- Middle East -
Alevism is a liberal religion that goes back to Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. In this context, the term “Alevi” can be understood as “follower of Ali”. The religious community is the second largest in Turkey, following the Sunni Muslims. Nevertheless, the Alevis have been fighting for recognition for years. Their beliefs are quite different from Sunni and Shiite Islam. For the Alevi community, it is primarily the pre-Islamic Anatolian culture that is important – in the scope of which a human being’s oneness with God is seen as a paragon of perfection. Due to their beliefs, they have been suffering from persecution, expulsion, and attacks for decades.
To this day, the Alevis are not recognized as a religious community in Turkey. According to the DIYANET (the Directorate of Religious Affairs, in which only Sunnis are allowed to work), they are to be seen as an Anatolian variant of Islam. As a non-Sunni community, the Alevis are therefore discriminated against, oppressed, and persecuted. The situation is becoming more and more tense, as many Alevis are trying to distance themselves from Islam by emphasizing that the Alevis are an independent religious community, not just “liberal Muslims”.
Further information about the Alevi
Header photo: Toushiro via Wikimedia Commons