The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has admitted a mistake in the controversial fatwa issued on its website last week addressing a father’s potential lust for his daughter, saying it was caused by a “misinterpretation” of the Arabic and the officials responsible have been fired.
Diyanet head Mehmet Görmez said there had been a “misinterpretation” of the original Arabic but slammed media reports on the controversy as “false news engineering.”
“This was not a report but false news engineering, which included Islamophobic hate,” Görmez said in an interview on state-run TRT Haber.
He claimed that the target of the reports was “Islam itself,” adding that they amounted to the “worst defamation against the Diyanet ever.”
Outrage had been stirred after the Diyanet responded to a question on whether “a father’s lust for his daughter would affect his marriage.” It had stated that there was 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,” the answer said, referencing various religious sources. It cited the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence as an exception, as it sees the daughter’s mother as “haram” (Arabic for “forbidden”) to such a man.
“Moreover, the girl would have to be over nine years of age,” the answer also said.
The scandalous “fatwa” created a social media storm, with scores of users appealing to the Telecommunications Presidency’s Internet Hotline accusing Turkey’s top religious body of “encouraging child abuse.” The Diyanet subsequently removed the answer from its website and posted a warning, saying the page in question was “under repair.”
The religious body - one of Turkey’s best funded state institutions - recently came under fire after it stated that engaged couples should not hold hands or spend alone time during the engagement period.