The success of last Sunday’s Mevlit, which was watched by tens of thousands of people in Britain and abroad, has prompted Kanal T to create a new weekly prime time slot for the religious programme.
The broadcaster, one of North Cyprus’ biggest television channels, will screen the Mevlit at 5.30pm UK time (7.30pm Cyprus & Turkey time), every Sunday straight after its main evening news.
The hour-long televised Mevlit (traditional prayers) will be conducted by Husayn Hashim El Bakayi, the UK’s most prominent Turkish Cypriothoca(pastor) from Shacklewell Lane Mosque in East London.
The programme makers aim to offer spiritual comfort to families who have lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic and, due to the lockdown, are unable to hold a Mevlit, which is an integral part of Islam after a death.
To date, 44 Turkish Cypriots and 12 people from Turkey have been killed by the virus.
Relatives of those who have died from other causes are also impacted by the restrictions brought in by the government to contain the pandemic.
Turkish Cypriot families traditionally hold a Mevlit on three consecutive days after the burial of a loved one. However, the ban on gatherings has put a stop to this core ritual.
Main image, top, of Husayn Hoca during the first London Mevlit for Turkish Cypriot coronavirus victims, Shacklewell Lane Mosque, 05 April 2020. Photo © Duygu Tağmaç