Turkey’s top religious body dismisses ‘rocker imam’

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Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) on Friday dismissed an imam who started a rock band and gave concerts in the country and abroad, according to the Demirören news agency.

Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, who became an imam in 1990, gave his first concert in 2013 after forming his rock band with two other musicians. In 2014 he took the stage in the US and in 2016 in Portugal.

Tüzer was previously investigated by the Diyanet and was given two reprimands and two warnings.

In 2016 he was demoted from the position of imam by the Diyanet and assigned as a civil servant in a local religious office; however, a Turkish court overruled the Diyanet’s decision after an appeal by Tüzer.

This time the investigation concerned “giving concerts for money and without permission.”

Tüzer, however, insisted that he sought permission for every concert.

“During my life as an imam I was a spiritual guide to various people from all walks of life. I made them love our religion’s values. I presented Islam’s different faces to the world,” Tüzer said.

He will appeal his dismissal from the Diyanet as well.

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