Friday, June 13, 2008

'Allah's tailor' accused of disrespecting Islam

Mustafa Karaduman has been dubbed “Allah’s tailor” for his success at mass-marketing the ankle length coats and headscarves worn by conservative urban women who choose to cover up in style.
His fashion empire, which encourages women to dress according to the Islamic beliefs, produced £25 million in sales across the Muslim world last year.

But his commercial prowess has angered two Turkish theologians who claim he is profiting from Islamic belief having named his company after one of the Koran’s core statements.
Ilhami Guler and Suleyman Bayraktar lodged a complaint against the tailor over the name of his company, Tekbir, which refers to the belief – “Allah is great”.
“Jesus was upset by the sight of the money-lenders in the Temple, and I’m upset by the thought of a new generation of Muslims for whom Tekbir means expensive headscarves,” said Mr Guler.
The two academics are asking a court force Mr Karaduman to change the name of his company in line with a law that forbids the commercial use of names “imbued by society with a moral value.”
The case could open the floodgates against countless other Turkish companies with religious names such as Medina Travel.
Mr Karaduman is no stranger to controversy having in the past alienated both conservative and liberal elements of Turkish society. He has been vilified by religious conservatives in Turkey, who argue that the fashion displays of headscarf-wearing models he pioneered in the 1990s are un-Islamic.
Liberals were outraged by his recent public admission that he had three wives, something which is allowed under Sharia law but offically banned in Turkey.
Turkey’s supreme court has convened to decide whether to cancel a law allowing women to wear Islamic headscarves in the nation’s universities on the grounds that it was an affront to the secular system.
The ban was lifted in February by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which many believe is covertly seeking to replace the secular order with an Islamist regime.


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