Another night in which actual work is preventing me from enjoying my new blog. I took a short break to look for information on the Alevi in Turkey, and wound up on a site called What you need to know about Agnosticism/Atheism". I don't think I could be an atheist -- I lack the necessary piety, devoutness and rigor to ascribe to this peculiarly ascetic faith.
In any case, the site has a page on the Alevi, on which we are informed,
Even though scholars of the contemporary Middle East tend to associate Alevi with Syria, where they have played an influential political role since the 1960s, a majority of all Alevi actually live in Turkey. Alevi include almost all of Turkey's Arab minority, from 10 to 30 percent of the country's Kurds, and many ethnic Turks. In fact, a majority of Alevi may be Turks. Historically, Alevi resided predominantly in southeastern Turkey, but the mass rural-to-urban migration that has been relatively continuous since 1960 has resulted in thousands of Alevi moving to cities in central and western Anatolia. Consequently, Alevi communities of varying size were located in most of the country's major cities by the mid-1990s.
Because of centuries of persecution by Sunni Muslims, Alevi became highly secretive about the tenets of their faith and their religious practices. Consequently, almost no reliable information about Alevi Islam is available. Unsympathetic published sources reported that Alevi worshiped Ali ibn Abu Talib, observed various Christian rituals, and venerated both Christian and Muslim saints. Prior to the twentieth century, information on the sect was so sparse and distorted that even Twelve Imam Shia regarded Alevi as heretics. However, the tendency among most contemporary Twelve Imam clergy is to recognize the Alevi as a distinct legal school within the Twelve Imam tradition. In addition, major Twelve Imam Shia theological colleges in Iran and Iraq have accepted Alevi students since the 1940s.
They list a source, incidentally, the Library of Congress, particularly its country studies.
Among the requirements of the faith of atheism, it seems to me, is an unhealthy obsession with religion.Posted by Ideofact at July 22, 2003 11:55 PM