Turkish Alevi Fight For Religious Freedom

Christians are prone to criticize Muslims for fostering religious fanaticism although many conservative American religious groups seek to impose religion in schools. The Turkish Justice and Development Party assumed office a few years ago and promised Turks it would not impose any form of compulsory religious beliefs. For the most part this promise has been kept, but there is also evidence of a creeping intrusion of religious education in society. Alevi Muslims who are much more liberal than most main stream Muslims historically have endured prejudice. Prime Minister Erdogan promised he would be receptive to their ideas, but turned around and allowed the National Education Council to push for compulsory religious classes in schools, an idea opposed by Alevis. Opponents of compulsory religious education cite the European Union Human Rights Council which ruled such education violated EU guidelines.

It will be interesting to see if the Justice and Development Party pursues the drive for compulsory religious education.