The Paradox of Religious Education and Political Approaches in Europe: Intercultural Religious Education and Islamophobia

Muhiddin Okumuslar, Ayşe Zişan Furat, Şeyma Çiçek

Abstract


The Council of Europe saw 9/11 as a call to awaken religious education with regard to social and cultural issues and since 2002 has made a significant contribution to the creation of a new understanding of religious teaching by conducting a series of studies on religious instruction. Within the Council, a view of intercultural education has emerged, concerned with developing competences and attitudes enabling individuals to respect the right of others, developing skills of critical empathy and fostering dialogue with others from different backgrounds.  As a result, it was aimed to establish a culture of coexistence based on tolerance and dialogue among citizens belonging to different religions in European countries, and started to implement the models of intercultural religious education. However, the governments are making explanations and practices that fuel Islamophobia while intercultural education is being widespread. This situation creates a dilemma and seriously hurts the co-existence culture taught in schools and negatively affects the public's view of Muslims. In this paper, the social and educational problems of this dilemma in European countries will be discussed.

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