AKP proposes allowing muftis to conduct civil marriages
Muslim legal experts, known as muftis, are to be given the right to perform civil marriages in Turkey in the future, according to a draft bill. Until now this has been the privilege of registry offices, and religious marriages were an adjunct to the civil marriage. The move has unleashed an emotional debate in the Turkish media.
Progress for devout Muslims
Hayrettin Karaman comes out in favour of the draft bill in Yeni Şafak arguing that it makes life easier for devout Muslims:
“If a Muslim wanted religious recognition for his marriage, and was unable to realize this, for example, within the context of civil marriage ceremonies, he would go either before or after the official ceremony to a khawaja and get married a second time. Were this draft bill to become law, every man will be able to choose whether he wants to go the the state official or to the mufti. Those who go to the mufti will be freed from their dilemma because the marriage ceremony conducted there will be in accordance with the various conditions and demands of Islamic law. They will find inner peace and kill two birds with one stone.”
Getting the Turks used to sharia
Theologian Cemil Kılıç of OdaTV fears that Turkey is moving ever closer to becoming a sharia state:
“This is not a stand-alone issue. Rather it is a ruling that is seen as a necessary step towards the sharia state model. The topics that have been added to the school curriculum for the elective subject of religion and for the compulsory subjects of religious culture and ethics in order to accustom the new generation to the laws of sharia are a sign that society is being rapidly pushed towards sharia. ... Let us be frank here: the fact that the muftis are being given the right to perform civil marriage ceremonies means that Islamic rulings on marriage and divorce will be legalized. It will drag Turkey into a dark tunnel on the path to becoming a religious state.”