Alevis to voice demands in Istanbul rally on Sunday

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Alevis are prepared to hold a rally in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district on Nov. 3 demanding equal citizenship rights and freedom of faith, as well as raising their voice against “assimilation policies” over their minority sect.

Alevis, who follow a liberal sect of Islam, will voice several demands at a rally in Kadıköy, including the removal of compulsory religion courses in schools, recognition of their worship places, Cemevi, and investigating the unknown murders of Alevis. The call for rally is signed by around 50 Alevi associations.

“We want our belief to have legal status so the Alevi community can perform their rituals freely,” said the Pir Sultan Abdal Association on its website in its call to the rally.

‘Mosque-Cemevi project must be canceled’

It calls for the cancellation of a project in which a mosque and Cemevi will be built next to each other in Ankara according to the Muslim cleric Fetullah Gülen’s suggestion. “The project will have no other result than assimilation and conflict between the people of different beliefs,” said the statement.

Alevis also demand the removal of the compulsory religion courses, as well as the Religious Affairs Directorate on the ground that it is a conflicting situation that “a secular country has an institution which only serves Sunni Hanefi Muslims.” They also demand the return of land, Cemevis, and other assets that were confiscated by the state. The estates belonging to Alevis such as Hacı Bektaş Veli Dergâh Şahkulu, Garipdede and Erikli Baba should be returned to Alevi communities without any cost, it said.

The perpetrators of the Alevi murders that took place in the past should be found out, Alevis demand. The Alevi’s worship places, Cemevis, must have legal ground with amendments, according to the Alevi Associations. The Massacres targeting Alevis that took place in Sivas, Çorum, Maraş and Istanbul’s Gazi Quarter must be brought to light, the statute of limitations in such cases must be removed and those responsible must come to justice, Alevis said in their demand.

They also call for the removal of Ottoman Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim’s name from the third bridge that is being built over the Istanbul strait on the ground that the Sultan is notorious for his orders that killed over 40,000 Alevis. All discriminations against Alevis in public and private institutions must be removed and all restrictions regarding rallies and expression must be removed, said the association’s statement.

 

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