ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
TİMAV Chairman Öksüz announes the results of the divinity schools survey. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
A majority of Turks support elective lessons on the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad’s life in the country’s secondary schools, according to a survey by Turkey’s Imam Hatip Graduates Foundation (TİMAV).
The results of the report, “The Perception of Islamic divinity high schools (İmam Hatip) in Turkey,” showed that 76 percent of Turkish society was in favor of the elective classes, whose forthcoming introduction has recently stirred debate.
“The elective Quran courses regulation was one of the most significant services [that has been offered to the people] in Turkish Republican history,” TİMAV Chairman Ecevit Öksüz.
“People who say imam-hatip high schools and its students are against Turkey’s secular regime are are biased,” Öksüz told the Hürriyet Daily News
Öksüz said they had been carrying out a study so that they could aid in the teaching of the religious courses. The survey, which was conducted among 2,689 people between April 24 and May 18, also showed that only 44.6 percent of people supported the new “4+4+4” education system, while the remaining 27.3 percent opposed the initiative. The remainder of those surveyed, 28.1 percent, said they had no idea about the new education system.
The courses on the Quran and the Prophet’s life will be taught in elective courses starting next year, when the controversial new education system is implemented.
The elective classes have been slammed by opposition parties and civil society groups on the grounds that they could soon become “compulsory” due to social pressure. Meanwhile, 52.2 percent said they approved of a new regulation that will allow fifth-grade students to attend Islamic divinity high schools.
Despite successive European Court of Human Rights rulings that have declared Turkey’s compulsory religion courses to be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, 52.8 percent of Turks said they supported the obligatory classes in elementary schools.