Thousands of Turkish families too afraid to apply to have children removed from religion lessons – atheist group
Thousands of families have applied to Turkey’s Atheist Association for help in getting their children out of compulsory religion classes, the group’s president said, but the prevailing atmosphere of fear is stopping them taking it to the legal stage.
“We tell them not to be afraid and that they are not alone,” Zehra Pala said. “But sadly, people are afraid of the government.”
“For example,” she continued, “people are afraid that they will lose their jobs and that their children will be blacklisted.”
The announcement comes in light of a Turkish court judgement that the country’s compulsory religion classes – taught from the perspective of the state-sponsored form of Islam – are incompatible with the constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Education expert Prof. Nejla Kurul told Duvar that the compulsory religion lessons were part of a wider political trend.
“The reason for this is that there is an authoritarian and totalitarian education policy that seeks uniformity in place of a pluralistic societal understanding,” she said.
“This tendency can be seen clearly in areas outside education as well.”