Villagers Boycott Mosque Over Imam's Attempt to Impose Stricter Version of Islam

May 1, 2004

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,1270844.story?coll=la-news-religion

On May 1, 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported, "Every day, Leyla Karsli, shrouded in an Islamic-style turban and a bulky ankle-length skirt, lines up at the only well in this wind-swept village in the mountains of eastern Turkey. Such modest attire is customary for females in what is one of the nation's most religiously conservative and poorest regions. But it is not enough for the new imam, Mustafa Platin, who has been bullying the women to don the full head-to-toe chador...Platin's efforts to impose a stricter version of Islam go beyond attire. 'He forbade us to watch TV because he said it was sinful and said we should not ride the minibus [running to the nearby town of Pasinler] because our shoulders could rub against male passengers,' piped up another woman, who refused to be identified by name. Men in the village said Platin accused them of moral laxity for playing cards and backgammon. The cleric's fiery edicts have sparked a rare revolt among the villagers, who have vowed to boycott worship in Kotanduzu's only mosque until Platin is replaced. It is also the latest front in the ongoing battle over how Islamic Turkey will be. Local authorities recently suspended Platin from his duties and launched an investigation. The cleric might not only be fired but could also face prosecution for breaching the rigidly secular laws introduced eight decades ago by Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey."