MOSQUE CENTERED FOREIGN RELIGION SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE TURKISH PRESIDENCY OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS: THE CASE OF CANADA

Abstract

Author(s): Mustafa SAFA?

 Religious Affairs Department, established to inform the society on religion and to manage places of worship, is an institution that, besides its domestic religious services, continues in an expanding manner its duty to provide religious services to Turkish citizens and compatriots abroad with its international organizational structure. The religious services abroad, which started in the 1970s and gained a more institutional and organized manner since 1980, continues to expand in Europe, Australia and the Americas. In recent years, religious consultancies, attaché offices and coordinatorships have been opened in many Asian and African countries and foreign religious services have reached 106 countries. This study has been carried out through the examination of the mosque-centered activities towards worshiprelated, religious education and cultural needs of fellow citizens and compatriots provided by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs in Canada from early 1990s onwards. It has been found that our citizens and compatriots living in Canada have considered the Presidency of Religious Affairs and the Religious Foundation of Canada more reliable sources for a genuine understanding of religious beliefs and practices than other religious institutions and organizations; it was observed that they showed substantial interest in the mosque-centered institutional service. This study is expected to contribute to Turkish and Canadian cooperative solutions towards faith and worship-related, and cultural challenges that citizens living in Canada face, as well as in meeting humanitarian and social needs, and last but not least in provision of solution-oriented diversification of mosque-centered foreign religious services.

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