This influential, popular imam and Turkish Islamic TV preacher condemns chess and scientific space advancements, classing them with other things he considers sins, such as gambling and oral sex. It’s likely because intellectual pursuits will challenge his backward and supremacist ideology.
This is the same imam whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife visited two and a half years ago to get his blessing before the presidential elections.
“Playing chess is more sinful than gambling: Muslim televangelist,” Hürriyet Daily News, January 2, 2017:
Turkish televangelist Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, popularly known as “Cübbeli” Ahmet Hoca (Robed Ahmet Hoca), has raised eyebrows by claiming that playing chess is more sinful than gambling, daily Hürriyet reported on Jan. 2.
Ünlü said chess players were “cursed” and claimed that “most people who played chess are liars.”
“Playing chess is worse than gambling and eating pork … People who play chess are more prone to lying than others. People who play chess may not say the shahada [declaration of Islamic belief] while they are dying,” he said.
“People who play chess are cursed … You should count your prayer beads instead…”
Ünlü had hit headlines on Nov. 14 in 2014 by condemning the European Space Agency’s (ESA) successful landing of the Philae probe on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, describing the mission as “maniacal.”
More recently, he waded into a debate on the religious permissiveness of oral sex, slamming a colleague for describing it as religiously forbidden and saying there is no such ban in Islam.