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Turkey has religious con men too

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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 12:45 PM
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Turkey has religious con men too

Cleric falls from grace (into the hotel pool)

Turkish daily newspapers are on the whole written, edited and produced by a liberal intelligentsia who are secular in their thinking. They are very similar to their Western counterparts and gladly indulge themselves when the opportunity presents itself to expose religious figures in flagrante.

Recently, they were handed a doozy of a story when one of the former best friends of Cuppeli Ahmet Hoca (translates as "Robed Teacher Ahmet") decided to reveal a few family secrets. Cuppeli Ahmet Hoca is one of the leading religious figures at the Ismailaga mosque and community center in Fatih, Istanbul. The mosque is a well-known focus for radical Islamic thought and Ahmet is one of its chief preachers.


He is also well known for his teachings, which encourage people to give up furniture and use floor cushions, to throw away their televisions, not to participate in social events where alcohol is present and not to swim in mixed company, or even in male company if the men are not covered up. He also preaches that one should dress simply whatever one's personal wealth, and that one's womenfolk should wear veils as well as the traditional scarf. He has multiple wives and believes that girls should not be educated at school.

Imagine everyone's surprise last week when Hurriyet newspaper printed pictures of him swimming in just a pair of shorts with bikinied women and riding on the back of a water scooter while on vacation in Malta in 2004. Throughout the course of the week the stories multiplied and questions have been raised about the Hoca's personal wealth and superstar behavior. The "friend" with whom he traveled all over Europe giving talks and selling religious cassettes (ostensibly for his religious trust but apparently for his personal gain) has revealed that they always stayed in five-star hotels, including those of the Sheraton, Hilton and Kempinski chains.

The same friend revealed that when he and his wife visited the Hoca at home they discovered that home was a US$2 million villa with outdoor pool and luxury furniture. Upon seeing the way the Hoca's wife was dressed in designer labels and expensive shoes, his own wife demanded to know why she had been subjected to wearing cheap goods despite their own wealth.

hey, being a religious con is a money making gig - whatever country he is in.
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