“Autistic children do not know how to believe in God because they do not have a section for faith in their brains,” sociologist Fehmi Kaya reportedly said. “That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is necessary to create awareness [or religion] in these children through methods of therapy.” 

He also reportedly said atheism was a form of autism.

Kaya’s statement caused a strong backlash in the country, with individuals and associations speaking out against his remarks. The president for the Association of Protection of Autistic Children (ODER), Engin Güngör, told the Hürriyet Daily News that the remarks were “unfortunate.”

“I do not know what purpose the statement serves,” Güngör said, adding that the media should also be sensitive toward the exposure of such statements.