Jafari mosque in İstanbul arsoned for second time in 2 days

A mosque belonging to the Shiite Jafari community in the Esenyurt district of İstanbul was vandalized just one day after it was set on fire early on Tuesday.

According to media reports, two unidentified people entered Muhammedi Mosque in Esenyurt’s Yenikent neighborhood from the roof and were inside the mosque for 10 minutes. Speaking to the press on Wednesday regarding the incident, the imam of the mosque, Hamza Aydın, said that various parts of the building were vandalized, but that nothing had been set on fire this time around.

Aydın told reporters he didn’t believe the incident to have been perpetrated by Sunnis, adding: “We have lived together in peace with Sunnis for many years. This incident is not about being Sunni or Shiite. This is something else. We will not allow anyone to disturb our peace.”

The library and the minbar (pulpit) of the mosque were seriously damaged in the fire on Tuesday, which was set at around 2 a.m. According to various Turkish media outlets, unidentified persons entered the mosque grounds with the help of a stepladder near its wall. They set the library and minbar on fire and then fled the scene. Police and firefighters rushed to the scene after passersby informed them about the fire.
 

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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