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RELIGION >Compulsory religion class ‘against the law,’ court in Turkey’s south rules

ANTALYA

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A court in the southern province of Antalya has ruled that compulsory religion classes are “openly against the law,” following a complaint filed by an atheist family. 

An atheist family applied to court in order to exempt their child, identified only by the initials as E.D., from compulsory religion classes, Doğan News Agency reported on March 15.

E.D.’s parents, identified only as Mehmet Ali D. and Demir D., applied to the district governor’s office in Antalya’s Muratpaşa on Nov. 7, 2016 and asked for their children to be exempt from religion and morality classes. The governor’s office in response said the class is compulsory, after which the family applied to the Antalya Fourth Administrative Court with assistance from the Education and Science Workers’ Union’s (Eğitim-Sen) Antalya branch. 

In their court file, the family said the class is not taught in an “objective and pluralistic way,” as the curriculum is based on only one religion, Sunni Islam. 

The family also said the fact that the class is compulsory, even though it could be against a student’s beliefs and philosophical views, is against the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Antalya court ruling for a stay of execution in the case, stating that the compulsory religion class “is openly against the law.” It also ruled that if the student takes the compulsory religion class it would pave the way for “irreparable” consequences for the complainant. 

Speaking about the incident, mother Demir D. said they previously filed a case for their older daughter on the same issue and they won it, adding that as a family they decided their daughters should research for themselves and choose their own stance on religion. 

Eğitim-Sen’s Antalya branch head, Kadir Öztürk, said education should not be given with religious content. 

“We are in favor of scientific and secular education,” Öztürk told Doğan News Agency.

March/15/2017

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