Turkish Islamic school textbook says housework 'women’s duty,' abortion is murder

Textbooks used at Imam Hatip Islamic education institutions in Turkey are taught that housework is a woman’s duty and that all forms of abortion are murder,

Duvar English

Textbooks used at Islamic Imam Hatip schools in Turkey were revealed to include scandalous remarks on women and abortion, with the books saying that housework is a women’s duty, while men are responsible for household subsistence.

The Islamic high school books also assert that abortion is murder, the daily BirGün reported on Sept. 16. 

The textbooks used in Islamic Ethics classes at these schools, as analyzed by BirGün, teach family values that hinge on traditional, patriarchal gender norms. In a section of the book entitled “Spouses’ duties to one another,” men are presented as the cornerstone of the household, the “one who feeds the house.” Women, conversely, are taught that their responsibility is housework and child rearing. She is also, according to the textbook, expected to remain chaste. This is reflected in the dress of women pictured in the book - all women, including young girls, are veiled.

“The woman of the house…should behave respectfully and politely towards her husband. She should not behave in a way that would tarnish the honor and reputation of the family. She must protect her chastity and honor,” it writes.

Abortion, which is legal in Turkey until the tenth week of pregnancy, is also condemned in the book. According to the text, “a human begins to form from the moment the sperm and egg unite and fertilization begins.” It says that Islam bans all forms of abortion or induced miscarriage without a medical necessity and that “according to Islam, it is murder to kill, miscarry, or abort the child [fetus] in the womb at any time.”