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Posts Tagged ‘Non-Muslims’

በዚህች አገር ሙስሊም ያልሆኑ ግለሰቦች ሥልጣን ላይ መውጣት አይፈቀድላቸውም | ኢራን

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 21, 2018

Do Non-Muslims Have the Right to Hold Elected Public Office Or Not?

In Iran, which is 90-95 per cent Shia Muslim, the passing of a date set for a decision over whether a non-Muslim can hold an elected public office is significant for the country’s religious minorities and their rights.

The date, April 5, passed without that decision being made for a Zoroastrian voted onto his city council. After Sepanta Niknam was elected last year in Yazd, an historic city in central Iran with many ancient Zoroastrian sites, a losing Muslim conservative candidate protested, on the grounds that a non-Muslim should not be elected over a Muslim. Niknam, who had already served a four-year term as Councillor, received three times as many votes as Ali Asghar Bargheri, who came 45th.

Following Bagheri’s complaint, in September 2017, a few months after the election, the Guardian Council appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei suspended Niknam’s position on the theological grounds that a non-Muslim should not rule over a Muslim. (The non-elected Guardian Council determines if the laws passed by the Parliament are in line with Sharia).

Sepanta’s suspension from a position he was democratically elected for highlights an emerging battle over the right of Iran’s religious minorities to run for office,” Mansour Borji of Article 18, a London-based advocacy organisation, told World Watch Monitor. “Sepanta was voted for by Muslims and non-Muslims alike and won against a candidate openly backed by the country’s ultra-conservative elite. This vividly illustrates the fact that the majority of Iranians do not share the same discriminatory values as those of the ruling clergy.”

Sepanta Niknam was elected to the City Council of Yazd, an historic city in central Iran with many ancient Zoroastrian sites, for the 4th time. (World Watch Monitor)

Sepanta Niknam was elected to the City Council of Yazd, an historic city in central Iran with many ancient Zoroastrian sites, for the 4th time. (World Watch Monitor)

Iranians – Muslim and non-Muslim – took to social media to express their disdain for the suspension. Then, after the Head of the Parliament and President also expressed their opposition to the suspension, the matter was referred to the Expediency Council, an independent body created by the Supreme Leader to reconcile the Guardian Council and Parliament if they face deadlock.

In October 2017, Niknam had to take six months’ authorised leave of absence, during which the Expediency Council was to deliver its ruling. According to Borji, the Expediency Council is trying to delay until the issue is forgotten.

In April 2017, Ahmad Jannati, a conservative cleric and senior member of the Guardian Council, said religious minorities should not be allowed to stand as candidates at all, since this violated the wishes of the Islamic Republic’s founding father, Ruhollah Khomeini.

In October 1979, at the very beginning of Iran’s Revolution, Khomeini said candidates should “first of all be Muslims… Second, they should believe in our movement. They should be trustworthy and sincere in their faith”.

Jannati said that, as it was against Khomeini’s wishes for non-Muslims to rule, it was “therefore against the tenets of Sharia [Islamic law]”.

Borji says that the reinstatement of Niknam’s position is unlikely. “Today, Sepanta’s fight for reinstatement is a fight against religious discrimination and against the lack of respect for people’s vote and their choices,” he said.

Niknam recently took to Twitter to say that he did not want an exception to be made for him. “I proclaim here that until this issue is resolved for all religious minorities, I will not return to the [City] Council,” he wrote, in Farsi. “I will only go back to the Yazd Council if the law permitting religious minorities to be elected is reaffirmed by the Expediency Council. If this is not going to be principally dealt with, and this issue is only resolved for me personally, and the problem remains for minorities in future elections, I will not attend the Council meetings.”

Source

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Posted in Conspiracies, Ethiopia, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pope Francis Visit: Turkey’s Christians Face Tense Times

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 27, 2014

  • “No country in the region – including Iran – is as homogenous in terms of Islam as Turkey”
  • The ethnic cleansing of these non-Muslim minorities was a huge brain drain”
  • Armenians were the other large Christian community. Hundreds of thousands were deported in 1915. They were either killed or died from starvation and disease. The label “genocide” is rejected by the Turkish state. From a population of two million Armenians, around 50,000 remain today
  • “Armenians fear expressing their religious identity here. Most of the believers hide their cross inside their shirt. They can’t open it and walk freely on the street because they could prompt a reaction”
  • New mosques are flourishing, while the world-famous Halki Orthodox theological school near Istanbul has remained closed since 1971 under Turkish nationalist pressure
  • “To be a Turk now means you have to be Muslim”
  • “The threatening feeling for non-Muslim minorities here is coming again.

