The Turkish curriculum and its Flemish counterpart

“Turkish books used in Islamic studies not fit for Belgian context”

It’s emerged that lessons in Islam in Flemish community and municipal schools are employing books published by the Turkish Diyanet ministry of religious affairs.  Curricula too closely resemble curricula used in Turkey.

Leni Franken of Antwerp University says the curricula are not appropriate for the Belgian context.

“Outdated, old-fashioned, uncritical or even bad”.  That’s how Leni Franken, who holds a PhD in philosophy and is an expert in ideological lessons, describes the manuals and curricula being used in Islamic lessons in Belgium.  She believes Turkey’s influence on Flemish lessons is too big.

VRT’s Pano programme has been investigating foreign influence on Belgium’s Muslims. Franken told Pano the manuals are not suitable in a Belgian context.  She points to their uncritical nature and cites as an example the uncritical way in which pupils are taught that God created the world.  The discussion between scientists and religious authorities is not touched upon. Books also mention that people who don’t believe in Allah, in the rule, are worse people.

“There’s little attention for critical thought or for tricky topics like faith and science, the status of women and homosexuality. If approached at all these topics are treated in an extremely conservative way” says Franken.

Pano also discovered Flemish curricula are based on the curricula from the Turkish ministry of education in Ankara.

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