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Turkish Cypriots protest Islamification of north

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Ahmet Unsal

Turkish Cypriot opposition parties, non-governmental organisations, and unions took to the streets on Monday to protest the Islamification of the north, after religious authorities pushed Islamic rhetoric at mosque courses attended by underage individuals.

Aside from courses teaching Islamic values to children, as reported in the north a few weeks ago, the ‘head of religious affairs’ Ahmet Unsal, who has been appointed by Turkey, also preached anti-feminist rhetoric at a mosque in Famagusta last week, which drew the ire of the opposition ‘MPs’ and NGOs.

In an announcement on Monday, opposition CTP said that they along with 40 other groups would be holding a protest outside the ‘prime minister’s office’ in the north at 5:30pm.

Teachers’ unions also called out the ‘education minister’ over the matter in a joint statement.

KTOEOS, KTOS, and DAU-SEN said in a joint statement that the ‘minister’ Nazim Cavusoglu should remember the first article of the north’s ‘constitution’, which speaks about secularism.

The debate also went to ‘parliament’ on Monday ahead of the protest, when ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli said that the people should calm down over Unsal’s statements, as the words were the cleric’s opinion.

He said that Unsal’s statements on marriage last week were misrepresented by the media.

In her counterpoint in ‘parliament’, CTP ‘MP’ Dogus Derya said that Arikli should go home along with Unsal.

She said Arikli’s statements were provocative to all women and feminists.

Last week, Unsal reportedly said: “Women work for men. It is the duty of men to pay for housing, clothing and health. Therefore, the woman must respond to her husband’s desires. Her needs will be met.”

Unsal’s controversial statements come on the back of increasing worries of radicalistation in the north. Reports last week said Islamic organisations are attempting to proselytise in north adding that some extremist organisations have been approaching minors with the aim of indoctrinating them.

 

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