World Bulletin / News Desk
The head of the European Ahl-Al-Bayt Alevi Federation, Fuat Mansuroglu, has said those attempting to provoke tensions between Sunni and Alevi Muslims in Turkey will not succeed.
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Mansuroglu said, "the Alevis will not be deceived this time," after another Turkish Alevi group in Germany organized a mass protest against the visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Cologne last week.
Mansuroglu criticized the United Alevi Federation of Germany for organizing the demonstrations, saying "such actions should not have been taken against the prime minister."
He also slammed European attempts to divide the Muslim community by registering Alevism, a mystic branch of Shiite Islam, as a seperate religion from Islam.
"We will not let provocateurs cast a shadow to our peace," added Fermani Altun, the president of the Global Ahlal-Bayt Organization.
Alevis, not to be confused with the Alawites (Nusayris) of Syria, are the most dominant branch of Shiite Islam in Turkey, constituting around a fifth of Turkey's overall population which is mainly Sunni Muslim.
Although Turkey is constitutionally a secular country, the government includes a Religious Affairs Ministry, which assigns professionally trained officials as imams to mosques all over Turkey. However, the ministry only produces imams to represent mainstream Sunni Islam and does not cater for other religious minorities.
Although many Alevis object to working with the Religious Affairs Ministry out of concern that their places of worship will become institutionalized, an important step was made last year when the ministry organized a tour for 'dedes' - Alevi spiritual leaders.
In the past, Turkey's Law on the Abolishment of Dervish Lodges and Zawiyahs saw a number of non-state controlled religious buildings closed down, including those belonging to both Sunni and Alevi Muslims. However, the law is expected to be removed soon, thus allowing Alevis to legally run their worship houses, known as cemevis.Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Mayıs 2014, 13:41