month were organized by the office of the Talas Müfti.
“I definitely did not hold a political speech. They said they moved the event inside the mosque as the weather was cold,” said Palancıoğlu, adding that he was only a guest in the event. “As the municipality, we are not responsible for the stand and table,” he said.