Turkish Religious Foundations Union refused to celebrate March 8 International Women's Day to raise awareness about violence against women, the organization said on March 7.
Referring to İbrahim Zarap's assault on his ex-wife in the middle of a street in the Black Sea's Samsun province, the religious body said that they were moved to not mark International Women's Day because they wanted to make sure Zarap's crime doesn't go unpunished.
"We decided not to celebrate this day to raise awareness about violence against women. We will only mark the day by releasing messages we requested from our female members," union chair Nuri Ünal said.
Ünal also claimed that Islam had brought peace and justice to a mentality that previously viewed women as a non-human creature, although the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) track record with sanctioning women's rights and freedoms.
Ünal also said that many declarations to defend women's rights were riddled with shortcomings about women's rights and that women were those hurt the most by rights violations.
"We are all deeply saddened by the violence against women that's increasing each day in our country. The inclusion of our Holy Religion also negatively impacts us, clergymen," Ünal added.
The chairman said that Islam was in fact the religion of acceptance because it defines men and women both as the basis of humanity.
"Diyanet workers are people who own up to and respect women in all areas of life. We say this daily in sermons for public awareness."
Meanwhile, the chief imam of Hagia Sophia, Mehmet Boynukalın categorically rejected the existence of femicides altogether, saying that murder was a non-binary concept.
"Murder is murder; it doesn't change sex, 'There is a higher purpose for you in life,' is the way to look at it, no matter who it happens to, male, female, child or adult."
"The constant emphasis on 'femicides' is slogan-like media propaganda that aims to pitch women against men," the imam said.
Cinayet cinayettir; cinsiyet değiştirmez; erkek, kadın, çocuk, büyük kimin başına gelirse gelsin ilkemiz: "Sizin için kısasta hayat vardır" ilahi düsturudur. Sürekli "kadın cinayetleri" vurgusu, kadını erkeğe düşman etmeye çalışan bir sloganik medya propagandasıdır.— Mehmet Boynukalın (@M_Boynukalin) March 8, 2021
Boynukalın had previously suggested the elimination of secularism and the reversion of the republic to its "factory settings."