Angriffe auf alevitische Gebetsstätten in der Türkei
A string of attacks on places of worship and a community leader of Turkey’s largest Alevi community has roused fears that a surge in nationalism is stoking ethnic tensions ahead of next year’s elections.
On Aug. 5, two men attacked Selami Saritas, the leader of a cemevi — the Alevi place of worship — in Istanbul’s Kartal district. Saritas explained that two men on a motorcycle stopped him to ask for directions while he was in his car. But once he opened his car window, they attacked him. “One started shouting insults at me, all the while trying to punch me,” he said, explaining that he kept the car horn pressed the entire time to call for help.
The attack on Saritas on Aug. 5 comes after five different Alevi institutions in the Turkish capital of Ankara were attacked and vandalized last week, raising fears of a flare-up in the Sunni-Alevi rift. The timing coincides with the beginning of Muharram, a holy month for Alevis, heterodox Muslims who make up as much as 20% of the 80-million-plus population of Turkey. During this month, believers mourn the killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and fast — often breaking their fast with large communal meals.
“Sadly, these attacks have occurred during our month of mourning,” said Saritas, who also holds the deputy chair of the Federation of Alevi Foundations, one of the largest platforms of the community. “I have filed a claim. The attacks against our community in our days of mourning are no good. But we are a peaceful community and will not rise to the provocations.”
Quelle: Al Monitor