Istanbul mayor to distribute sweets to Alevi worshippers during Muharram fast

Istanbul’s new mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, has announced that his municipality will deliver sweets to the places of worship used by Turkey’s Alevi religious minority throughout the Alevi holy month of Muharrem, secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported.

Many of Turkey’s largest religious minority, which numbers some 15 to 25 million Alevis will participate in a 12-day fast during Muharrem, which this year begins on August 31.

İmamoğlu expressed his support and sympathy for Alevis during the religious period, a time of mourning which culminates in a commemoration of the slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.  

The main opposition Republian People’s Party (CHP) mayor’s statement said that the municipality would distribute sweets to the city’s 93 Cem houses, Alevi places of worship, for those participating in the daytime fasting.

Alevis have often had a difficult relationship with Turkish governments, which have favoured the Sunni Islam practiced by the majority of Turks as the country’s official religion. The religious minority is often associated with the secularist CHP.