Turkey’s religious head wants politics out of mosques
AFYONKARAHİSAR - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate head Mehmet Görmez speaks at a meeting with religious heads in Afyonkarahisar. AA photoPolitical matters should not be included in preaching or praying inside the mosque, Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate head Mehmet Görmez said yesterday during a meeting with religious heads in the inner Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar.
“Matters included in citizenship books, or those with political messages should not become subjects of preaching or prayers,” Görmez said. “We need to reconsider subjects that were given out as orders and directions.”
People rarely view official or non-official interventions into their faith with favor, Görmez added, calling on religious officials to remove subjects that may “cause prejudice and reaction among citizens.”
Mosques should instead become social centers and the starting points for societal education, Görmez told religious officials.
“We need to turn mosques into natural social centers, and we need to initiate a mosque-centered education mobilization,” Görmez said, underlining the need to help remove obstacles that keep women, children and citizens with disabilities out of mosques.
Mosques should welcome all, Görmez stated, and should unite all kinds of people, forming common religious platforms and staying in touch with social and cultural organizations, Görmez said, warning officials not to turn a blind eye to the dynamics of society.
“We should build laws of fraternity and put out sparks of conflict that are becoming frequent in our country, as well as in the Muslim world. We should accept all sects and their authenticity, but should not pursue them. No one, no matter from what sect, should be forced to become the other,” he said.