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Turkey’s new school curriculum introduces Jihad into textbooks, characterizes Christians as infidels

Persecution of Christians in Turkey: the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, calls upon the Turkish government to act swiftly and decisively to protect the nation’s Greek Orthodox community from vigilante action and other dangers that could arise from the false and damaging characterizations of Christians and other religious minorities in this new curriculum. These false claims demonstrate the same contempt for the Christian community of Asia Minor that we see manifested in numerous ways, including in the conversion of ancient churches, including Hagia Sophia and the Monastery at Chora, to mosques. This contempt is also manifested in the ongoing denial of property rights and legal identity to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)’s Annual Report, which documents violations of religious freedom around the world, in its latest edition again included Turkey among its Tier 2 violators — that is, countries where religious freedom violations are systematic, ongoing, and/or egregious. The Order reiterates our hope that the international human rights community will direct its attention to the plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of all Christians and other religious minorities in Turkey, and that the Turkish government will heed the repeated calls to grant full religious freedom to its embattled Christian minority.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Turkey school curriculum radicalised with Jihad, sympathies for ISIS – study,” Ahval, March 5, 2021:

Turkey’s school curriculum has been radicalised, reversing a previous trend of tolerance and cultural openness, according to a study published this week.

The government has introduced Jihad into textbooks, and martyrdom has been glorified and turned into the “new normal”, reported IMPACT-se, which researches and exposes intolerance in school textbooks in the Middle East and elsewhere from its headquarters in Tel Aviv.

“Islam is depicted as a political matter, with science and technology used to advance its goals,” IMPACT-se said…

“The curriculum adopts an anti-American stance, displaying sympathy for the motivations of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, while remaining staunchly anti-PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party),” it said….

“There is an emphasis on concepts such as ‘Turkish World Domination’ and Turkish or Ottoman ‘Ideal of the World Order’,” IMPACT-se said. “According to the curriculum, the ‘Turkish Basin’ stretches from the Adriatic Sea to Central Asia. Both Ottoman Turkish and Arabic language studies are offered.”…

“Elective programs such as Kurdish have been neglected and largely replaced by religious ‘elective’ courses, which are often mandatory in practice,” IMPACT-se said.

The curriculum contains subtle anti-democratic messaging, describing former political allies as terrorists and suggesting that civil activism, such as the 2013 Gezi Park protests, are “manipulated by suspect capitalist and foreign powers”, IMPACT-se said.

“Some anti-Christian and anti-Jewish sentiment has been introduced; in both cases the pejorative infidels is used, rather than the traditional term, ‘People of the Book’,” it said….

Here follow the key findings of the study, as printed in the executive summary:

  1. The Turkish curriculum has been significantly radicalised in recent years.
  2. Jihad war is introduced as a central value; martyrdom in battle is glorified.
  3. Islam is depicted as political, using science and technology to advance its goals
  4.  An ethno-nationalist religious vision combining neo-Ottomanism and pan-Turkism is taught.
  5. Concepts such as “Turkish World Domination” and the Turkish or Ottoman “Ideal of the World Order” are emphasised.
  6. The curriculum adopts an anti-American stance and displays sympathy toward the motivations of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
  7. There are anti-Armenian and pro-Azerbaijani stances. The Kurdish minority’s identity and cultural needs are largely neglected. The 1955 pogrom against the Greeks is ignored.
  8. Religious studies are dramatically enhanced via the Imam Hatip vocational-religious schools and system of “mandatory elective” courses. The theory of evolution has been removed.
  9. Subtle anti-democratic messaging is conveyed (e.g., the Gezi Park protests).
  10. Christians and Jews are characterised as infidels instead of People of the Book….

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