It tells of a city where empires, cultures and religions collided. A building that bears mosaics of Jesus and the Virgin Mary beside calligraphy reading “Allah” and “the Prophet Mohamed”. There is no greater symbol of the clash of civilisations here than Hagia Sophia.

For almost 1,000 years it stood as the most important Orthodox cathedral in the world, the religious heart of the largely Christian Byzantine empire whose capital was then called Constantinople.

But in 1453 the city fell to the Ottomans, Hagia Sophia became a mosque and Christianity began its slow demise here.

As Turkey grew out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, that decline accelerated. When Pope Francis arrives here this week, he will visit a country whose population has fallen from 20% Christian 100 years ago to around 0.2% today.

‘Huge brain drain’

“No country in the region – including Iran – is as homogenous in terms of Islam as Turkey,” says historian Cengiz Aktar. “It’s a mono-colour country – it’s a Muslim country.”

After the Turkish Republic was born in 1923, it carried out a “population exchange” with Greece to create more ethnic and religious consistency. More than a million Greeks were forced out of Turkey to Greece while around 300,000 Muslims from Greece were relocated here.

The Greeks of Istanbul were initially saved but after a crippling wealth tax, anti-Greek pogroms in 1955 and mass expulsions in 1964, the Greek community was left in tatters. And so was the Orthodox Christianity they practised.

“The ethnic cleansing of these non-Muslim minorities was a huge brain drain,” says Mr Aktar, who has created a new exhibition on the loss of the Greeks here.

“It also meant the disappearance of the bourgeoisie because not only were they wealthy but they were artisans. Istanbul lost its entire Christian and Jewish heritage.”

Hidden crosses

It was not just the exodus of the Greeks that hit Christianity here.

Armenians were the other large Christian community. Hundreds of thousands were deported in 1915. They were either killed or died from starvation and disease. The label “genocide” is rejected by the Turkish state. From a population of two million Armenians, around 50,000 remain today.

Robert Koptas shows me around the office of his Armenian weekly newspaper, Agos. In 2007, the editor, Hrant Dink, was murdered outside by Turkish nationalists. Seven years on, Mr Koptas says the small Armenian community feels intimidated.

“Armenians fear expressing their religious identity here,” he says.

“Most of the believers hide their cross inside their shirt. They can’t open it and walk freely on the street because they could prompt a reaction. I don’t want to say all the Turkish population is against Christianity but nationalism is so high that people are afraid to express themselves.”

That is now the worry among the Christian minority here: that Turkish Muslim nationalism has grown under the Islamist-rooted government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister for 11 years before being elected president last August.

Dead missionaries

Mr Erdogan has made moves to support the Christians, such as passing a law to return confiscated state property to them and allowing Christian religious classes in schools. But he constantly stresses his Islamic identity, his support base is conservative Muslim and he whips up the nationalists here, the mood hardening against Christians.

Catholics, the smallest Christian minority in Turkey, have felt the impact.

A spate of murders of Catholic missionaries and priests a few years ago left the community in shock. At the Catholic basilica in Istanbul, there is Mass for the few.

“To be a Turk now means you have to be Muslim,” says Father Iulian Pista, who serves here.

“In the past, being a pious Muslim was looked down upon. Now Friday prayers are encouraged. Society here is becoming Islamised. Recently, I’ve seen youngsters defecate and urinate in my church. They shout ‘Allahu akbar’ [English: God is great]. I also believe God is great but the way they say it is threatening.”

Islam was sidelined from the constitutionally secular Turkish republic founded in 1923. But as a nation state was formed here, the religion became part of Turkish national identity, something that has sharply accelerated under Mr Erdogan’s leadership.

Old fears

New mosques are flourishing, while the world-famous Halki Orthodox theological school near Istanbul has remained closed since 1971 under Turkish nationalist pressure. One of the remaining Greeks of Turkey, Fotis Benlisoy, says the community feels squeezed: “The threatening feeling for non-Muslim minorities here is coming again.

“There are many reasons: language and policies of the government, the president and prime minister using more conservative references to Sunni identity, pejorative words for non-Muslim communities coming from members of the cabinet, so much circulating about Turkey’s relations with Isis [the Islamic State militant group based in Syria and Iraq] – all of this is making us think we might need an escape strategy.”

At the magnificent Panaghia Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul, the morning liturgy is led by Bartholomew I, “ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople”, a position still based here.

It is a reminder of this country’s heritage – and of a Christian faithful that is small but defiant. As modern Turkey builds its identity, the question still remains: can it embrace true religious freedom – or will nationalism stand in the way?

Source

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Posted in Faith, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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