Fatma Yavuz worked as a Koran Course teacher at the Directorate of Religious Affairs for 14 years. In 2019, she was dismissed from her job following an investigation on the grounds that she did not comply with the provision found in the Presidency of Religious Affairs’ Regulation, stating that employees should be “known in their environment as persons upholding Islam, its creed, worship practices and morality”.
– Dissident religious women who understand sacred texts differently than those who have been traditionally shaping religious doctrine are more at risk of being targeted. Fatma Yavuz is a pious Muslim woman, standing against ISIS and against the mistreatment of LGBTI+ individuals. She is calling people of other faiths her brothers and sisters, opposing Islamic interpretations that denigrate women, standing up for human rights for all. She disrupts fundamental prejudices/assumptions prevalent in Turkish society. We call on the Turkish authorities to protect her as a human rights defender, and to protect freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, says Dr. Mine Yildirim, who is head of the Freedom of Belief Initiative for the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
Together with several human rights organizations, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has issued a statement urging government institutions and officials in Turkey to condemn such acts and to take measures against similar actions and to protect Yavuz.