Date: August 1, 2022
Turkey (International Christian Concern) – In Turkey, a 12th-grade religious studies book widely used in public schools promotes armed jihad. The book, the 2019 edition of Fundamentals of Islam’s Religious Beliefs, asserts that armed jihad is a necessary practice for all Muslims and that opponents of Islam today slander the concept of armed jihad by associating it with “bad examples.” The book shockingly neglects, however, to address any of the most prominent examples of armed jihad in the 21st century, such as the terrorism carried out by al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, or others, who weaponized the idea of jihad to justify the killing and abuse of innocents.
Instead of addressing the armed jihad of terrorist groups, the book touts the armed jihad of the Ottoman founding fathers. The book teaches students that just as the Ottoman founding fathers were prepared to lay down their lives for the cause of jihad, so also every Muslim today must likewise be committed to jihad. Overall, this religious studies book is a clear manifestation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party’s political ideology.
Similarly concerning material and messaging are not only found in this 12th-grade textbook, though, according to Nordic Monitor; they are also present in other widely used books as well. Twelfth-grade history textbooks in Turkey abandon objective accuracy, labeling all nations in the European Union as Christian, and are markedly anti-American and anti-EU, pushing a highly politicized narrative of the United States’ War on Terror, for example, that sympathizes with radical Islamic terrorists. In one blanket statement, one of these books explicitly states, “The US became the main source of problems in the world with what it did in the aftermath of September 11.”
Overall, many of these concerning messages have been recently injected into Turkish public education. These changes are a part of a project by President Erdogan to promote his party’s views and agenda. Prior to these textbook changes, tens of thousands of teachers were purged from public schools and from universities to pave the way for this revolution in education. Indeed, a project of indoctrination is fully underway in Turkey.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for fair representation of Christians in Turkey’s schools. Pray for these books to not contribute to violent extremism. Pray for the gospel to spread throughout Turkey.