İstanbul mosque turned into food bank to tackle coronavirus crisis: report

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Sarıyer Dedeman mosque

An İstanbul mosque has been turned into a food bank to help the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic, AFP reported.

Located in İstanbul’s Sarıyer district, the Dedeman mosque, closed like all places of worship in Turkey, has been transformed by its young imam, Abdülsamet Çakır.

“After prayers were suspended, I had the idea of reviving the mosque by allowing well-off people to help those in need,” Çakır, 33, told AFP.

Shelves usually reserved for the shoes of the faithful are full of packages of pasta and biscuits and bottles of olive oil.

Posters on the mosque’s windows call for those who can to drop off non-perishable food items and for those in need to come and help themselves.

Çakır said the initiative was inspired by the “sadaka taşı” tradition, a stone with a hole in it that contained charity items for the poor.

Over 2,200 people have died due to COVID-19 in Turkey, which counts nearly 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Half the cases are in İstanbul.

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