Turkey: 40,000 forced to attend religious schools, media

Alevi minority denounces forced assimilation

16 September, 17:07

    Bambini a scuola ad Istanbul Bambini a scuola ad Istanbul

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 16 - Some 40,000 students have been forcibly enrolled in Islamic religious schools against their families' will, in Islamic religious schools, according to independent media reports Tuesday.

    According to leading independent daily Taraf, the new school year has started amid controversy after thousands of families refused to send their children to religious schools and demanded their transfer.

    So-called Imam-hatip religious schools have multiplied under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic AKP party, which has been in power since 2002. The opposition has accused Erdogan of seeking to 're-islamize' the country's institutions.

    Many students from the Alavi minority, a liberal branch of Islam which does not identify itself with the Sunni majority in Turkey, have been enrolled in these schools.

    Taraf reported that the Alevi community has denounced an attempt to be forcibly ''assimilated'' by the majority.

    Education Minister Nabi Avci has also recently announced that all schools in the country will have prayer rooms, sparking a controversy. Avci however said praying will not be mandatory in schools.

    The European Court of Human rights has recently condemned Turkey for introducing over the past few years mandatory courses on Sunni Islam in all schools. (ANSAmed)

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