Media ‘over-emphasising’ femicides, says Hagia Sophia imam in Women’s Day message

The head imam of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Mosque on Monday criticised the media over what he called its excessive coverage of femicides in the country, saying the term femicide sought to make women enemies of men.

“A murder is a murder,’’ Mehmet Boynukalın said on Twitter in a message celebrating International Women’s Day.

“The constant emphasis on ‘femicides’ is a slogan-geared media propaganda tool that looks to pit women against men,’’ he added.

A total of 300 femicides were recorded in Turkey in 2020, according to the We Will Stop Femicides organisation. Another 171 women were found dead under suspicious circumstances in the country last year, the organisation says, with some of those cases including alleged suicides.

The professor of Islamic Law at Marmara University went on to share a verse from the Qur’an, speaking on the equality between men and women, which said the most valuable person before Allah is the one who is most “god-fearing.’’

Boynukalın made headlines last month when he called for the French-inspired laïcité, a less libertarian form of the concept of secularism, to be removed from Turkey’s constitution.

The Republic of Turkey should return to its “factory settings,’’ Boynukalın said.

The 50-year-old was appointed head imam of Hagia Sophia in July, shortly after the sixth century UNESCO-listed site which was initially an Orthodox Christian cathedral, was converted into a mosque.