Muslim Alevis Protest German TV Program

Thousands of Alevis from both Germany and Turkey are gathering for a massive protest in Cologne over a German TV program which they claim was insulting to members of their religion. The Alevi denomination is a distinct and liberal movement in Islam and its members are manly found in Turkey and Syria as well in parts of Europe. Germany is believed to have about 700,000 members. The Alevis have been the target of Islamic fundamentalists and 37 of Turkey’s Sunni and high profile Alevi artists and intellectuals were killed in a fire set by Islamists in 1993 in Turkey.

The episode in the German crime series, “Tatort” dealt with murder and incest in an Alevi family in Germany. In the program, Alevis are depicted as being quite different from Alevis. During the Ottoman Empire, the Alevis were frequently accused of incest because they included women and children in their religious rituals. In the offending episode, a girl is murdered by her father after confronting him about impregnating her sister. The sister then goes to live with a Sunni family and becomes a devout Muslim.

Ali Tobprak of the European Federation of Alevi Unions, said he tried discussing the episode prior to its being aired and insisted Alevis respected freedom of the press and speech, but warned its showing would spark hatred against his group. The dirctor of the episode admitted she didn’t know much about the Alevis or their history of being persecuted or accusations against them about incest. The episode was aired.

There are times when historical factors should enter into a television program’s decision to depict people. For example, to show in Germany an episode in which Jews of the 1930s are depicted in an evil manner is simply in poor taste. This show apparently was in poor taste.

  • Ali Hizir

    Alevis are Muslims and an Islamic community but they differentiate from other groups like the Sunnis and are distinctly related to Shias. Within the Alevi belief it is NOT forbidden to pray with members of the opposite sex and ‘cemevi’ is the the preferred worship place to Mosques. Alevis believe members of all 72 religions have things in common and dont use religion as a basis to separate people. They also dont prefer to wear a Turban and Because of this they are falsely accused by other sectarians like the sunnis for ‘incest’ just because women and men are treated and seen equal and can pray together.In the Alevi community it is forbidden to have four wives and because of these differentiations they regularly face false accusations and have been continually massacred by especialy the Turkish Government for not following Sunnis and using mosques to worship.In Turkey the 20 million Alevis are treated unfairly like the kurds are and find it difficult to win anthing by using their statutory rights. The series of ‘Tahort’ has shown Alevis involved in incest activities which are completely false and opposed by the alevis because it has shown what the sunnis think of alevis.
    I ASK YOU NOW! ALEVIS HAVE SOME OF THE HIGHEST LITERACY RATES IN THE TURKEY,WE SEE MEN AND WOMEN AS EQUAL CITIZENZ, WE OPPOSE RACISTS AND TORTURERS SO WHY DO THEY HAVE TO FACE SUCH STUPID THINGS. AS SEEN THE PROTEST WAS DONE DEMOCRATICALLY AND PEACEFULLY.THERE WAS NO WINDOWS SMASHED FLAGS BURNED OR PEOPLE HURT . THIS FILM WAS PURPOSEFULLY BROADCAST TO HURT THE ALEVIS WHO HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PEACEFUL AND SHOWN THE BRIGHT DEMOCRATIC AND HUMANIST SIDE OF ISLAM.

  • Ali Hizir

    Alevis have also known to be involved in Communist.Marxist activities over the years therefore are depicted as unfaithful and anti religious. The Alevi sectarian has 20 million members only in Turkey and a few million in other countries.The Turkish Government has classed the Alevis(1/3 of the whole population) as in the same group as SATANISTS(how funny) just because they dont follow their fascisit rule.Mosques and other worship centres are funded by the government where as cem-houses are not permitted and open in other names which are funded completely by the believers and followers.

  • dj

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  • hakan

    ALİ Hizir, i appreciate for your writing. I believe we, as a alevis who are demokrat and humanist, will gain our right in a way one day.

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    Hopefully, Alevis can gain equal rights and an opportunity to share there sense of democracy with the people of Turkey.