Islamic banks to process salaries of 150,000 religious affairs workers

Turkey will pay the salaries of employees of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, the country’s most-funded public institution, via Islamic banks.

Some 150,000 people will be affected by the mandatory decision, taken by the institution to help fight against interest rates, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday. The ruling was made by President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş, it said.

Public funding for Turkey’s top religious body, which funds mosques and religious activities across the country, has grown exponentially under the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has governed the country since 2002. The Turkish Statistical Institute estimates that the budget of the organisation is $1.87 billion.

Local administrative offices of the institution will hold auctions to decide which bank will process the salaries, Anadolu reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP has encouraged growth in Islamic banking. His party’s pro-religion policies are criticised by the main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP), which says they threaten Turkey’s secular Constitution and traditions.
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