Turkey Rolls Back Secular Education To Raise 'Pious Generation'

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According to Huffington Post, the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party insists it is simply heeding the demands of a conservative and pious majority. It says the education measures aim to undo restrictions on religious education that were imposed following Turkey's so-called "soft military coup" of 1997, when the then-powerful military -- which saw itself as the guardian of Ataturk's secular principles -- pressured an Islamic-led government out of power and moved to close down vocational religious middle schools.

Turkey has long enshrined the secular ideals of founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, particularly in an education system that until recently banned Islamic headscarves in schools and made schoolchildren begin the day reciting an oath of allegiance to Ataturk's legacy. Now proponents of Turkey's secular traditions claim President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking a new path, building a more Islam-focused education system to realize his stated goal of raising "pious generations."

Pastor Ahmet Guvener managed to get his daughter, a Christian, an exemption from mandatory religious classes in her Turkish school. But he soon found that the 17-year-old wasn't really off the hook.

As an alternative to the classes at her school in Diyarbakir, in southeast Turkey, she would have to choose from three electives: the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran or basic religious knowledge -- or fail the year.

For more details please check Huffington Post

Tags: #RegionalReport, #Turkey

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