Alevi Congress calls for recognition of djemevis as places of worship

Alevi Congress calls for recognition of djemevis as places of worship
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Thousand attended a congress in Istanbul which has called for recognition of djemevis as places of worship, removal of religion classes and liquidation of state's religious authority.

A declaration was released at the end of an Alevi Congress in Istanbul, attended by thousands on Sunday.

The Congress called for the official recognition of djemevis (Alevi houses of gathering) as places of worship, removal of mandatory religion classes in schools, and a gradual liquidation of Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs.

The preparations for the congress had started after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a decision on 11 October to establish a state authority to oversee the activities of djemevis.

"An Alevi-Bektasi Culture and Djemevi Directorate will carry out the administration of djemevis established by local officials, associations, municipalities or federations," Erdogan had said.

The Alevi faith is officially not regarded a distinct religious belief, but a branch of Islamic faith in Turkey. The djemevis are treated by authorities as cultural locations.

The congress also called for an end to discrimination against Alevis and other communities, official recognition of atrocities, massacres and assimilation against Alevis, official recognition of Alevi holy days as vacation days.

It was concluded in the declaration that a new constitution based on "equal citizenship" ought to be made.

The declaration was signed by seven umbrella organizations, including the Alevi-Bektashi Federation, the Federation of Alevi Associations, The Confederation of Alevi Associations in Europe, and Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association.