The socio-economic and cultural change, which is experienced also in our country depending on several reasons just like it is experienced all over the World, has accelerated with the effect of globalization in today’s World and has turned to a threat against religious belief, moral values and national culture. On the other hand, also the popular culture that is formed again with global instructions has caused negligence over the children and the youth towards religious belief and values. All these new situations bring pressure to bear on religious life, weaken defense mechanisms of Muslims and shadow images of the future.
On the other hand, exploitation and instrumentalization of religious belief and values by both domestic and foreign dynamics also cause religion to lose its ground before large human communities. This exploitation the most concrete version of which we experienced by us in our country due to the traitorous coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which was committed by FETO, sadly and once more showed how important it is to protect the authentic religious understanding and make it widespread.
The dizzying scientific and technological developments that have been reached in recent years have fueled the discussions of religion-science again. The inventions and scientific developments which have been made in different fields of science, primarily in medicine and genetics have started to challenge the biological limits of humans. The wrong belief that the truth can only be revealed by means of science, which was supported at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, has started to become widespread again. The opinion that science will replace religion and will transform religions gains popularity quickly and this produces new threats against belief. It has become an inevitable fact that the persons and institutions who and which carry out academic and intellectual activities in the field of Islamic sciences have to face with these new developments. As it was experienced in Islamic history many times before, the importance of developing mechanisms that will produce authentic answers which are compatible with the needs and conditions of the age by making theoretical analyses today in the fields of philosophy, social sciences and Islamic sciences is clear.
The change that is triggered by industrialization, urbanization and quickly developing technological communication network affect beliefs and religious practices dramatically while unsettling social structure deeply. As a result of this, individual religiousness has come to the forth, different ways of understanding in the field of religion have come to states of expressing themselves easier and the phenomenon of new religious movements has appeared intensively.
However, the exhilarant soul of Islam which is beyond ages feeds our attention on the subject of understanding life, our efforts on the subject of understanding the needs of the time, our energy for discovering the perception level of today and gives us the excitement and ambition necessary to overcome the challenges with which we face.
With this excitement and ambition, VIth Religious Council was held in Ankara on the dates of 25-28 November 2019 with the agenda of ‘’Socio-cultural Change and Religious Services’’ in order to negotiate the effect of the said socio-cultural change on religious understanding, religion-life relation, and religion-future imagination and to determine new strategies about the services carried out within the body of the Presidency of Religious Affairs by basing on these, carried out its works as five different commissions with 353 participants and decided on the following issues:

  1. The coefficients of religion that apply to every society and date should not be brought up for discussion. However, the religious provisions related to case-law may be interpreted again in terms of the historical conditions and socio-economic realities in which they were produced and the scientific information on which they depend.

  2. Today, the first contact with the anti-belief movements is mostly made over the effect of popular culture which does not comply with human dignity and encourages unmeasured pleasure and entertainment and the negative examples in religious subjects, at future stages, these emotional reactions are tried to be grounded philosophically. The Presidency of Religious Affairs should carry out more works in terms of exhibiting the fact that bad examples will not represent religion and forming alternatives which are suitable to human nature and will ensure society to meet its religious-spiritual and cultural needs legally, in order to avoid such situation.

  3. Today, religious feelings and thoughts are exploited with such reasons as economy, policy, individual interest, social status, etc. The centers of exploitation exploit all kinds of religious values, primarily the Holy Qur’an and sunnah, in order to reach such objectives, moreover, they resort to many superstitions, inventions, anecdote and esoteric approach intensively. We have been facing with the formations such as FETO and DEASH that are the embodiments and the destructive examples of this exploitation recently. The Presidency should increase its ongoing works and continue this by activating them in order to avoid exploitation of sincere religious feelings of the people of this country.

  4. With the aim to obtain healthy data on belief problems; the Presidency should have field researches made under the consultancy of scientists who are competent in their fields, moreover, should support postgraduate theses and other academic studies that are prepared at universities on religion-individual-society relations. The results obtained from these researches should be turned into service policies by being evaluated.

  5. Anti-belief movements use negative incidents and terrorist acts which occur in Islamic geography against Islam on social media without questioning their backgrounds. These posts that are shared via social media in relation to many religious themes cause to weaken religious beliefs of people and make anti-religious thoughts widespread. The Presidency should ensure that suitable contents are released via social media in order to eliminate the effects of such negative posts.

  6. Religious groups are formations which are formed within the ordinary course of social life. It is important to make the said groups have a transparent structure and accountability in order to avoid the appearance of negative religious representation through these formations in a wrong and deliberate way and the exploitation of religious belief and values.

  7. The Almighty Allah, as an evidence of His power, created humans with different colors, languages and races and made this an occasion for their meeting and getting familiar with each other. With this respect, casting a section of community off or othering them due to their ethnical origin which does not constitute a base for the superiority of an individual or a nation over another can never be accepted. All kinds of discourses for separating our citizen, who has shared the same fate on these lands in unity, solidarity and togetherness throughout history, from each other should be rejected. The Presidency should continue its services and activities determinedly from now on too, as it did in the past, in order to strengthen unity between citizens. On the other hand, the Presidency should strengthen the steps that are being taken by it against the discourses and acts of the terrorist organizations such as PKK/PYD that try to divert the people of these land, which have adopted Islam long years ago, from the truth and the true by comparing it with different beliefs and cultures.

  8. The corruptive effect of the consumption culture, which exercise influence over the modern World and turns into extravagance, cuts human’s bond with his objective of creation, it should be researched in its different aspects and the consciousness of the society should be raised on this issue.

  9. While determining the strategy of religious services, the Presidency should have scientific researches made for identification of the expectation and needs of the target audience by considering socio-cultural change and realize its services in this direction. Within this framework, it should measure the acquisitions gained by the addressees especially of khutbahs and preaches through scientific methods and continue its activities according to these outputs.

