Imam's call for congregation to arm sparks outrage in Istanbul
An imam in Istanbul called for the arming of his congregation during a Friday sermon, triggering widespread outrage and prompting an immediate investigation, Turkey’s Birgun newspaper reported.
The incident took place at Cebeci Mosque in the Sultangazi district, where Imam Murat Gundogdu delivered a sermon that has since caused a significant uproar. Disturbing footage captured on a mobile phone revealed the Imam's alarming words as he proclaimed, "Brothers, prepare your weapons.”
He further urged the congregants to adjust their firearms on the evening of May 28, referring to the date of the second round of presidential elections, proclaiming his own possession of two fully loaded guns.
The inflammatory remarks by the Imam continued with discrimination against the Armenians and the opponents:
“What have we endured from you? For 80 years, this country has suffered because of you, because of Armenian bastards. We have lost so many martyrs.”
The shocking nature of these statements prompted an immediate backlash from the local community in the mosque. A 53-year-old citizen who expressed his disapproval towards the imam was forcibly taken out of the mosque, Birgun reported.
In response to the incident, the Presidency of Religious Affairs announced the initiation of a comprehensive investigation.
Witnesses from the congregation said Imam Gundogdu frequently used his sermons for partisan political advocacy, which has been a subject of complaint among worshippers.