The Turkish Cypriot Mufti, Dr Talip Atalay, on Sunday called for investigation by the government of the placement by some of the Byzantine flag on the roof of a mosque in Larnaca.
Some media in the north reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said such a move was an attempt by some to provoke. Referring to the vandalism last week of a mosque in Limassol, Akinci reportedly said the latest incident should not be underestimated. He called on the Greek Cypriot side to go after those who did it.
Atalay’s office said in a written statement that they were informed of this incident through photos on news portals showing a Byzantine flag hanging from the roof of the mosque in Larnaca on Sunday morning.
He said that they immediately asked the Archbishopric to investigate this through the office facilitating the interfaith dialogue between the island’s religious leaders but also asked his representative, Imam Shakir Alemdar, to go on site and investigate. But the flag was no longer there when the imam arrived at the mosque in question, Atalay’s statement said.
The Mufti called on authorities of the Republic to immediately investigate the “dangerous and ugly” images reported by news portals and for security measures “to prevent such actions, which aim to create hostility and sow seeds of hate, especially by using religious sensitivities, attacking religious places, humiliating religious beliefs and believers.”
According to some Turkish Cypriot media the photos of the flag hanging from the mosque’s roof was reported in Greek Cypriot media. A small number of Greek Cypriot media that published that photo however earlier on Sunday, cite Turkish Cypriot news portal Voice of the Island as their source.
The reported incident follows the widespread condemnation last week of the vandalism at Koprulu mosque in Limassol when petrol bombs were thrown into its premises while the outer wall was vandalised with racist graffiti against Islam and immigrants.