LOCAL >‘Salafism’ and ‘jihad’ should be taken off curriculum, Alevi foundation tells Turkish education ministry

Gülseven Özkan – ANKARA

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The Cem Foundation, a foundation that represents a portion of Turkey’s Alevi sect, has asked the Turkish Education Ministry for the concepts of “Salafism” and “jihad” to be removed from the renewed education curriculum, saying these concepts could make “radical religious groups” feel encouraged.

In a report submitted to Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz on July 27, the foundation suggested there should be a chapter on secularism and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, for every class level, along with anecdotes from Atatürk himself. 

The foundation’s report was handed over to Yılmaz during a visit to his office by Cem Foundation chairman Erdoğan Döner, general manger Hıdır Akbayır, Alevi-Islam Religion Services president Eşref Doğan Dede, and Associate Professor Mehmet Dönmez from İnönü University on July 27. 

It suggested that students should learn love for Atatürk from religion and ethics teachers, adding that the class should encourage strengthening secularism. 

The foundation also touched upon the teaching of Alevism in religion and ethics classes, saying that Alevism should not be taught as a culture, thought, and tradition, but as a “belief.” 

Accordingly, people determined by the Cem Foundation should also be in the course curriculum committee deciding on which content should go into the religion and ethics classes and how the life of Prophet Muhammed should be taught, according to the report. 

In elementary and secondary curriculums, Alevism should be given a place in a chapter separate from the Sunni understanding of Islam, the foundation noted. 

The concepts of Bektashism and Nusayrism should be taught in the chapter of Alevism, Alevi rituals should be expressed as “worship,” and cemevis as “house of worship,” the foundation suggested.

On July 18, Yılmaz gave details about the content of the final version of Turkey’s national school curriculum.

The minister noted the new curriculum will be put into execution for first, fifth, and ninth graders starting from this year, and it will extend to other classes in the 2018-2019 academic year.


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