Education Ministry: Wives should obey their husbands, not marry atheists

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A textbook on the life of the Prophet Muhammad prepared by the Turkish Education Ministry in the framework of a highly controversial new national school curriculum has said wives should obey their husbands and should not marry atheists, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

Encouraging young people to marry and delineating their duties as husbands and wives, the ministry said it is “unacceptable” to marry atheists and people from other religions.

While men are defined as stronger and hence responsible for supporting the household, women are asked to be careful in terms of their duties to their husbands and children and to be patient and thrifty.

Turkish Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz, who on Sunday said Turkey was giving the most contemporary and scientific education in the world, argued that the new curriculum is the most inclusive curriculum ever in Turkey’s history.

The new national school curriculum excludes evolution theory and includes the concept of jihad, or holy war, as part of Islamic law in textbooks.

In reference to the removal of evolution from the new curriculum, Yılmaz in July said: “Jihad is an element in our religion; it is in our religion. … The duty of the Education Ministry is to teach every deserving concept correctly. It is also our job to correct things that are wrongly perceived, seen or taught.”

Yılmaz said evolution was not included “because it is above the students’ level and not directly relevant.”

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have been criticized for trying to Islamicize the country through reforms in education by converting secular schools into religious imam-hatip high schools and introducing a new school curriculum that ignores the ethnic and religious diversity in the country.

President Erdoğan, who is also an imam-hatip graduate, and his AKP have been trying to increase the number of imam-hatip schools, which fell due to state policies following a postmodern coup on Feb. 28, 1997.

According to statistics released by the Education Union (EğitimSen), the number of imam-hatip schools rose to 1,961 in 2015 from 450 in 2002 when Erdoğan’s AKP came to power.

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