Sunday, March 21, 2010
Caferi Organize Workshop
Recent intitiatives taken by the government to advance minority rights now include the Alevis, the Kurds, and the Roma. Another group, oft-overlooked, are the Caferis, whose number has been estimated at 3 million. Caferis are largely Azerbaijani Turks who hale from Igdir provicne, which was included in Turkey following the province's transfer from Russia to Turkey following World War I. Caferis, however, largely identify as Shi'a Muslims distinct from Alevis, and the largest concentration of the group is in Istanbul. The Caferis recently organized a workshop for their community leaders. Like ther religious minority groups, the Caferis demand autonomy from the Religius Affairs Directorate, including the right to freely administrate their mosques, religious education classes, and property. They are also seeking inclusion of information about their religion in textbooks designed for manatory religious education classes in public schools, as well as opportunities to talk about their religion on Turkish state television and radio.