'Some mosques converted into bars, most in Balkans'

The Turkish Historical Society (TTK) has issued a report about mosques abroad, particularly in the Balkans, that have been converted into restaurants, nightclubs or other entertainment venues serving alcohol.

'Some mosques converted into bars, most in Balkans'

According to the report, Taşköprü Mosque, often referred to as the Thursday Marketplace Mosque, and Çukur Mosque in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, were converted into restaurants where alcoholic drinks are served, while a mosque in Constanta, Romania, was transformed into a nightclub.

TTK President Yusuf Halaçoğlu stated that in the past Turks would never cause damage to churches, opting instead to transform them into either museums or mosques. "These mosques should at the bare minimum be converted into museums. Irreverence to places of worship is unacceptable," he said.

According to the report, the Taşköprü Mosque was built in the 16th century and continued to function as a mosque until the 1940s, though its minaret had been destroyed before that. In the 2000s, the mosque was converted into a restaurant that serves Italian food. A huge vase was placed to cover the niche indicating the direction of Mecca and its windowpanes were replaced with colorful glass. Outside, one can easily distinguish the lead-covered dome and the stone walls of the mosque.

Çukur Mosque, close to the office of Plovdiv's mufti, or highest-ranked religious scholar, is another Ottoman building transformed into a restaurant. The second floor of the building is being used as an open veranda, while the base of the destroyed minaret has been decorated with flowers. The restaurant offers a variety of alcoholic beverages.

Halaçoğlu noted that converting places of worship into nightclubs or other entertainment places is not acceptable in any religion. "These places of worship should at the very least be converted into churches or museums where irreverence cannot be exercised," he said.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2008, 11:23
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