In what is being viewed as yet another move by Turkish officials threatening the republic's secular foundations, a member of the Turkish parliament’s national education commission reportedly said the concept of "jihad" is more important for students than learning mathematics.
Praising a recent government move to drop evolution in order to include the Islamic concept of jihad, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Ahmet Hamdi Camli said that “jihad is Islam’s most prior element.”
“Our ministry made a very on-point decision. If prayers are the pillars of the religion, jihad is the tent. Without the pillars the tent is useless. There’s no use in teaching mathematics to a child who doesn’t know jihad,” Camli added.
He also said jihad was more important than prayer.
Religion has increasingly come under public debate in Turkey in the past few years.
The government under former Prime Minister and now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has introduced several measures that are viewed by the opponents as a sign of the creeping Islamization of the country, including restrictions on alcohol and the government’s denial to build a church and now the decision to exclude scientific concepts to include the ones pertaining to religion.
The chairman of a teachers' union reportedly denounced the inclusion of jihad in the curriculum in an attempt to avoid raising "generations who ask questions."
Although 99.8 percent of the population identifies as Muslim, Turkey is generally considered a secular republic.