Bitlis locals watch ‘Five Minarets in New York’
Singer Mahsun Kırmızıgül’s recently released movie ‘Five Minarets in New York’ focuses on Islamophobia and a blood feud around the character Hacı Gümüş, a religious leader from Bitlis living in the United States. The movie’s name is a reference to the old folk song ‘Five Minarets in Bitlis,’ as there are five mosque minarets in the Bitlis skyline.
The only theater in the southeastern province of Bitlis recently hosted the popular movie “Five Minarets in New York” (New York’da Beş Minare), allowing local residents to watch their hometown on the silver screen. Bitlis plays a prominent role in the major action film.
“I liked the movie and found the quality of the movie well done. People have a chance to see the beauty of Bitlis,” said 18-year-old local Uğur Yalvaç, who lives in the Tatvan district, which hosts the theater.
Singer Mahsun Kırmızıgül’s recently released movie “Five Minarets in New York” focuses on Islamophobia and blood feuds through the character Hacı Gümüş, a religious leader from Bitlis living in the United States. The movie’s name is a reference to the old folk song “Five Minarets in Bitlis,” as there are five mosque minarets in Bitlis’ cityscape.
Many people who watched the movie commented on Internet forums that they find similarities between Gümüş, Fethullah Gülen and Said-i Nursi. The latter two are both real religious figures. Said-i Nursi is from the Nurs village of Bitlis; his followers frequently visit his house, which is like a tomb now. He was born at the end of 19th century and died in 1960. Gülen is considered Nursi’s student and is now the leader of the Gülen community. Gülen lives in the U.S.
The locals of Nurs village, who have not had a chance to see the movie, said it sounded like the character Hacı Gümüş could be associated with Said-i Nursi. Yalvaç, a student, said Bitlis is a conservative place. “You can find several religious groups having religious talks, yet they don’t go to the extreme by bowing in their rituals,” said Yalvaç, when asked whether Bitlis currently has religious figures similar to the main character of the movie.
However, Kırmızıgül’s press officials and the movie’s producer, director and actors said there is no relation between those figures and the movie character.
“I liked the movie of Kırmızıgül. The prototype Hacı Gümüş is an important symbol. We have many good citizens like Hacı Gümüş in Bitlis,” said Bitlis Gov. Nurullah Yılmaz during a press meeting held in the Bitlis Police House on Tuesday. Yılmaz intends to turn Nurs village into a religion tourism hotspot using its Nursi heritage.
On the other hand, Bitlis locals such as Bitlis Women’s Education and Cooperation Association Chairwoman Yurdagül Güngördü are concerned about conservatism dominating the city.
“Before accommodation services provided by associations such as the Bitlis Education and Presentation Association, or BETAV, began, students coming to Bitlis to study from other cities unfortunately resided in the religious houses with brothers and sisters and they were brainwashed as a result,” said Güngördü.
BETAV has constructed seven schools with 162 classrooms in several Bitlis neighborhoods. It has a student hostel with a capacity of 1,200 beds.
Concerning the ending of the movie, Fetin Kazancı, the owner of Rodi Mood and a member of BETAV’s Istanbul branch, said Bitlis was the city where feuds were seen the least in the East and the feudal system does not exist there. “I am 51 years old and I only know of one incident concerning a feud. Bitlis is a safe place.”
Original post: Bitlis locals watch ‘Five Minarets in New York’