With the beginning of the new school year, Hüsnü Öndül, President of the Human Rights Association (İHD), demands the removal of the mandatory religion courses.
Öndül sees the mandatory religion courses as part of the problem of human rights in Turkey.
He says the implementation is not only the concern of the Alevi believers, but the whole society.
“Can the state force upon the children of the citizens the mandatory religious education without taking the approval of the parents? How can this attitude be compatible with the principle of secularism? Or, how much this practice is consistent with the principle of the ‘democratic laicism’?”
“This is a subject that belongs completely to the individual; it is within the individual freedom category. It is outside the state’s domain of interference. As in other fields, the state should respect the pluralist structure of the society in the fields of religion, belief and culture. It should not impose anything; it should not discriminate.”
“To start with, the decisions of the European Human Rights Court about this subject should be implemented. The compulsory nature of the religious courses should be brought to an end through changes in the Constitution and the Laws. The discrepancies in the field of implementation with the international human rights documents should be fixed.”
Alevite organizations Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association (PSAKD) and Alevi Bektashi Federation (ABF) have been conducting activities against the mandatory religion courses since August 24. (BÇ/EÜ/TB)
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