The president of the Religious Affairs Directorate on Tuesday expressed strong criticism of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) decision to have the call to prayer (adhan) recited in Kurdish, saying reciting the adhan in any language other than its original Arabic is unacceptable. “It is explicitly impossible to regard a translation of the adhan into another language or dialect as an adhan that reflects the shared faith and consciousness of Muslims,” Mehmet Görmez said in a statement on Tuesday. The BDP, as part of a civil disobedience campaign it launched recently, had the adhan recited in Kurdish for the first time in municipalities it runs, the Star daily reported on Tuesday. The adhan was recited in Kurdish in the Democratic Solution and Peace Tent set up by a local branch of the BDP before the Friday prayer on May 20. The branch represents Þanlýurfa’s Suruç district, a BDP municipality. Görmez stressed that the adhan is a symbol of shared faith and a sign of freedom and independence that binds all Muslims. Görmez cited a “painful experience” in the history of Turkey with respect to the adhan and said the public found this unacceptable. Görmez was referring to the single-party period when the adhan was recited in Turkish. The Republican People's Party (CHP) was in power at the time. The Directorate of Religious Affairs, acting on an order from the government, issued a circular in 1932 that stayed in effect through 1950 and made it mandatory to recite the call to prayer in Turkish. The call to prayer was recited in Arabic again after the Democrat Party (DP) won the 1950 general elections, which also marked the end of the single-party period. Görmez said the state then saw how sensitive the Turkish public was with respect to the recitation of the adhan in its original Arabic and rectified its mistake.
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