About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
Anti-Minaret Protest in Akhaltsikhe
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Aug.'13 / 15:40

A group of demonstrators gathered on August 29 in Akhaltsikhe to protest against possible return of removed minaret back to a mosque in the village of Chela in Adigeni municipality of Samtskhe-Javakheti region.

Muslim community leaders in Batumi said that PM Ivanishvili conveyed to them via head of government of Adjara Autonomous Republic, Archil Khabadze, that the minaret would be returned back to Chela by Thursday evening.

But protesters, who are now gathered on a square in the entrance of Akhaltsikhe at local bus terminal, say they will not allow the minaret to be transported back to the village of Chela. The protest is led by two individuals – Goderdzi Kublashvili, who runs Adigeni-based non-governmental organization Public Hall for Development of Adigeni, launched earlier this year, and Giorgi Kopadze, a town mayor back in early 2000s, who has close links with local Orthodox clerics.

Earlier on August 29, protesters were initially gathered outside the police headquarters in Akhaltsikhe and then moved towards the bus terminal at the entrance of the town, threatening to block the road not to let the minaret being transported back to the village of Chela.

As dozens of protesters were marching towards Akhaltsikhe bus terminal, one of the participants, speaking through megaphone, was calling on others: “Brothers and sisters, Georgian citizens, everyone who does not want the minaret to be erected in the village of Chela of Adigeni municipality, join us. Everyone whose heart beats for the homeland and our religion, join us. Long live Christian Georgia.”

The minaret was forcibly removed from the mosque in Chela on August 26 sparking Muslim community’s protest. On August 20 a local city council (Sakrebulo) in Adigeni passed a decision according to which the minaret was constructed illegally without obtaining permission from the local authorities. But formally the reason for removal of the minaret was a decision by the Revenue Service at the Finance Ministry, which said that the minaret was removed for the purpose of its inspection to verify if the metal construction materials, used for building of the minaret, were properly declared when cargo was imported into Georgia from Turkey on July 14.

Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, condemned the way how the minaret was removed and said that even though there was “legal ground” for removal of the minaret, the authorities should have acted otherwise in such a “delicate” situation. He told journalists on August 29, that “such a rude meddling” by the authorities “insulted Georgia’s Muslim community.”

Small village of Chela with about couple of hundred people, like several other nearby villages in Adigeni municipality, is populated by ethnic Georgians – some of them Muslims, who resettled there from Adjara and others are Orthodox Christians, who migrated from Racha region. 

After the minaret was erected in Chela in July, Adigeni-based non-governmental organization chaired by Goderdzi Kublashvili, started a campaign demanding its removal. Kublashvili was planning a protest rally in Adigeni to demand minaret’s removal, but on August 6 he told Akhaltsikhe-based Channel 9 TV that he decided to cancel the rally “to prevent provocations” and to “give the authorities reasonable timeframe to resolve the issue.” Signatures of citizens were reportedly also collected requesting minaret’s removal, but locals in Chela were telling the Akhaltsikhe-based Samkhretis Karibche newspaper that they were not aware who was behind the campaign and that they were not joining it.

Latest News
01 May.'18 10:55
We Have Moved to a New Platform
Direct Your Bookmarks to https://civil.ge.
29 Apr.'18 03:54
Ruling Party Candidate Wins MP By-Elections
Givi Chichinadze will represent Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency in the Parliament of Georgia.
28 Apr.'18 09:40
Polls Open for Vani and Khoni MP By-Elections
48,123 voters are eligible to cast their ballots in Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency.
27 Apr.'18 17:23
State Dept’s Europe Affairs Point Man to Visit Tbilisi
Wess Mitchell will meet senior government officials and address the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum.
27 Apr.'18 13:45
In Quotes: Georgian Politicians on Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Comeback
Bidzina Ivanishvili will be approved as the Georgian Dream party chairman at the upcoming convention.
26 Apr.'18 18:15
SG Jens Stoltenberg: Georgia NATO’s ‘Very Close’ Partner
The NATO Secretary General says Foreign Ministers meeting tomorrow will recognize the country’s progress.
26 Apr.'18 14:24
Ex-PM Ivanishvili to Chair Georgian Dream Party
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Ivanishvili was ‘best equipped’ to add new dynamism to the party.
26 Apr.'18 11:12
Lawmaker Proposes Criminal Liability for ‘Insult of Religious Feelings’
The parliamentary human rights committee decided to set up a working group for scrutinizing the draft law.
25 Apr.'18 17:21
New Abkhaz Government Head Appointed
Gennady Gagulia has served as the Abkhaz “prime minister” twice - in 1995-1997, and 2002-2003.
25 Apr.'18 14:43
Watchdog Improves Georgia’s Press Freedom Ranking
None of the countries of the former Soviet Union (except the Baltics) are ranked ahead of Georgia.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2019, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
31