JEDDAH: Marriage etiquette has changed over the generations and of all the headline-grabbing proposals from around the world, TRT reporter Yusuf Akyön may have taken the cake when he popped the question to his girlfriend this week.
Every culture has its own unique marriage traditions — many Muslims, for instance, prefer to propose to their significant others in the presence of family. Akyön, who hails from a Turkish family, decided to take his relationship with his girlfriend to the next level in Islam’s most sacred site, in front of the Kaaba in Makkah’s Grand Mosque.
The young man decided to surprise his loved one, taking advantage of the presence of their families, and pulled a ring from his pocket, saying: “We are here in front of the Kaaba and in the presence of our blessed mothers.
“Of course, I am embarrassed of doing this in front of them, but I think what I will do is good,” Akyön said in a video of the proposal that went viral after he shared it on his social media accounts.
Akyön is the son of the Turkish Press Attaché in Saudi Arabia Bahattin Akyön, Sözcü Newspaper reported.
Despite the fiancée’s shock, she jokingly asked Akyön to kneel while asking for her hand. “Kneel down otherwise I won’t say yes,” she said. The young man eventually kneeled before her, in a Hollywood-style moment.
However, Akyön faced a wave of criticism after posting the video online and had to delete his social media accounts.
Some Turkish social media users reacted to the video, saying it was disrespectful of the reporter to propose in such a sacred place.
Some even demanded the Turkish TV channel fire the reporter and hold him accountable for his actions.
“Intentionally or not, your correspondent, Yusuf Akyön, should be taught a lesson for abusing our holy sites,” user Merve Septioglu said on Twitter.
Others accused the reporter of seeking attention and fame by filming such a video, while some feared the move would trigger a ban on Turks performing Umrah and visiting the Kaaba.
Arabs social media users also shared their thoughts on the matter, with mixed reactions.
“I respect romance and cultures of other nations, but I wish [for] the same respect for our holy sites. Did you really have to propose to her here and in this way?” Waleed Al-Farraj, the editor-in-chief of Ayn Al-Youm news website tweeted.
However, some users came to his defense.
“Makkah people marry in the Grand Mosque and even invite others. It is normal,” Khalid Balbisi tweeted.