Debate reignites over religious courses for TC kids

By Kyriacos Kiliaris

A heated debate has reignited within the Turkish Cypriot community after a series of mosques have begun offering religious lessons to children in the north.

Dozens of children have been seen in the early hours of the day on their way to the sanctuaries, with girls unusually wearing headscarves and holding various religious books.

These images are somewhat strange to a secular Turkish Cypriot society and have re-triggered public debate that has been ongoing for the past months after the TC Ombudsman said that compulsory religious lessons taking place in schools are a violation of basic human rights.

Meanwhile, members of the TC assembly and unions have expressed their concern that there is a plan on behalf of Turkey’s ruling AKP to reshape the Turkish Cypriot community into a more devoutly religious society.

Professor Talip Atalay, head of the Religious Affairs office in the north, commenting on these courses, said that they are not Quran courses, but rather “Summer Religious Information Courses”.
Atalay argued that what children on these courses are being taught are practical aspects of religious practice that they already receive in schools.

“We are teaching kids how to practise things that they are taught in the third, fourth and fifth grade of elementary school. Things such as how to perform ablutions before prayer and how to read a prayer,” explained Atalay.

He also maintained that the Education office in the north was aware of the courses taking place, as there was written communication with the authority.

Asked the number of students participating in the courses, Atalay said that this information was not available at the moment, and would be made available after the conclusion of the courses at the end of July.


Δημοφιλείς αναρτήσεις από αυτό το ιστολόγιο

Conscientious objector sentenced to jail in north

Turkish Cypriots crashed under a collapsing Turkish Lira

CYPRUS: Green Line Regulation not fit for purpose