Turkey’s top religious body head urges Islamic preachers to be careful when making comments on women


Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş has urged Islamic preachers across Turkey to be careful when making comments about women.

Speaking at a meeting on March 10 in the southeastern province of Hakkari, Erbaş said the way to preclude the abuse of religion was by revealing the truths about Islam.

“Even preachers who speak and work with good intentions and sincerity should be extra careful not to make their comments open to misinterpretation. Everyone who writes, talks, or reports about Islam has to be more careful,” Erbaş said.

“On July 15 [2016 coup attempt], we saw how all the truths of Islam were misused and exploited. We have seen how terrorist organizations, especially those like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL], exploited Islam’s principles and concepts. It is abusing the religious feelings of our citizens with the basic sources of religion and information. It is the abuse of our religion that gets used for commercial concerns and instrumented for others’ own benefits,” he added.

Erbaş’s statement came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed some Islamic writers over their sexist comments.

Erdoğan also called on Diyanet to take a more active role in adapting religious practices to current social conditions.

“We would never take into account the words of some marginal people who aim at nothing but to abuse the values of our religion, our nation,” Erdoğan said at an event on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day in Ankara.

His comments came after conservative Social Fabric Foundation head Nureddin Yıldız stirred debate by making a controversial comment on violence against women.

“Women should be grateful to God, because God allowed men to beat women and be relaxed,” Yıldız said on March 3 in a video posted online.


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