Another Turkish imam commits suicide, family blames mobbing

Recently retired imam Muhammed Şahin committed suicide at his home in Turkey's Kastamonu province. His family stated that the imam's suicide was related to political pressures, including those coming from the district mayor.

Duvar English

Muhammed Şahin, an imam who was working in Kastamonu province’s Pınarbaşı district in northern Turkey and retired six months ago, has committed suicide in his house in the district.

His family said that Şahin was reassigned due to political pressures and noted that he was subjected to mobbing from authorities in the district including the district mayor because he "did not behave in favor of the government.” 

After the issue became an agenda in the local press, district mayor Şenol Yaşar made a statement and the family of the imam shared additional documents.

Şahin's relatives shared a petition, which was also signed by the district mayor and political party representatives, sent to the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) requesting Şahin's relocation.

The petition stated that Şahin "has been involved in all kinds of oppositional political activities.”

“He is not expected to act in favor of the government. However, he has publicly worked in favor of the Good (İYİ) Party with his family and has been interested in politics to the extent that he has aroused antipathy in the public and lost his quality as a religious official,” the petition noted.

Şahin's family issued a statement on social media platform Facebook and said, "Despite the injustices, cruelty, assassination of reputation, exile, mobbing, pressure on his children and the loss of our brother as a result, we have kept our calm as a family."

They demanded that none of the public officials to talk about their deceased relative.

The family ended their message, “We have infinite trust in the justice of Allah and the supreme Turkish justice. There are judges in Ankara!”

On the other hand, the mayor claimed that the security forces had contacted him and that he had been asked to stay out of the scene because "there were people who wanted to create political provocation and create tension."

The mayor stated that he had never contacted the imam before and that the police had not found any suicide note.

Mil Diyanet-Sen, founded by civil servants working in Diyanet, also stated, "According to the information reaching our union, it is claimed that a serious mobbing and pressure was exerted on our imam and his family. Both our deceased imam and his children have had serious grievances."

A Turkish mufti in late July also committed suicide after suffering from mobbing and dismissal from his post due to his “lifestyle.” Accordingly,  Diyanet has not complied with a court’s decision to reinstate mufti Mehmet Deniz who was dismissed over his “clothing” and “riding bicycles and motorcycles.”