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Incest fatwa lands Turkish religious directorate in hot water

Turks expressed their outrage at a response by the Religious Affairs Directorate to a question involving incest.
Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, addresses the media in Ankara January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION) - RTR4KMRF

Turkey's Diyanet, or Religious Affairs Directorate, announced through its website on Jan. 8 that it would be seeking legal advice on how to deal with people making allegedly perverted and twisted comments about the agency. Soon thereafter, media outlets began posting a link to Diyanet’s “Question and Answer” section, fingering it as the reason behind the notice. Within a few hours, Diyanet became the center of yet another controversy.

The newspaper Birgun shared a screen grab of a Diyanet Q&A in which an anonymous visitor to the interactive site had posed the question, “Would my marriage be void if I lust for my own daughter?” The Quran (4:23) prohibits incest, as does Turkish law, making the answer of an unidentified ulama (religious scholar) to this question all the more shocking. He stated, “There is a difference of opinion on the matter among Islam's different schools of thought. For some, a father kissing his daughter with lust or caressing her with desire has no effect on the man's marriage.” He went on to assert that according to the Hanafi school of Islamic thought, the mother would be “forbidden” to such a man. After elaborating in graphic and disturbing detail about girls' attire, he suggested, “The girl should be over nine years of age.” He also referred to writings by particular religious scholars and gave a concluding explanation about differences in sexual arousal between males and females.

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