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A Salafi Assault on Turkish Theology?

Turkey's universities are witnessing a rise in a more dogmatic approach to Islamic philosophy.
A woman walks at the courtyard of the Ottoman-era Sultanahmet mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul April 26, 2013. The banners depicting the hadiths, sayings of Prophet Mohammad, hang on the occasion of the celebration of the Prophet's birthday. Scholars around the Muslim world were alarmed five years ago by news reports that Turkey planned a new, possibly heretical compilation of the Prophet's sayings that might scrap those it thought were out of date. Turkish religious leaders and theologian

“Everything goes wrong all at once.” That is one of the versions of the oft-quoted Murphy’s Law, which seems to be prevalent these days in Turkey. Because as if all the political tensions and the declining democratic credentials of the country were not enough, a bizarre decision by the Higher Education Council has raised an unexpected concern: that Turkey’s theological faculties are being taken over by a more dogmatic understanding of Islam that has no respect for philosophy.

First, a summary of basic facts: In Turkey, all universities, even private ones, are under the “coordination” of the Higher Education Council (HEC), which is a state institution controlled by the government. This centralized system controls theology faculties as well, which are Turkey’s main source of well-educated men of religion. For a long time, the curriculum of the theology faculties has included both “Islamic sciences” such as the study of the Quran and the hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), and secular disciplines such as sociology of religion and history of philosophy.

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