End the ban on Sufi Orders in Turkey

For almost 1000 years, the country of Turkey has been the "birthplace" of the Mevlevi Sufi order (tariqa) commonly known as the Whirling Dervishes, because, the country holds the Mevlana Museum in the city of Konya, where Rumi one of the orders founders and patron saints himself is buried. The country has a rich history of religious diversity, and also has been an important center for the formation and practice of many Sufi orders.
In 1925 Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, implemented a ban on the organization and gathering of Sufi orders and lodges. Although it's not banned completely and Sufi practices are still allowed in private, this ban presents a significant barrier to religious freedom the country claims to promote. The ban was originally started in support of a new "secular order" and while I see the reasons behind such an action, secularism does not mean banning religion or religious groups, it means not having one official religion or promoting one over another. It was also promoted because the orders generally were self sufficient and could function under their own government and tended to disagree with many of the actions by the Turkish government so the ban was also implemented as a way to prevent that opposition. Many orders had to survive "underground" when the ban went into place and had to hold their dhikr ceremonies and rituals in secret.

About 50 years ago, the ban was loosened to allow Mevlevis to perform their group whirling ceremonies or "Sema" in public, however this was not an action based on religious tolerance but instead they lifted it because of the realization that it could bring lots of revenue from tourism. Now Turkey's "whirling dervish" ceremonies are a popular tourist attraction in the country. Furthermore, most of the people doing these public semas aren't even Mevlevis, they are actually actors who are hired to play the role of a mevlevi dervish in order to bring in more visitors.

For all of the things Sufis have done to enrich the culture and history of Turkey, We deserve to be treated as more than a tourist attraction. We deserve to have religious freedom, and to come together and organize ceremonies and rituals within our orders.

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