A volunteer muezzin accused of incorrectly leading the prayer stabbed a member of the mosque’s congregation
DINCER GOKCE- According to the case file obtained by Arti Gercek, the incident took place on the evening of November 13. Unrest broke out between the mosque congregants and Ali Turan (77), who lead prayers in his capacity as volunteer muezzin at the Ali Mosque in Sultangazi district’s Zubeyde Hanim neighborhood.
The congregation expressed their displeasure with Imam Ibrahim Surun’s (59) frequent absences from the mosque as he went on vacations instead. The congregants suggested that Ali Turan leading prayers facilitated Surun’s abdication of his responsibility. Other speculations that Turan was not leading the prayer correctly spread among members of the congregation.
THE RUMORS REACH THE IMAM
Turan, who was aware of the situation, informed Imam Surun that the rumors were increasing. Surun allegedly told Turan, “It won’t be a problem. They’ve said similar things in the past. You should continue to do your job.” Though the imam told the voluntary muezzin that no problem would arise, the discontent of the congregation continued to swell. Turan then found out that the person spreading the rumors was Faik Uygun, who completed all of the daily obligatory prayers at that mosque.
STABBED IN TWO PLACES
Uygun and Turan who both left the mosque around 6:30 PM on November 13, encountered one another on a street a few hundred meters away from the mosque. Turan stabbed Uygun in his stomach and chest with a knife he took out of his pocket. Uygun’s children took their wounded father to Gaziosmanpasa Education and Research Hospital. Security personnel at the hospital notified the district police department that Uygun, whose condition was not life-threatening, had been knifed. Police officers soon came to the hospital.
POLICE VISIT THE SCENCE OF THE ATTACK
The police officers firstly asked Uygun for information. After Uygun expressed that it was Ali Turan who had stabbed him, the police went to the street of the attack. The police also questioned Imam Ibrahim Surun as he could provide information as well.
“WHOEVER IS AVAILABLE ACTS AS MUEZZIN”
Surun, who expressed during police questioning that he was an imam of 32 years, said, “There is no muezzin at my mosque. Staff had been allocated for the job, but their appointment by the government was yet to be done. There are those in the congregation that act as muezzin voluntarily. Whoever is available, acts as the muezzin. Since I was otherwise occupied with funeral and wedding matters, I had notified the mufti’s office* of the situation.” He also said, “Ali Turan had been leading the daily prayers,” and continued, “A few members of the mosque’s congregation told Ali Turan, ‘You will not be doing this job. Because you’re doing this, the imam is not coming to the mosque.’ The conflict between them escalated after that point. They became obsessed with Ali Turan.”
[Photo Caption]: Ibrahim Surun, accused by the congregation of taking frequent vacations.
THE “HE IS LEADING PRAYERS INCORRECTLY” RUMOR
S. Uygun (36), son of the wounded Faik Uygun, who was also questioned by the police, said, “Since the imam was not coming to the mosque, the congregants began to lead the prayers among themselves. Rumors spread after this. They speculated that Ali Turan was leading the prayers incorrectly, and an argument happened as a result.”
“THEY CUT ME OFF, I WAS DEFENDING MYSELF”
Ali Turan, who was taken into custody with the bloody knife he had used to wound Uygun, said the following during his statement: “I was on my way home after the evening prayer when Faik Uygun and a person named H. cut me off. They dragged me into a secluded corner. Afterwards, the person named Faik began to hit me. In an attempt to protect myself, I flung around my fruit knife which happened to be on my person. I did this with the intention to protect myself. I did not intentionally stab him.”
THE VOLUNTEER MUEZZIN IS STILL UNDER ARREST
Turan, who was transferred to the courthouse after the police had taken his statement, was referred to the Criminal Judgeship of Peace with a request for his arrest. Turan, who was then interrogated by the Gaziosmanpasa 3rd Criminal Judgeship of Peace, repeated the statement he had given at the police department. The judgeship decided to arrest Turan on the charge of “attempted murder.” Turan remains in detention and the investigation is ongoing.
“MY FATHER IS VICTIM TO THE HOSTILITY BETWEEN OTHERS”
Faik Uygun’s son S. Uygun, whom we reached via a phone call, said only that his father’s health was better. Imam Ibrahim Surun, on the other hand, who stated that allegations that he had neglected his duty did not reflect the truth, refrained from providing further information. On the other hand, jailed Ali Turan’s son S. Turan said, “My father fell victim to the hostility between the mosque congregation and their imam.” Turan, who noted that his father was still under arrest, said that they were waiting for the indictment to be issued.
*A muezzin is the person who calls Muslim to prayers from the minaret of the mosque.