‘Patience protects chastity’ stresses ministry in new moral seminars

‘Patience protects chastity’ stresses ministry in new moral seminars

‘Patience protects chastity’ stresses ministry in new moral seminars

Turkish Education Minister Nabi Avcı during a visit to a school in Edirne, Dec. 24. AA Photo

Turkey’s Education Ministry has issued the outline of a new moral education program to be given to public schools, encouraging students to take a more religious perspective and way of life.

The program includes advice such as “patience protects moral chastity” and “death is a blessing according to our faith,” daily Milliyet reported on Jan. 2, adding that the 39-page fascicles have been sent to the Governors’ Offices in all 81 provinces across the country.

The seminars are the fruit of an initiative included in a circular issued in 2010 recommending the “education of values” to teach students “how to be a role model,” “the principles of mutual trust, tolerance and honesty” and “the behavior expected in classes.” The program was later developed by commissions formed in each province, and as a result each province featured different content.

Last June, the Education Ministry sought to standardize the seminars by signing a protocol with the Service Foundation (Hizmet Vakfı), an Islamic association not to be confused with the “Hizmet” movement of the U.S.-based scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The new moral education seminar recommendations were prepared under a protocol between the ministry and the Hizmet Foundation. The nine sub-headings of the recommendations include “The effects of faith on individual and social life,” “The place of prayer and worship in our lives,” “Ramadan and fasting,” and “The love of the Prophet.”

“When the time and conditions are favorable, having one’s children marry in compliance with religious principles is one of the most important missions of mothers and fathers. We should ‘facilitate and not show difficulties’ when someone whose morals conform to ours asks for the hand of our daughter or son,” one of the recommendations states, according to daily Milliyet.

Another condemns “lustfulness,” stating that “patience protects young people’s chastity in environments full of illegitimate desires.”  

The program also suggests that no “lies, adultery, alcohol, gambling or cruelty” can be found in people who believe in life after death.

“Death is a blessing according to our faith. It means salvations from the heavy burden of living,” it also adds, while describing illnesses as a “gift of God” through which “sins and distress pour out.”

The program comes soon after a proposal to introduce compulsory religious education in primary schools was recently approved at Turkey’s National Education Council last month. A proposal to introduce compulsory Ottoman language classes, praised by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also triggered a heated debate.