Voice International – Voice of the Island Cyprus

Reactions against prayer room next to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery!

Reactions have poured in against the decision to have a prayer room opened next to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery, belonging to the Orthodox Church in Dipkarpaz (Rizokarpaso).
Shopkeepers are refusing to move into rooms, built during restoration work, for artisans selling souvenirs, it has been reported.
A decision has been put forward for two remaining empty rooms to be converted into prayer rooms.
Following news of the decision, reactions were made on social media.
Dipkarpaz Mayor Hamit Bakırcı who spoke to Kıbrıs argued that a prayer room was a public request. “It is a building belonging to the Evkaf (Vakıflar) and not the church. The Evkaf approved the decision. The Muslim community visiting the region will use it. Look at Israel today, the church and the mosque are being used mutually; I don’t understand why there is a sense of shame. It’s not a mosque. It is a room. There will be no ‘call for prayer’ and there will be no ‘rituals’ taking place there,” he said.


The General Director of the Evkaf Administration İbrahim Benter said that the rooms were prepared and that at the request of the church, attempts were made for shopkeepers to move there. Politicians intervened and we could not move them in, he said adding that the rooms were then handed over following a proposal from the municipality. Benter said that he had no intentions of going to the edge of Karpaz and opening a small prayer room. Benter also said that he was in touch with church officials and that they did not complain over the matter.
Responding to a question on his thoughts if the same thing would be proposed for the Hala Sultan Tekke (Mosque of Umm Haram), Benter said, “Of course, we cannot accept in a close place that could cause disruption. For us, the priest is in charge of the church. The keys are with the priest and that person opens and closes freely and even stays there”. But the Hala Sultan Tekke (Mosque of Umm Haram)is affiliated with the Department of Antiquities in South Cyprus, Benter said and that every morning, as in all government offices, the Hala Sultan Tekke opens at 9 and closes at 5, the management is not under the authority of North Cyprus. We come and go as guests, he said adding that there are also rooms on the side of the mosque that we are not allowed to use either.

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