Rights organizations, politicians and bar associations have condemned President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş’s remarks targeting the LGBTI+s and HIV positive people. Ankara Bar and Human Rights Association (İHD) have filed a criminal complaint.
In his Friday sermon (khutbah) on April 24, President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş targeted LGBTI+s and the ones living with HIV.
Erbaş briefly stated the following:
“People! Islam accepts adultery as one of the greatest harams. It curses the people of Lot, the homosexuality. What is the wisdom of this? The wisdom here is that it brings diseases and degenerates the generation. Hundreds of thousands of people a year are exposed to the HIV virus caused by this great haram, which passes as adultery in the Islamic Literature. Let’s come and fight together to protect people from this kind of evil.”
Criminal complaint by Ankara Bar, İHD
Several rights organizations, politicians and bar associations have condemned these remarks. Both Ankara Bar Association and Human Rights Association (İHD) have filed a criminal complaint against Erbaş.
Noting that Erbaş spreads hate with his statements, Ankara Bar has warned that “if Erbaş remains in office despite his remarks about LGBTI+s, women and children, no one should be surprised if, in his next speech, he calls on people to light torches and burn women as witches at the squares.”
As compiled by Yıldız Tar from Kaos GL Association, several rights organizations and politicians have slammed the remarks of Erbaş:
* Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Gökçe Gökçen: “Being unaware of how many people would be targeted because of such a statement during the epidemic period is a disaster by itself. I condemn those who do this by using religious feelings and rhetoric that almost justifies hate crimes.”
* Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ankara MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu reacted to the khutbah of hatred, “This is a hate crime” she said:
“Presidency of Religious Affairs issued a khutbah on Friday. It’s about LGBTI and adultery. It was a khutbah of hate. In fact, he was confusing people with such a perception; Because while we deal with another virus, he talks about the HIV virus, and at the same time he targets these people as if they are guilty. It is a hate crime to target people and broadcasting such a khutbah in a time of need for solidarity. Ankara Branch of the Human Rights Association has filed a criminal complaint on the issue.”
* HDP İzmir MP Serpil Kemalbay, social media account said: “#Youcan’tprotect Moreover, by spreading hate speech, you are targeting LGBT+’s and those living with HIV. In the days of the corona, the Presidency of Religious Affairs Administration should stop evaporating the right to life with discriminatory rhetoric.”
* İHD Ankara Branch filed a criminal complaint against President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş after the khutbah of hate.
* Pozitif-iz Association said, “We are sorry to see the hateful smear campaign of the Presidency of Religious Affairs against LGBTI+ individuals and associate them with HIV at every opportunity”.
* Antalya LGBTI Platform, Antalya Women’s Platform, Antalya Abdal Musa Culture and Promotion Association, Antalya Women’s Counseling and Solidarity Center, Antalya Nar Women’s Solidarity, Biz Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Research Association, Women of EMEP, Women of Halkevleri, İMECE, İHD Antalya Branch, İHD Women and LGBTI Commission, KESK Antalya Women’s Assembly, HDK Antalya Assembly, Antalya Ecology Assembly, HDP Antalya Youth Assembly and HDP Antalya Women’s Assembly stood against the Presidency of Religious Affairs’ hateful and discriminative Friday’s Khutbah with a joint statement.
* Hêvî LGBTI+ Association shared the book “HIV Stories from Turkey” online after the Presidency of Religious Affairs targeted LGBTI+s and people living with HIV with a hate khutbah.
* Positive Solidarity criticized the Presidency of Religious Affairs’ Friday khutbah, which coincides with the first day of Ramadan, and stated, “President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş, commits hate crime”.
* Healthcare and Social Workers’ Union (SES) Central Board of Directors issued a statement regarding Presidency of Religious Affairs’ hate khutbah. The SES Central Board of Directors reminded that Presidency of Religious Affairs’ khutbah which targets LGBTI+’s and those living with HIV is discriminatory, and urged the Ministry of Health and the Science Board to make scientific statements against the khutbah.
* Nar Women’s Solidarity posted the following statement on their social media accounts, “the dangerous thing here is your reactionary mindset, the disease the lost lives with the virus you spread. Your fatwas that spread hate against the women, LGBTI, children will go away and we will stay! Homosexuals exist, existed, and will exist!”
* The Revolutionary Socialist Workers’ Party condemned the President Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş’s statement against the LGBTI+’s, saying, “We demand that those who organize hate campaigns against LGBTI+’s and women be punished.”
* A section of the Communist LGBT‘s statement: “We know that humanity will be able to put this epidemic behind. Any “epidemic opportunism” including LGBT hostility will not be forgotten. We will continue to defend science, enlightenment, and our right to live as equal citizens!”
* Women’s Defense said on its social media account, “The religious Friday khutbah said that homosexuality and living together without marriage are the cause of diseases. Reactionary, misogynistic, homophobic Presidency of Religious Affairs; BITE ME!”
* The statement of Campus Witches posted on their social media account is as follows: “President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş said that living in the same house without getting married and homosexuality is the cause of diseases. We do not accept your reproduction of misogyny and homophobia with your hate speech!”
* İzmir Bar Association Secretariat issued a statement regarding the Friday khutbah targeting LGBTI+’s and those living with HIV. “We condemn the President of Religious Affairs for his discriminatory and hateful speech”.
* The Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) Socialist Women’s Assemblies (SKM) made a statement on social media: “Religious discrimination and hatred are spreading! The Presidency of Religious Affairs which blesses the family and the heterosexist society while committing homophobia and hate crime in every opportunity must be shut down!”
* HDP Kocaeli Organization stated the following on social media: “It is evil to target LGBTI+’s that you have already isolated from social life before the pandemic. Presidency of Religious Affairs is making statements that is irrelevant to life, breeding bad blood among the public. It’s a crime!!!”
* METU Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK): “Every color of the rainbow will exist, anytime, anywhere, in any circumstances! Targeting LGBTI+ individuals proves your hatred and vindictive past.”
* Highschool Young Hope: “The President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş made statements in Friday’s khutbah on coronavirus, saying that “Homosexuality brings diseases with it”, which has not any scientific explanation or consistency. Moreover, he said, ‘They’re not legitimate.’ You are the illegitimate!”