Turkish Director of Religious Affairs Support Religious Ed.
(Ebru News/AP) Directorate of Religious Affairs head Ali Bardakoglu said yesterday that courses on religion should be compulsory and that raising children who have no knowledge of religion will lead to serious problems.
In a press conference, Bardakoglu criticized a recent ruling of the Council of State that declared Turkey's religion courses cannot be obligatory in their current form, saying these courses are absolutely necessary for children.
The Council of State ruled on Monday that students should not be required to attend religion courses under the current curriculum, which focuses solely on Sunni Islam.
"Religion courses do not aim at bringing up devout individuals. They give information about religion and culture to children. Obligatory religion classes are essential for children as bringing up a generation with no knowledge of religion will cause serious problems," said Bardakoglu.
He stressed that it wouldn't be right to abolish courses on religion just because there are a few mistakes in the curriculum. "It is like closing down a whole hospital just because a few patients were mistreated," he said.
Bardakoglu also said Alevism cannot be considered a separate religion from Islam. "Those who try to show that Alevism is a faith outside of Islam have no knowledge of our religion. It is also disrespectful to Alevism. Alevism cannot exist without faith in God, the Prophet Mohammed and the holy Quran," he noted.
Stressing that the Directorate of Religious Affairs embraces people from all segments of society, Bardakoglu said information on Alevism should be included in the curriculum to raise public awareness about the real Alevism.
"The decision of the Council of State on compulsory religion courses seems to be the extension of an earlier ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the religion classes. Giving information on a religion doesn't necessarily mean imposing the fundamentals of that religion on individuals," Bardakoglu added.
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