Turkish students depict sacred Islamic site alongside rainbows. They’re detained and dubbed ‘deviants’ by ministers

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1/30/21

The Kaaba is the most sacred site in Islam, being a building in the centre of the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Tensions have simmered at Boğaziçi University in Instanbul after a supposed loyalist of Turkey’s governing party, the Justice and Development Party, was appointed as a senior official by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Student-led pushback erupted earlier this month, as demonstrators, many holding LGBT+ Pride flags, argued that the presidential appointment of professor Melih Bulu as rector went against the university’s 158-year-long history of electing its own. According to Ahval, yet another fever pitch in the weeks-long outcry was sparked when four students allegedly laid down a piece of artwork that depicted the Kaaba alongside rainbow symbols commonly associated with LGBT+ Pride. The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office accused the students of “laying a photo of the Kaaba on the ground in a Boğaziçi University exhibition”.

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