Viral video of Turkish proposal in front of Islam’s Kaaba sparks anger online

Video grab of the marriage proposal.
Updated 21 March 2017
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Viral video of Turkish proposal in front of Islam’s Kaaba sparks anger online

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.


Mystical connection: The African village where crocodiles are welcome

Updated 54 min 42 sec ago
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Mystical connection: The African village where crocodiles are welcome

BAZOULE, Burkina Faso: Crocodiles may be one of the deadliest hunters in the animal kingdom, but in a small village in Burkina Faso it is not unusual to see someone sitting atop one of the fearsome reptiles.
People in Bazoule, around 30 kilometers from the capital Ouagadougou, share their pond with more than 100 of the razor-toothed creatures.
“We got used to the crocodiles when we were young, swimming in the water with them and all that,” said Pierre Kabore, just a few meters (yards) away from a crocodile feasting on chicken provided by the village.
“Now we can always approach them and sit on them — and if you have the courage, you can lie on them too. There’s no problem, they are sacred crocodiles. They don’t do anything to anyone.”
According to local legend, the startling relationship with the predators dates back to at least the 15th century.
The village was in the grip of an agonizing drought until the crocodiles led women to a hidden pond where the population could slake their thirst.
“The villagers organized a party to celebrate and thank the reptiles,” Kabore said.
A celebration known as Koom Lakre is still held every year during which villagers make sacrifices and ask the animals to grant their wishes of health, prosperity and a good harvest.
Far from being considered a threat, the crocodiles are deemed to have a mystical connection with Bazoule.
“Crocodiles are represented as the soul of our ancestors and if one of them dies, they are buried and even given a funeral as if they were human,” said Kabore.
“When a misfortune is about to happen in the village, they cry out. Elders are charged with interpreting the cries, and then make wishes to ward off bad luck.”
The unusual contact between man and croc has drawn disbelieving tourists to the village to see for themselves.
On their arrival, travelers can buy a chicken which is hung on a stick by a guide and used to entice the crocodiles out of the pond so that visitors can pose with the creatures.
“It was nice to watch from a distance but sitting on one was a bit freaky,” said Thomas Baspin, a young Frenchman who came to visit his grandparents in Burkina Faso.
“I’m glad I did it — but I’m also glad it’s over!” he quipped.
Tourism has become a big money-spinner for the impoverished villagers, but a three-year-old jihadist insurgency in Burkina Faso is taking its toll.
Ouagadougou has come under attack three times, most recently in March, when jihadists attacked the military headquarters and French embassy.
“We could have more than 10,000 visitors per year but at the moment, there’s no more than 4,000 or 5,000,” said Raphael Kabore, one of the guides.
Global warming is also believed to be having an impact. Rainfall levels are down each year, and the famous pond that is the crocodiles’ home is shrinking. When it disappears, will the reptiles once more guide their human friends to a new watery home?