At the entrance of an Istanbul mosque, the racks usually reserved for the shoes of the faithful are loaded with pasta packages, oil bottles and biscuits, like in a supermarket, SIA reports quoting AFP.
But they aren't for sale. Instead, they are destined for the needy, hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The sign on the mosque's window asks anyone who can to leave something and says those in need can take something. Turkey's official death toll from the virus now stands at 2,259, and major cities, including Istanbul, will be under lockdown for four days from Thursday.
In this Ottoman system aimed at giving charity in a dignified manner without offending the needy, people with means would leave whatever amount they wanted in a cavity on the top of the charity stone. Those who were in need would then take the amount they needed and leave the rest for others.
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