News in Bet-Nahren, Assyria

300 years Old Church was Converted to Mosque with One Petition
by Kurdish Observer, October 20, 2000.
Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2000 01:30 am CST


MARDIN, Turkey (Kurdish Observer) - Rejections for converting a 300 years old Assyrian church to mosque in the Bare village in Mardin province’s Midyat district fall on deaf ears. Assyrians said that if the internal laws do not provide a solution then, they will apply to international laws.

The arguments over converting a 300 years old Assyrian church is continuing. Yusuf Bozkurt is taking Midyat Religious Affairs (Only for Sunni sect of Islam. Christians and members of Alawi sect of Islam are being discriminated) to court. Bozkurt’s lawyer Sehymus Miroglu said that if they do not get an answer from Turkish courts then, they will take the case to international courts.

Yusuf Bozkurt was forced to leave Turkey 16 years ago. He returned to his village, Bare (Bardakci in Turkish. Turkey have renamed Kurdish villages, towns, cities and mountains in order to deny existence of Kurdish people and the Kurdish culture. People wonder where else in the world this happens. Even China did not change name of places in Tibet) to find out that the church have been converted to a mosque. He applied to Religious Affairs with his lawyer Miroglu to convert back the church. The request was partially paid off because Religious Affairs pulled back the Imam in order to void the arguments.

On the other hand Midyat Religious (the local) Affairs said that the building should stay as mosque. After the news leaked to the media, the district Religious Affairs applied to City Religious Affairs and argued that the building should stay as mosque. After this request, City Religious affairs decided that the church to be used as mosque.

Lawyer Shehmus Miroglu said the sanctuary was used as an Assyrian church for hundreds of years and there were no reasons to convert the church to a mosque. Lawyer Mioroglu also showed the Assyrians cemetery as the evidence that Assyrians lived there for hundreds of years. Miroglu said, “If it was really a mosque, how would they explain the Assyrian cemetery. I had wine in numerous times in that church. I reject the Religious Affairs' claim. I do not find this to be appropriate in the Islam which these people claim that they are doing for Islam.”

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