A dedicated imam in Istanbul’s pious Fatih district spends his after-work hours cooking for around 100 young people and oversees the distribution of food and clothing assistance to the needy in the neighborhood.
Metin Kaçar, who has been serving as the imam of the Hürrem Çavuş Mosque constructed in the 16th century by master Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, has been serving the mosque for the past 26 years and happily lends a helping hand to the needy in self-initiated projects, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
One of Kaçar’s inspirational projects was the Uhuvvet Market (Fraternity Market) and clothing store located inside the mosque’s courtyard, where the compassionate imam distributes essential commodities to the needy. The poor and destitute in the neighborhood usually visit the mosque on a regular basis to collect food staples. The mosque also hands out free bread (askıda ekmek) to hundreds of people in the morning on a daily basis.
The 60-year-old imam told AA that he has been trying to reach the needy since he was 19 and has been striving to go beyond his official duties as the imam of the mosque.
Noting that he wants to change the perception that mosques are solely places of worship, Kaçar said he wants to ensure that mosques bring together the needy and the compassionate people who want to help.
For instance, mosque authorities have asked the community to donate their used clothes for the “Wash, iron and bring to put a smile on a needy person’s face” project, which allowed them to donate clothes, shoes, blankets and more. A whopping 600 needy families in the neighborhood benefit from the mosque’s projects.
“We visit homes on a regular basis and know where the sick, the bed-ridden and disabled people live,” he said, adding that he and his team ensure the donations are not wasted. He continued by saying that they had to stop enrolling more people after the 600th family because they “unfortunately” could not afford more.
Besides the donations, Imam Kaçar rolls up his sleeves after the prayers to cook for the neighborhood’s youth, usually making three different dishes. “It is my pleasure to cook. I don my apron after being done with my mosque duties and cook three different dishes for at least 40 to 50 youth, sometimes even 80 to 100,” said Kaçar, adding that they could hire a cook but he wants to be a part of the process and leave an impression among the youth.
“Life is inside the mosque, the mosque is inside life,” he said, adding that he will continue to help the needy as long as philanthropists contribute to his projects.