A German clinic has announced that it terminated the employment contract of a Turkish heart surgeon over his comments that "homosexuality is a disease." The doctor's statements echoed those of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş.
Several German politicians have found recent remarks of Diyanet head Ali Erbaş on LGBTI individuals alarming, with one saying: "Erbaş's statements once again showed that the situation for LGBTI people in Turkey remains very difficult, indeed dangerous." They have also said that they were expecting imams affiliated with Diyanet's branch DİTİB, Germany's largest Islamic umbrella group, to "abide by the basic values of freedom and tolerance."
Prosecutors’ investigation widens to include Diyarbakır Bar Association after criticism of top cleric
Turkish prosecutors have extended their investigation into bar associations over their criticism of Diyanet head Ali Erbaş, who last week suggested that "homosexuality causes illness." After the Ankara Bar Association, the Diyarbakır Bar Association also now faces charges of “insulting religious values.”
The Positive Living Association, a non-governmental organization advocating the rights of individuals living with HIV, has urged Diyanet head Ali Erbaş to apologize for his remarks targeting the LGBT community and HIV-positive individuals. Saying that Erbaş's statements contradict logic, science and law, the association noted that he discriminated the society with hate speech.
The head of Turkey’s top religious authority has once again targeted LGBT individuals during a sermon. “Islam curses homosexuality. What is the reason of that? The reason is that it brings with it illnesses and decay to lineage,” Ali Erbaş said on April 24, while addressing the novel coronavirus outbreak. Last year, Erbaş had claimed that the pride march “goes against creation,” calling same-sex relations “heresy."
Turkey's top religious body, Diyanet, has said that fasting during the month of Ramadan is a religious duty which cannot be deferred due to the coronavirus epidemic. It said in an official statement that there is no scientific evidence of a link between fasting and contracting the virus.
Diyanet head Ali Erbaş has said that he gave a list of names, including experts on psychology and sociology of religion, to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca in order for them to be included in the Social Sciences Commission, of which the formation was announced by the minister on April 7 as part of the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic.
A Twitter user and citizen journalist dubbed “Ankara Bird” was detained on April 2 on charges related to the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, Ankara’s main suspect for the 2016 coup attempt. Friends of the user, identified only as O.Y., seem to think his detention was prompted by critical Tweets he had written about branches of government.
Turkey’s top religious authority issues fatwa on donating zakat to state’s campaign against COVID-19
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has issued a fatwa on donating zakats to the state's campaign that was launched to collect money to be used in the country's struggle against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "What one needs to be careful about is that the person donating money should state that it's zakat," Diyanet said.
Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has said that payments, preparations and other procedures for would-be Turkish pilgrims to Saudi Arabia have been halted indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the pilgrims who returned to Turkey from Umrah were put under quarantine in student dormitories across the country.
Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has suspended all congregational prayers in mosques, including traditional Friday prayers, amid coronavirus fears. “Including the Friday prayers, congregational prayers will be suspended in mosques. During this period, instead of Friday prayers, [Muslims] can perform noon prayers [at home],” Diyanet head Ali Erbaş said.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate said on March 13 that instead of attending weekly collective mosque prayers on Fridays, Muslims in the high risk group can pray at home amid coronavirus concerns. Underscoring that Friday prayers were a must for every obliged person, the statement said that various justifications could excuse a person from the congregation, including danger to life, property or health.
The head of Turkey's top religious authority has advised worshipers during a Friday prayers sermon to pay attention to hygiene amid coronavirus fears, by recalling a saying of the Prophet Muhammad. “Our esteemed Prophet makes a connection between physical cleanliness and faith in the heart and says, 'Cleanliness is half of the faith,'” said Ali Erbaş on March 6.
Three educational seminars conducted by Turkey's Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) were held in three five-star luxurious resorts in the vacation destination of Antalya in January and February. Diyanet has become notorious in recent years for both using its resources for the purpose of promoting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's project of creating a pious generation in Turkey, as well as funding major mosque projects for other countries abroad, a source of controversy as its budget easily outpaces the budget of other key ministries.
France will replace an imam exchange program that was established in 1977 and allowed teachers to be sent to France from nine countries to teach languages and culture without Paris' supervision, President Emmanuel Macron said on Feb. 17. Instead, France will sign bilateral agreements with those nine countries, though not with Ankara.