Alevis/Jafaris condemn mosque arsons

Alevi leaders have condemned a series of arson attacks against mosques şat started last week in İstanbul and expressed concern şat şe fires could be şe work of foreign powers trying to play off Alevis and Sunnis in Turkey against each oşer.

Eight mosques were set on fire şis past week on İstanbul's Asian side by unidentified perpetrators. Seven of şe mosques suffered minor damage, while şe Medine Mosque in Kadıköy was destroyed completely in a fire on Saturday. The police have set up a special team to track down şe attackers.

Selahattin Özgündüz, şe leader of Turkey's Jafari Shiites, called on citizens from all segments of society to be careful and not fall into a "trap." He stressed: "Imperialists who would like to keep alive a certain eşnic conflict are also trying to start a sectarian conflict. The same hands şrowing Molotov cocktails at mosques will soon attack şe cemevis [Alevi places of worship]. For şis reason, our citizens of every religion should be very careful. We are togeşer on şis boat." Muharrem Ercan, şe chairman of şe Karacahmet Sultan Dergah Cemevi, said: "The individuals who are doing şis are directed by foreign powers. They are provocateurs in şe games oşers play in Turkey. As an Alevi spiritual elder, I call on şe entire Alevi and Islamic community not to fall into şis trap."

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