Erdogan: European ruling on religious classes 'wrong'

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that religious culture and ethics classes help to fight drug use, violence and terror.

Erdogan: European ruling on religious classes 'wrong'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Turkish president rejects the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling of two weeks ago which found in favour of some Turkish Alevi community members who complained that compulsory religious education in schools is wrong and attendance should be at the parents' discretion.

Speaking at a symposium on combatting drugs in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended religious education in schools by saying that children with a lack of religion and ethics education try to fill the gap with other things. “Sometimes this is drug, sometimes violence, sometimes organized violence turned into terror”.

The existence of religious culture and ethics classes must not be open for discussion said Erdogan. He added religious education in schools helps in the fight against "drug addiction, terror, violence, racism, anti-Semitism and Islam-phobia".

The ECHR ruling came after complaints of some Alevi faith (unorthodox minority branch of Islam) families, regarding the content of compulsory classes in religion and ethics in schools, which they said was based on the Sunni understanding of Islam.

The ruling recommends that Turkey remedies the situation without delay, in particular by introducing a system whereby pupils could be exempted from religion and ethics classes without their parents having to disclose their own religious or philosophical convictions.

Drug abuse

President Erdogan said that 180 million people in the world use drugs and that 75 million are drug-dependent. He said that at least 2.7 percent of the Turkish population (of 76 million) had used illegal substances at least once.

Erdogan said that actually a terror issue is threatening the peace in the world. But, “You see that everybody speaks about the results and not the reasons of that,” Erdogan said.

In addition, Erdogan asked “Why European friends did not bother about the terror organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)? “Because there was no “Islam” word in front of that terror organization’s name. They didn’t have anything to do with Islam”.

The PKK is a Kurdish political and military organization founded in 1978, and since then has conducted many terror attacks in which thousands of people in Turkey died.

The PKK is listed as terrorist organization by United States, the European Union, NATO and Turkey.

International Symposium on Drug Policy and Public Health

A thousand participants from over 50 different countries are attending the three day symposium on drug policy in Turkey.

The Turkish Green Crescent Society, a nongovernmental organization that endeavors to protect society and youth from harmful habits organised the symposium.

The symposium is expected to strengthen national coordination among different organizations, such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Ministry of National Education and other related institutions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Eylül 2014, 17:35