Not only does the Turkish Education Ministry design and fund Islamic education courses for Turkish students in schools abroad, but it begins such education earlier than in Turkey itself.
That means that ethnic Turkish children in Austria and Germany — not just immigrants, but Turks of the nth generation — begin their Islamic instruction in their first year of school. If they were living in Turkey, they wouldn’t begin until the fourth year.
According to Hürriyet:
Students Abroad Receive Religion Classes From Grade One
The Education Ministry has included textbooks on religion classes starting from grade one of primary school for Turkish students abroad, even though such instruction for their counterparts in Turkey only starts in the fourth grade.
The Education Ministry included religion textbooks with the others it supplies free-of-charge to Turkish students abroad as part of the “Our near ones, far away” project.
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The religion textbooks contain only information and items about Islam and include a section explaining the appropriate religious terms to use in various daily activities. They also provide examples of prayers children should say before going to bed.
The subject of religion lessons — and whether such classes should be obligatory to attend — has been on the public agenda for quite some time now. Alevi leaders have objected to their children having to attend classes where only Sunni Islam is taught.
The option of including sections on Alevi practices in religion textbooks has also been discussed. Last year, the Council of State ruled that compulsory religion classes were illegal in their current format after two Alevi residents of Istanbul filed a complaint.
Alevis are a distinct community within Islam and are considered to be more liberal. Alevis are mostly based in Turkey and Syria.
What would have been the outcome of the Cold War if we had allowed Soviet Communists to fund and design courses on Marxist economic theory and the class struggle for our smallest school children?
Welcome to the future, Comrade.
Hat tip: C. Cantoni.