Turkey's top higher learning authority made a number of changes to the curriculum of faculties of theology at universities, a sweeping reform to fight against the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to Professor İbrahim Hatiboğlu.
Hatiboğlu, a board member of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) which increased the number of Quran, Arabic, hadith, fiqh and tafsir classes at faculties, dismissed "ridiculous" claims that more classes on those subjects and a decrease in classes on philosophy and similar subjects would increase the number of people sympathizing with ISIS. "On the contrary, you would be more inclined to back ISIS when you don't study these classes. This is a decision to fight the ideology of ISIS and Salafism. Our children should be educated more so that we can prevent Wahhabi and Salafist ideologies," he said, referring to two faith-based movements considered to be a basis for ISIS's interpretation of Islam.
New changes have abovementioned classes to be taught throughout four years of study at the faculties, instead of cramming them in the prep classes students are obliged to take before their freshman year. "Someone who does not know much about the Quran, hadith and tafsir can be easily influenced by [ISIS]," Professor Hatiboğlu said. ISIS and Salafists claim to follow a strict interpretation of Quran, though many followers of Islam see their interpretation warped and un-Islamic. Hatiboğlu also denied allegations that YÖK would abolish philosophy, Islamic art and history classes.