ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

Raising a storm of controversy, an Islamic leader has claimed the Alevis, a religious group that follows a particular sect of Islam, had insufficient religious authority to train teachers for prayer houses.
�There are 3,500 eligible people who provide this necessary service for the Alevis,� said professor İzzettin Doğan, head of the Cem Foundation, which is a part of the Alevi community. �This is an institutionalized service, not a service which can be put across by just anyone and who might change their sides or does not have the eligibility for the job.�
The Ahlul Bayt Academy was established within the framework of the World Ahlul Bayt Foundation and launched by the Alevis and Bektaşis 12 years ago. A total of 120 university graduate students, 30 of who are from overseas, will have a two-year education from the academy and they will be able to work in the Cemevi, prayer houses of Alevis, with a certificate from the academy.
�No spiritual leader has been educated since the dervish lodges were closed in 1925,� said Fermani Altun, the head of World Ahlul Bayt Foundation. Yet, when asked if they had any support from the Cem Foundation, Altun said, �They are a whole different school; we are different as well.�
He said there were 1,500 Cemevis operating similar to schools without teachers.
�Those who have only been to primary schools cannot learn enough by themselves by reading randomly,� Altun said. �The legendary information came all the way to today passing through the generations.�
He also said they will educate spiritual leaders for the Alevi prayer houses in this academy. Among the curriculum, there will also be all beliefs, world civilizations, Ahlul Bayt, which is usually referred as Prophet Mohammed's family, and the history of Islam.
�All 12 imams each have, perhaps, 50 books. We commemorate Ali by only talking,� he said. �Besides, we'll have a lot of people competent on the subject. Hüseyin Hatemi, many spiritual leaders and poets and I will be teaching.�
But according to professor İzzettin Doğan, the head of Cem Foundation, �He is not the right type of spiritual leader approved neither by Alevis, nor by the Bektaşis.
�Fermani Altun tries to benefit himself from such actions. The politicians use him and he sets up such a game by using the politicians,� said Doğan. He claimed that there are spiritual leaders and institutions for the Alevis and Bektaşis, one example being the Religious Services Alevi-Islam Association.