26/04/2020 | Writer: Yıldız Tar

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Administration’s hate khutbah which targets homosexuals and people living with HIV, criticized by several political parties, NGOs and unions around the country.

Reactions to hateful khutbah of Turkish Religious Affairs Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

The Directorate of Religious Affairs Administration has targeted the LGBTI+'s and people living with HIV in Friday’s khutbah. Religious Affairs Administration Chairperson Ali Erbaş spread hate and discrimination with his khutbah titled, "Ramadan: Patience and Will Training".

Friday's khutbah is being broadcasted in mosques across the country. In the khutbah, homosexuals and those living with HIV were targeted with the following statements:

“People! Islam accepts adultery as one of the greatest harams. It curses the people of Lot, the homosexuality. What is the wisdom of this? The wisdom here is that it brings diseases and degenerates the generation. Hundreds of thousands of people a year are exposed to the HIV virus caused by this great haram, which passes as adultery in the Islamic Literature. Let's come and fight together to protect people from this kind of evil."

Reactions from all around the country

Political parties, trade unions, and non-governmental organizations are reacting to the khutbah of hatred:

*Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairperson Gökçe Gökçen: “Being unaware of how many people would be targeted because of such a statement during the epidemic period is a disaster by itself. I condemn those who do this by using religious feelings and rhetoric that almost justifies hate crimes.”

*Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ankara Deputy Filiz Kerestecioğlu reacted to the khutbah of hatred, "This is a hate crime" she said: "Religious Affairs Administration issued a khutbah on Friday. It's about LGBTI and adultery. It was a khutbah of hate. In fact, he was confusing people with such a perception; Because while we deal with another virus, he talks about the HIV virus, and at the same time he targets these people as if they are guilty. It is a hate crime to target people and broadcasting such a khutbah in a time of need for solidarity. Ankara Branch of the Human Rights Association has filed a criminal complaint on the issue."

*HDP İzmir Deputy Serpil Kemalbay, social media account said: "#Youcan'tprotect Moreover, by spreading hate speech, you are targeting LGBT+'s and those living with HIV. In the days of the corona, the Directorate of Religious Affairs Administration should stop evaporating the right to life with discriminatory rhetoric."

*Human Rights Association (İHD) Ankara Branch filed a criminal complaint against the Religious Affairs Administration Chairperson Ali Erbaş after the khutbah of hate.

*Pozitif-iz Association said, "We are sorry to see the hateful smear campaign of the Religious Affairs Administration against LGBTI+ individuals and associate them with HIV at every opportunity".

*Antalya LGBTI Platform, Antalya Women's Platform, Antalya Abdal Musa Culture and Promotion Association, Antalya Women's Counseling and Solidarity Center, Antalya Nar Women's Solidarity, Biz Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Research Association, Women of EMEP, Women of Halkevleri, İMECE, İHD Antalya Branch, İHD Women and LGBTI Commission, KESK Antalya Women's Assembly, HDK Antalya Assembly, Antalya Ecology Assembly, HDP Antalya Youth Assembly and HDP Antalya Women's Assembly stood against the Religious Affairs Administration's hateful and discriminative Friday's Khutbah with a joint statement.

*Hêvî LGBTI+ Association shared the book "HIV Stories from Turkey" online after Religious Affairs Administration targeted LGBTI+s and people living with HIV with a hate khutbah.

*Positive Solidarity, criticized the Religious Affairs Administration's Friday khutbah, which coincides with the first day of Ramadan, and stated, "Religious Affairs Administration Chairperson Ali Erbaş, commits hate crime".

*Healthcare and Social Workers' Union (SES) Central Board of Directors issued a statement regarding Religious Affairs Administration's hate khutbah. SES reminded that Religious Affairs Administration's khutbah which targets LGBTI+'s and those living with HIV is discriminatory, and urged the Ministry of Health and the Science Board to make scientific statements against the khutbah.

*Nar Women's Solidarity posted the following statement on their social media accounts, "the dangerous thing here is your reactionary mindset, the disease the lost lives with the virus you spread. Your fatwas that spread hate against the women, LGBTI, children will go away and we will stay! Homosexuals exist, existed, and will exist!" 

*The Revolutionary Socialist Workers' Party condemned The Head of Religious Affairs Administration Ali Erbaş's statement against the LGBTI+'s, saying, "We demand that those who organize hate campaigns against LGBTI+'s and women be punished."

*A section of the Communist LGBT's statement: "We know that humanity will be able to put this epidemic behind. Any "epidemic opportunism" including LGBT hostility will not be forgotten. We will continue to defend science, enlightenment, and our right to live as equal citizens!"

*Women's Defense said on its social media account, "The religious Friday khutbah said that homosexuality and living together without marriage are the cause of diseases. Reactionary, misogynistic, homophobic Religious Affairs Administration; BITE ME!”

*The statement of Campus Witches posted on their social media account is as follows: "Religious Affairs Administration Chairperson Ali Erbaş said that living in the same house without getting married and homosexuality is the cause of diseases. We do not accept your reproduction of misogyny and homophobia with your hate speech!"

*İzmir Bar Association Secretariat issued a statement regarding the Friday khutbah targeting LGBTI+'s and those living with HIV. "We condemn the Head of Religious Affairs Administration for his discriminatory and hateful speech".

*The Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) Socialist Women's Assemblies (SKM) made the following statement on social media: "Religious discrimination and hatred are spreading! The Religious Affairs Administration which blesses the family and the heterosexist society while committing homophobia and hate crime in every opportunity must be shut down!"

*HDP Kocaeli Provincial Organization, stated the following on social media "It is evil to target the LGBTI+'s that you have already isolated from social life before the pandemic. Religious Affairs Administration is making statements that is irrelevant to life, breeding bad blood among the public. It's a crime!!!"

*METU Peoples' Democratic Congress: "Every color of the rainbow will exist, anytime, anywhere, in any circumstances! Targeting LGBTI+ individuals proves your hatred and vindictive past."

*Highschool Young Hope: "The Chairperson of Religious Affairs Administration Ali Erbaş made statements in Friday’s khutbah on coronavirus, saying that "Homosexuality brings diseases with it", which has not any scientific explanation or consistency. Moreover, he said, 'They're not legitimate.' You are the illegitimate!"

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz

Tags: human rights