Students of non-Islamic religions discriminated against in Turkey

Country: Turkey

Date of incident: October 1, 2007

The European Court for Human Rights requested Turkey to bring its education system and domestic legislation into line with Article 2 of Protocol 1 to the ECHR. What triggered this decision was the discovery that religious culture and ethics classes, mandatory in primary and secondary schools, provided exclusively specific instruction in the guiding principles of the Muslim faith and its rites.

Instead of giving a general overview of religions, these classes focus only on the Islamic set of beliefs. It seems that exemptions from attending such courses are rare and very hard to obtain. Consequently, some students face inequalities and discrimination in school. Some of the drawbacks are the lack of alternative classes for those students who are exempted and lower marks given to the ones who do not attend the religion classes.   Source: