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Monday, 13 December 2010

Segregation even in death - religion in Turkey


As far as I know, Turkey is a country with both Christian and Muslim population; although it is predominantly Muslim, both religions manage to co-exist at least on the surface.

Which is why this story is quite surprising; the remains of a retired Canadian diplomat Hans Himmelbach have been relocated to a remote corner in the Bodrum cemetery where he was buried because a prominent local family was uncomfortable with his proximity to the graves of their loved ones.

The diplomat’s wife objecting to the relocation of her husband’s remains, applied to the Bodrum Municipality five times for an intervention. Her efforts were futile; her husband’s grave was moved 20 meters and now lacks a proper gravestone.

Asked why they requested the grave to be moved, it appears the prominent Muslim family ’wasn’t comfortable’ performing their Muslim prayers so close to a Christian grave.

That answer will have seemed less ridiculous if both bodies weren’t rotting in the same earth regardless of the family's religion. The question is will the authorities have done the same thing if the request had come from the diplomat’s Christian family?

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