Bella Caio blasts from hijacked Turkish mosques’ speaker systems

A passenger ferry, with the Suleymaniye mosque in the background, sets sail in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 18, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)

The popular song Bella Ciao blared from mosques in Turkey, and a Turkish prosecutor on Thursday launched a probe into the alleged hijacking of the mosques’ speaker systems.

The tune, a World War II-era Italian anti-fascist anthem, has been adopted by leftists around the world but it has no particular association with religion and it was unclear why anyone would seek to broadcast it from mosques.

The government and religious officials reacted angrily to the breaking of a religious taboo -- mosques are supposed to only broadcast calls to prayer or other significant religious messages -- accusing unnamed individuals of "sabotage."

While the national religious body Diyanet filed a legal complaint and launched an internal inquiry, the Izmir prosecutor's office said it would investigate the original incident as well as social media users who posted about it.

Izmir is one of Turkey's secular bastions, where the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) dominates local politics.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its allies roundly criticised the stunt.

"Whoever committed this ugly act will surely be found," tweeted AKP spokesman Omer Celik.
Pro-government Sabah daily described it as a "scandal" and the Yeni Safak newspaper said it was a "vile attack" on mosques.

The coronavirus pandemic forced all mosques to close for collective prayer in March, even during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan which ends this weekend.

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Last Update: 20:06 KSA 23:06 - GMT 20:06
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