Cyprus: Criticism of bar constructed in mosque garden

Cyprus: Criticism of bar constructed in mosque garden

Turkish Republic or Northern Cyprus's (KKTC) Directorate of Religious Affairs has applied to state offices in Greek Cyprus to stop the construction of a bar in the garden of the Hala Mosque, which houses the tomb of Ümmü Haram, the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, in South Cyprus, which has resulted in criticism from Muslims living on the island.

"Religious values should be respected in order for relations between the two sides to remain positive," said the director of religious affairs in the KKTC, Yusuf Suiçmez, adding that being respectful of religious values is a way to show respect to the people. He also recalled that the mosque was renovated with the help of the United Nations and underlined that the tomb is very important for Muslims.

The head of the Religious Worker's Union, Mehmet Dere, said the construction of a bar in the garden of an important mosque would be hurtful to the Muslims on the island. Dere stated that even in the bloodiest of wars, acts that would harm houses of worship were avoided. "The Greeks know in their territory there are some traces left from the Ottoman Empire. They should stop the construction," said Dere.

The imam of the Hala Mosque, Şakir Alemdar, complained that none of their applications have been answered by officials and categorized the construction of the bar unacceptable. "If the construction goes on and officials do not intervene to stop it, we would make this incident more public to the world. What they are trying to construct in the garden of the mosque is not in accordance with the values [of Islam]. It is not an issue related to the KKTC but to the entire Muslim world. Every Muslim should be paying attention to this," he noted.

Source: Today's Zaman (English), h/t IslamOnline

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