“Forcing children to believe is a violation …

by Domenico Guarino

To force education in a faith children and young people, forcing them to follow their lessons against the will of their parents is obvious violation of rights. This was established by Turkey’s Constitutional Court accept a citizen’s appeal, Huseyin El his name, which he had appealed to the Supreme Court given that his daughter was forced to attend Muslim religious education.

The decision of the Constitutional Court, reported by asianews.it, is the result of a long legal battle that began over 10 years ago, following pressure from the rector of the department where the girl studied, Nazli Sirin Elto follow courses in the Qur’an. According to the manager actually alone Christian citizens and those of Jewish religion could benefit from the exemption while the girl’s family was a supporter of Alevism, one of the many sects inIslam which is characterized by some peculiarities, including celebrating rituals in meetinghouses (cemevi), rather than in mosques.

The Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled that forcing children into the faith is a violation of human rights (Photo Ansa)

The legal case for the El family in Turkey

Thirteen years ago, the court ruled in the first instance in favor of the student, based on national laws and international conventions. But the Ministry of Education appealed to the Council of State, which overturned the decision. In 2014, the dispute came to the Constitutional Court’s table. Now, eight years later, the verdict falls, after which the obligation to attend Muslim faith classes is a violation of human and family rights to choose the children’s educational path. The Constitutional Court thus recognized two previous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, which criticized Ankara on the principles and content of compulsory religious education for minors.

We are therefore facing one historical judgment, in some way. Even if it is necessary to fully understand what its concrete fallout may be, in a country where the issue of freedom of religion is particularly controversial. The same president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in fact, it is the spokesman for a policy centered on nationalism and Islam, where there is great doubt that the government will accept the decision and adapt its political direction to the verdict.

Squeezed on the school’s secular character

In Turkey, with the AKP taking power in 2002 and the introduction in 2012 of a new school system which includes other ‘optional’ courses (Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad’s life and basic religious knowledge) the secularity of the sole has become urgent. All the more so since these subjects, from being optional, in most cases have actually become mandatory as no alternatives were suggested. In September, Diyanet (Ministry of Religious Affairs) also announced plans to introduce mandatory Koran courses for preschoolers, and pilot courses are being studied in several cities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 68, lets a child kiss his hand (Photo Ansa)

However, it is undeniable that we are facing a significant decision that cannot avoid having some reflection throughout the Islamic world. Also for the sake of Turkey’s role. »This ruling puts the pen on paper it is not legitimate to force a parent to reveal or document his or her beliefs, as it is a violation of Art. 24 of the Constitution ”according to which“ no one can be forced to disclose religious beliefs and beliefs ”, emphasizes Ad al-Monitor, the lawyer Esra Basbakkal, the family lawyer. About “a decision that has been postponed for too long, but which is going in the right direction”, speaks Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a human rights lawyer who has followed the story of the El family through time and two other similar stories. Also because, he adds, “local courts often ignore the rulings of the European Court of Justice, but now they have to pay attention to the Constitutional Court”.

Criticism of the decision of the Constitutional Court

Hard criticism of course they arrived instead radical and conservative faction. The newspaper Yeni Akit defines a “scandal“The election of constitutional judges. Mehmet Akif Yilmaz, a member of the Justice and Development Party (Akp) and a member of the Commission on Education, even spoke of a “treason“Calls it unacceptable to state that religious lessons” in this country blessed by Islam “can be judged as a” violation of human rights. “Our people – he added – will not allow such a betrayal of values.

A protest by Turkish women against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The doctrine of the Catholic religion in Italy

In Italy lthe time of religion was established after agreed between the state and the Catholic Church. Now the teaching of the Catholic religion is optional, but in 1929 the teaching of religion was also made compulsory in middle and high schools, as “the foundation and crown of public education”. It took more than 50 years – with an agreement from 1984 – before the compulsory education was lost. In the seventies and eighties, a heated debate developed about the reform of the teaching of the Catholic religion, which led the Ministry of Education to issue some circulars restricting students’ choice to participate in the class of religion or to alternative activities. The teaching of the Catholic religion thus finally became optional and at the discretion of the students’ families.

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