Denmark Recognizes Alevi Movement as an Independent Faith Community
The Center for Islamic Pluralism is pleased to note that the Danish government has granted recognition of the Alevi movement as a distinct faith community, similar to its status in Germany. Alevi secretary-general Aslan Erkan commented, "We are happy and proud of this outcome. The Alevis are still not recognized in Turkey. Everybody is aware that Alevis are victims of discrimination in Turkey, if they put forward their beliefs."
The Alevi movement seeks recognition as a faith community in Turkey. Unlike Sunni Muslims, the Alevis in Turkey are heterodox, combining Shia traditions, Sufism, and the Turkish spiritual legacy. They do not receive funding or other support from the authorities. The Turkish government does not support the construction of cem houses, the meeting halls for Alevi spiritual observances, or provide any other assistance to the group.
Alevis in Turkey have also been subjected to physical attacks, including a reprehensible incident of mass murder at Sivas in 1993. The Turkish government designates Alevism as a cultural, rather than a religious, phenomenon. The Danish and German status of Alevis is significant in promoting the self-esteem of Alevis.
CIP coordinates with the Alevi movement in Germany on issues of Western European assimilation of Muslims, minority rights within Islam, and women's status -- on all of which the Alevis are notably progressive.
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz