Mandatory religion class in Turkey discriminates against non-Muslim faiths, study finds

Mandatory religion classes in Turkey's school curriculum are discriminatory against religions that are not Islam, and have explicit biases in favor of Islam, a recent study revealed. The class materials reportedly often refer to Islam as "our religion."

Duvar English

Turkey's education materials in mandatory religion classes are discriminatory against religions other than Islam, a recent study within the "Project for Supporting Diversity and Freedom of Religion and Faith in Turkey's Education System" revealed. 

Many books use expressions like "our religion," "our holy book," and "our prophet" about Islam, which can lead to dogmas regarding religion, researcher Dr. Özgür Heval Çınar said.

The curriculum doesn't include any teachings about non-monotheistic faiths and only refers to Christianity and Judaism briefly in the context of their followers in the Arab Peninsula before the emergence of Islam, Çınar added.

Some of the expressions in the curriculum are so biased that they effectively disrespect other religions, the report said, noting a phrase that read "The only religion accepted by God is Islam."

“Everyone's freedom of thought, conscience and religion should be respected, and all faiths and religions should be represented inclusively and without bias; this is a basic human right."

The curriculum is also biased about lifestyles and morals, the report said, noting phrases that discourage divorce and encourage marriage, and openly enforce primitive gender stereotypes.

"A woman owes you to not allow people you don't like in your house and to not talk to people you don't like. Be careful! You owe her a bounty to eat and wear," said one expression from the curriculum.

Both religious and non-religious students were unsatisfied with the religion curriculum, either because they found it superficial and repetitive, or because they find it boring and memorization-based.