Teachers had proposed requiring Quran lessons for those as young as 3
NATO ally Turkey has defiantly responded to a European Court of Human Rights ruling that it must scrap its compulsory religious eduction by imposing mandatory Quran training on its 6-year-olds.
The human rights court, which has jurisdiction over Turkey, ruled in a complaint filed by a Turkish family that the nation must immediately change its policy and allow students to be exempt from the classes without requiring parents to disclose their own religious or philosophical convictions.
Turkey, however, a candidate for membership in the European Union, sees the compulsory religious education as part of its declared policy goal of “raising devout” Muslim “generations.”
The ECHR concluded the Turkish education system was “still inadequately equipped to ensure respect for parents’ convictions’ and violated the ‘right to education,’” Burak Bekdil, a Turkish columnist based in Ankara and a fellow at the Middle East Forum, wrote for the Gatestone Institute.
Instead of following the ECHR ruling, Turkey’s National Education Council, a pro-government teachers’ union, proposed making religion a required course for pre-schoolers.
The union demanded that Turkish children aged 3 to 6 be taught Islam. The government ultimately decided classes should be made compulsory for first, second and third grade students, ages 6 to 8.
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