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Resigned DITIB Head Suggests Bigoted Speaker’s Cancellation a Response to External Pressure

July 3rd, 2021 15:45

Ger­man media is report­ing that the chair­man of a local DITIB branch has said that the group only can­celed an event fea­tur­ing a Turk­ish his­to­ri­an known for homo­pho­bic and anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries because of out­side pres­sure. Accord­ing to the Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung report:

May 12, 2021 […] The F.A.Z. now has a voice mes­sage from the chair­man at the time, Yil­maz Yildiz. It was sent to a What­sapp group in the state asso­ci­a­tion short­ly after the res­ig­na­tion. Yildiz did not want to com­ment on the con­tent of the mes­sage to the F.A.Z., and the state asso­ci­a­tion referred to ear­li­er state­ments. This makes it dif­fi­cult to clas­si­fy the words. In the mes­sage, Yildiz speaks about the scan­dal. After the poster for the event was cir­cu­lat­ed on social media, “there was a unit­ed maneu­ver against DITIB,” he says in Turk­ish. This sug­gests that the can­cel­la­tion of the event was a reac­tion to out­side requests. On the oth­er hand, in a March 25 press release, DITIB had expressed regret for irri­ta­tions over the event announce­ment and ini­tial­ly said that the online lec­ture with Ahmet Sim­sir­gil “had already been can­celed inter­nal­ly, even before there was pub­lic crit­i­cism of the line­up.” [Trans­lat­ed by DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here.

As the GIOR report­ed in late March, the Rhineland-Palati­nate DTIB branch had invit­ed Ahmet Şimşir­gil, a Turk­ish his­to­ri­an known for homo­pho­bic and anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, to speak at an event. DITIB can­celed the event with­out giv­ing a rea­son and its chair­man, Yil­maz Yildiz, lat­er resigned. The mosque asso­ci­a­tion also post­ed a mes­sage dis­tanc­ing itself from the his­to­ri­an, say­ing that DITIB rejects his “high­ly prob­lem­at­ic posi­tions.” The Rhineland-Palati­nate state then decid­ed to con­tin­ue a tar­get agree­ment with the local DITIB branch con­cern­ing reli­gious edu­ca­tion say­ing that DITIB had tak­en respon­si­bil­i­ty and suf­fered the con­se­quences. How­ev­er, the state has since decid­ed to review DITIB’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the agree­ment as its Sci­ence Min­istry is crit­i­ciz­ing DITIB for offer­ing books with homo­pho­bic content.

The Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (DITIB) man­ages over 900 mosques in Ger­many. At the same time, the Turk­ish Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs  (Diyanet)  deter­mines the the­o­log­i­cal guide­lines for imams’ ser­mons, and the Turk­ish con­sulate pays their salaries. DITIB, how­ev­er, main­tains that it is inde­pen­dent of the Turk­ish state.  Ger­man politi­cians have sought to have imams trained in Ger­many instead of sent over from Turkey in part to reduce Turkey’s influ­ence in the country.

Oth­er rel­e­vant GIOR report­ing has included:

  • In May 2021, we report­ed that the Ger­man city of Heil­bronn reject­ed a DITIB con­struc­tion plan to build a mosque in the city.
  • In May 2021, we report­ed that the Diyanet Foun­da­tion’s TV chan­nel, which also broad­casts in Europe, has record­ed a near­ly ten-fold increase in cap­i­tal over the past three years.
  • In May 2021, we report­ed that Pres­i­dent Erdoğan met with the head of DITIB, along with those of oth­er Turk­ish-Ger­man groups, in Ankara.