Religion classes contradict with principle of equality: Turkey court

As the Turkish government’s imposition of compulsory Islamic classes on school-age children in Turkey, a parent, Selnur Aysever, who wanted her child to be exempted from the Islamic course but rejected by the ministry, applied to the court regarding the issue. Finding the parent’s demand justified, the Administrative Court has ruled that ‘the rejection’ of the ministry is unlawful
Thursday, 25 October 2018 22:12

Selnur Aysever, a parent of a primary school student, submitted a petition for the exemption of her child from the compulsory Islamic classes on Oct 5, 2017. The Provincial Directorate for National Education in Istanbul rejected Aysever’s petition stating that "You must certify that you are a member of Christianity or Judaism."

The parent who brought the rejection decision to the Administrative Court demanded the cancellation of "the rejection." The Istanbul 4th Administrative Court has annulled the rejection decision of the Provincial Directorate for National Education by finding it against the law.

"Decisions of the ECHR regarding the previous violations and granting exemption from compulsory religious classes for only students who believe in Christianity and Judaism would lead to inequality," the court said.


Evaluating the court decision and the legal process she has experienced Aysever said: "I am against the compulsory religion courses as a principle. There is a very simple reason why I want my child to be exempted from these courses: I want my child to have a scientific and secular education. This reason is quite enough. The compulsory religion classes are an imposition in our country today. I also disapprove of the state-led religion impositions on my child in the school due to pedagogical reasons. When my petition was rejected, we immediately initiated a legal action against the compulsory religion classes."

"Therefore, teaching religion to a child of that age is an imposition; no matter what religion you teach," Aysever added.


Underlining that the parents who want their children to be exempted from the compulsory religion classes must screw up their courage, Aysever said: "It is the right of every parent to demand their child to be exempted from the religion classes. I was not alone when I filed this claim. There were other parents that we acted together. There was also The Enlightenment Movement against Reactionism.  Solidarity, acting together and being organized give people more power to sustain their struggles. The more people get organized, the more they become powerful."

The Enlightenment Movement set out in early 2016 by the call from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) in order to struggle against the urge to transform Turkey into a country ruled by religious principles. The Movement attracted a significant public attention after its initial declarations and mass meetings throughout Turkey while receiving many attacks from the obscurant front.