Turkey’s Atheism Association starts petition for ‘equal treatment’ before law and in society

Nov 17, 2015

Turkey’s Atheism Association started a petition at change.org to ensure “equal treatment” of atheists before the law and among members of society, Turkish news website Bianet has reported.

The campaign, which aims to collect 5,000 signatures, was organized to make sure atheists’ demands for equal citizenship, both legally and in practice, were heard by the Turkish parliament.

The petition lists a variety of demands by the association to eliminate discrimination against atheists.

“We want politicians to restrain themselves when tempted to make discriminatory statements starting with ‘even the atheists,’” it said, referring to comparisons where atheists are used as negative examples.

The association asked for the legal recognition of atheism and measures against the use of the words “nonbeliever” and “atheist” as insults.

“We want equal treatment before the law. We do not want to be treated as though we have ‘insulted religious values’ when we express our faithlessness,” the petition said.

The statement argued that the religious pressures Turkish citizens faced were a violation of the International Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, citing specifically the rhetoric of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that insistently defines Turkey as a country of a “single religion.”

The removal of the religious affiliation section from Turkish identity cards and ending the practice of registering children as “Muslim” at birth before they are able to reach a decision independently were also among their demands.

Finally, the association wanted to be represented in meetings with Turkey’s non-Muslim communities, which are currently restricted to religious minorities like Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.

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One comment on “Turkey’s Atheism Association starts petition for ‘equal treatment’ before law and in society”

  • A similar situation where religious politicians are blind to the views of “nones” has been tackled in the UK.

    The education secretary made “an error of law” in leaving “non-religious world views” out of the new religious studies GCSE, the High Court has ruled.

    Three families argued Nicky Morgan had taken a “skewed” approach to RS when she had announced changes in February.

    And Mr Justice Warby ruled there had been “a breach of the duty” to ensure the curriculum reflected the pluralistic nature of the UK.

    The government said its GCSE aimed to promote understanding of all beliefs.

    The judge said: “It is not of itself unlawful to permit an RS GCSE to be created which is wholly devoted to the study of religion.”

    But he added the February announcement had included the “assertion” the new GCSE “will fulfil the entirety of the state’s [religious education] duties” and schools would interpret this to mean non-religious views need not be included in teaching.

    “The assertion thus represents a breach of the duty to take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in a pluralistic manner,” he said.

    And as a result, the education secretary “has made an error of law in her interpretation of the education statutes”.

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