Mixing genders in Turkish folklore dance is against Islam, Diyanet says

The participation of both men and women in the horon, a traditional Turkish folklore dance from Turkey’s Black Sea region, is “against Islam”, according to the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).

The book “Our Family Life”, which was recently released by the state religious authority from its digital archive and written by Diyanet board member Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yaman, suggested that men and women should not hold hands during the horon and dancing together at weddings was against Islam, TV broadcaster Tele 1 reported on Thursday.

Other un-Islamic practices include the drinking of alcohol, unaffiliated men and women dancing together, wearing clothes not adopted by the religion, exhibiting non-Muslim cultures and practices and avoiding armed protests, Diyanet spokesman Ali Ekber Ertürk said, citing the book.

The report sparked anger towards the book on social media.

“It is time to close the Diyanet. Let the money transferred to the Diyanet be transferred instead to the education of girls!” said Kurdish journalist and Ahval contributor Nurcan Baysal.

“Nothing surprising! According to them (the Diyanet), everything that men and women are in the same environment is sinful and forbidden, unless they’re married,” one Twitter user said.

“Just say ‘Woman is against Islam’ and don’t mumble it,” another Twitter account said.

“Our Family Life”, whose hardcopy version was sold in Diyanet-affiliated bookstores, also stated that it was forbidden for couples who have no intention of marriage to reside together. However, Yaman said, those who do intend to marry could move in together under certain restrictions, such as living in an environment “within the proximity of third parties” to ensure the couple does not engage in sexual activities until after their wedding.