Ruling for compulsory religion class stirs row

Ruling for compulsory religion class stirs row

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ruling for compulsory religion class stirs row

In this file photo Alevis rally for the ban of compulsory religion classes, in İzmir. DHA photo

A local court in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas has rejected an Alevi family’s request for their two children to be exempt from attending “religious culture and moral knowledge” classes in high school.

The same court ruled in favor of the family in 2010 when the siblings were in middle school, leading Alevi Bektaşi Federation Chairman Selahattin Özel to claim the court is practicing double standards. “In the hands of a surgeon a knife can save a life, but in the hands of a murderer it can kill a person. The Turkish courts are killing now. The verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights are obvious, but they are just ignoring them. This mentality is trying to revoke the Alevi people’s rights,” Özel told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in a telephone interview.

The Sivas Administrative Court ruled that siblings Yoldaş and Rojda Pakkan’s exemption from religious classes in 2010 was lawful, upon the request of their parents. When Yoldaş and Rojda completed middle school and started high school they began taking religious classes again. The family then decided to take the issue to the court once again. The court asked for an expert report, which was prepared by a team of academics from Sivas University’s department of religious studies. The verdict came on May 17, stating that the content of the class did not conflict with the Turkish constitution.

“The content of the curriculum was found to be objective and equidistant to all religions, that is why the court’s decision to reject the exemption request is lawful,” the court’s ruling read.

Turkey, Islam,