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    Religious Education is a Social Reality

    Hürriyet Haber
    16.02.2005 - 12:18 | Son Güncelleme: 16.02.2005 - 12:18

    State Minister Mehmet Aydin, who is responsible for religious affairs, answered the call by the European Council (EC) with regards to the removal of compulsory religious eduction in schools and the removal of religious preference on identity cards in Turkey yesterday by saying: "Won't we teach Islam to our children?"

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who went to Albania, gave the following reply for the report about the removal of compulsory religious education: "When it reaches us, we will decide what to do and submit it to parliament."

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on the subject: "The Commission is saying that there is this thing distinguishing religion on photo cards. This is not a decision. It is fixed but it is something we will know."

    Expressing that should religious education not be compulsory in Turkey but studied as a culture lesson, Aydin said, "People who do not have any knowledge about religion can never evaluate sufficiently what happens in a country. Religion must be seen as a social reality."

    Stating that it would be more suitable to learn the opinions of citizens about leaving the religion section in the identity cards empty, Aydin said, "Religion-state relations change from one country to another. The queen in the United Kingdom is at the head of both. There is no sole practice in the Europe anyway."

    Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Tayyar Altikulac said, "There is no compulsory "religion lesson" in Turkey. There is a compulsory education of "Religios Culture and Ethical Knowledge". There is no situation contradicting with either secularism or the Constitution."

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