Protests spark after black out in Ja’fari mosque in Istanbul
The Ja’fari community part of Shia Islam protested the black out at the Imam Ali Mosque in Bağcılar district in Istanbul, due to electricity debts that have piled up in the last five years, reaching around 20,000 liras ($6,750).

In Turkey, in general, the mosques are not obliged to pay electricity bills within regulations.

The community gathered in front of the Ja’fari mosque after having performed evening prayer by candle lights, and slammed the district Mufti of not paying the debt despite the rules. While the protesters mostly consisting of young community members chanted slogans and clenched fists, the officials of the mosque accused the Mufti of having problem with other religious sects, and demanding Imams to assign all the mosques to the Directorate of Religious Affairs.

“This Mufti has an obsession with religious sects, I believe. In three other Ja’fari mosques, the communities face the same problem, after Bağcılar Mufti’s decision. In other provinces, the debts of mosques including that of Ja’fari community are paid by the Religious Affairs. However they expect us to pay the debt” said the Director of Imam Ali Mosque Association Musa Şeren.

The Imam of the mosque, İbrahim Şeren added, “The youth of Shia is loyal to their religion as to their nation and flag. Those should keep their dirty hands off these young people. State officials should stop the ones who attempt to shed blood of brothers and sisters, and discharge those who have this mentality.”

The mosque has been forced to pay their own debts by the Turkish Electricity Distribution Corperation instead of the office of district Mufti, and the officials of the mosque had referred the problem to the district governor before.

“We can’t recite the azan, we have to perform prayer by candle lights, we suffer. This is 35-year-old mosque. For 30 years, the electricity debts have been paid by the Religious Affairs. Five years ago I’ve demanded the conveyance of debts to the Religious Affairs, but the officials haven’t.

While the Imam warned the young protesters not to create uproar, the group dispersed without incidents.



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