Turkey Religion Essay

Religion Islam is a monotheistic religion practiced by Muslims. They believe
that Allah gave revelations to the Prophet Muhammed through the Angel Gabriel
around A.D. 600. Jesus Christ and the prophets of the New Testament are accepted
as Islamic precepts. During their rule of the Ottoman Empire, Islamic laws
dictated the way of life for the Turks. In 1924 with the new republic
government, Islamic Law was abolished as a state religion. The government
removed religion from public policy and restricted it exclusively to personal
faith. This led to the abolishment of the religion’s hierarchy and the closing
and confiscation of the lodges, meeting places and monasteries as well as
outlawing their rituals and meetings. The government restricted religious public
attire for men and women as well as trying to substitute Turkish words for
Arabic words of Islamic origin. This was a swift and harsh attempt at change.

During the 1940’s there was a relaxation of some political controls and by the
1950’s people wanted to return to traditional religious practice. In fact
starting in the 1950’s religious education was made compulsory in secondary
schools and in 1982 it was extended to primary schools as well. A lot of the
controversy that followed was found in the universities. Female students
committed to Islam began to cover their heads and necks with scarves and long
overcoats. This lead to the regulations in 1987, forbid female students to cover
their heads in class. Protests by other religious students and professors
overturned the dress code in the 1990’s. Today, a Turkish woman’s dress has
become the center of much debate. (Bollag,B., January 8, 1999). The Muslim
religion accounts for 99% of the population in Turkey. Non-Muslim’s religions
include: Christians, Protestants and Jews. The members of these religions
usually reside in a single area and are very small in number.

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