A group of unions, trade associations and Alevi foundations released an official statement condemning Turkey’s top religious official Ali Erbaş for “overstepping the bounds of the legal system” in his most recent fatwas.
The statement came shortly after a conflict between the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and the Ankara Bar Association that started with comments by Diyanet President Erbaş.
“Islam considers adultery one of the biggest sins possible. It condemns homosexuality. Why? Because [homosexuality] brings along disease, and makes a whole generation rot,” Erbaş had said in his Friday sermon April 24.
The Ankara Bar Association had criticized Erbaş for “hatefully antagonizing” a portion of society and had openly condemned the religious leader.
“We strongly reprimand said person and the mentality that allows his conduct, with great shock and horror,” the Ankara Bar had said.
An official investigation had been promptly opened into the Ankara Bar Association for their comments about Erbaş on the official charges of “insulting religious values.”
A violation of the freedom of religion and faith
The statement recently released by 32 unions, associations and foundations noted that the freedom of religion and faith is a constitutional right that the Diyanet should not be making official statements about.
“The Diyanet has been giving fatwas in sharia manner, whether they’re related to religion and faith or not, including on legal manners,” the statement noted.
“The Diyanet has been taking its violations of the freedom of religion and faith too far.”
The Ataturk Thinking Association’s Çankaya Branch, The Alevi-Bektashi Federation, the European Turkish Journalists’ Association, Turkey’s Retirees’ Syndicate (Emekli-Sen), Turkish Architects Chamber and a few professional chambers were among the signatories.