Turkey and Islam: Ban it if you can


The imam’s soap opera

CETIN ALTAN, a celebrated Turkish writer, once told a friend that Turkish films “cannot dare portray an imam as a crook or a general as a faggot”. For decades directors who plied their trade under the army’s boot refrained from casting the brasshats in an unflattering light. But contrary to Mr Altan’s claim, imams were fair game. The corpulent and crafty imam was a staple of films churned out by Turkey’s version of Hollywood, called Yesilcam (Green Pine).When the mildly Islamist Justice and Development (AK) party catapulted to power 12 years ago, pious Muslims saw their dignity restored. So it came as a shock when ATV, a pro-AK channel, launched a mini-series last month in which the main protagonist is a thief parading as a cleric. Nicknamed “the lizard” for his slippery ways, the rogue assumes the guise of an imam to dodge justice. The show instantly drew millions of viewers—and the ire of Turkey’s 80,000-odd official imams. The state-run religious-affairs directorate, Diyanet, which writes their sermons, demanded that it be taken off the air. “The imam character is an insult to our faith,” it huffed. The…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21632572-popular-new-television-show-falls-foul-imams-ban-it-if-you-can?fsrc=rss|eur

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