  10. It should carry out informative works for the public on the matter of the structures with which our religious and national culture are unfamiliar and which have some new religious movements at their backgrounds and cover themselves under the discourses such as healthy life, inner peace, balance, personal development, success in business life.

  11. Workshops should be organized with stakeholders for implementation of the services, which are provided to different target audiences, in a joint language and approach unity and in a better quality within the framework of the protocols that are made between the Presidency and ministries and institutions.

  12. One of the areas that are affected by socio-cultural change most is family. That marriages and the number of children per family decrease day by day and the fact that domestic violence, divorced and divided families are the most explicit indicators of this matter. The Presidency should increase its contributions for strengthening family institution either with domestic and abroad irshad activities or written or visual publications. Within this framework, “Family and Values Award” should be given to written and visual publications every year.

  13. Family is the building block of a society. For this reason, Islam includes posterity, in turn, family in the five elements that must be protected. This is why all kinds of understandings, tendencies and pervert discourses, which damage family and family values, will not be reciprocated by our nation which is loyal to its values. The Presidency should continue its activities against the said understandings that are contrary to religion, human nature, morals, and social values and spoils them, by increasing its collaboration with stakeholder institution and organizations.

  14. Mosques and their outbuildings should be planned by considering the characteristics of dwelling units and the socio-cultural change. In this framework; libraries, reading, exhibition, and meeting rooms should be arranged at mosques as much as possible and as long as they are needed. In addition, the practices for meeting needs of the women, young people, children, and the disabled people at places of worship, which have been discussed by the Presidency for a long time sensitively, should be supported.

  15. Along with the mosque-centered irshad activities, works should be made to expand and diversify the service areas of preachers by commissioning some of them in digital platforms and some others in mobile irshad activities based on their areas of interest and abilities.

  16. The Presidency gives counseling and guidance services to groups in need such as families, children and women under protection of the state, the old, the young, addicts, prisoners and the convicted, people with disabilities, patients and relatives of the patients. The Presidency must increase the cooperation with the universities for training the personnel to give such services and increase the publications in this field with the purpose of making these services more common and qualified.

  17. Considering the fact of immigration from the villages to the cities in modern days, and the intensity and movement of the population, pattern for the place of duty of the religious officials must be revaluated and required regulations must be conducted.

  18. Training and Irshad programs performed in the organizations of Hajj and umrah must be changed into a religious education program for adults covering the prior, during and post.

  19. The required legislation must be prepared to diversify the educational programs of the faculties of divinity/Islamic education so as to discipline personnel who are qualified with the common religious education and religious services of the Presidency and for the employment of the graduates from these programs.  In this context, the cooperation between the Presidency of Religious Affairs, Faculties of Divinity/Islamic Education and the Ministry of National Education initiated by the Presidency of Religious Affairs must be maintained and strengthened.

  20. To have more successful results in the education of Hafiz and Qur’an Courses, the teacher must be chosen among those who have a license of pedagogic formation.

  21. Curriculum and course hours of the education of Hafiz managed by the Ministry of National Education in cooperation must be reconsidered within the frame of the pedagogic principles.

  22. Centers for Religious Postgraduate Degrees which have vital importance within the large service network of the Presidency must be maintained and the corporate identity thereof must be strengthened; the education programs must be updated considering the socio-cultural changes and in the educational processes, we must further benefit from the academic accumulation of our country.

  23. The Presidency must increase the cooperation with related institutions and organizations to deliver the authentic religious information to all parts of the community via the new media platforms and means of mass communication, identify the insufficient and wrong information and stop the publications to lead to the abuse of religion. 

  24. The effect of the published and visual publications with different types and quality by the Presidency on the target masses and the level of how much they are perceived must be often measured with trustworthy media search and analysis methods as scientifically.  The variation of the publications must be increased in the aspect of content and quality, illuminated by the results obtained after the analyzing and interpretation of these searches.

  25. The Presidency must diversify the publications published in different language and dialects, widen the sphere of influence by utilizing the facilities provided by information technologies and establish a translation office with the purpose of increasing the quality publications at the international level.

  26. The Presidency must operationalize Department of Digital Publications to produce quality and effective publications in the field of digital publishing by considering the socio-cultural changes and developments regarding information technologies.

  27. Especially oriented to the youth; written, visual and digital publications which are warning them against anti-belief movements and including the answers to be directed to them must be prepared, and these texts must be in quality of expressing the philosophical, historical and cultural background that generated such trends.

  28. Publications which are oriented to the children, youth and groups with disadvantage must be one of the strategic priorities. In this scope, products to be published in the digital platforms must be enriched with an understanding of utilizing different disciplines and furthermore, required steps to set up a television channel which is oriented to the children must be paced. 

  29. Policies that will make the children adopt the religious and national values of ours in published, audio, visual and digital publications which are oriented to the children must be improved further and no estranging and against nature themes and no elements to encourage violence should be allowed by considering the child psychology.

  30. The role of literature and art to deliver the religious feels and mindset to the young generations is undeniable. With this purpose, it is important to encourage types of literature and art such as calligraphy, ornamentation, marbling, poetry, story, novel, music and cinema in the publication policies of the Presidency, establish competitions with such purpose, and support the appropriate projects. The Presidency may plan and carry out these activities with its own corporate identity or materialize this by supporting the projects outside of the Presidency with the purpose of reaching to the larger masses.

  31. It has been monitored that changing world conditions, new developments in the international relations, political and social changes in the serviced countries make it hard for the Presidency to maintain its foreign services and operations as they are today and expose the Presidency to serious problems in the implementations. This situation requires foreign services to be deeply reconsidered and restructured. In this direction, a strategic action plan which is regarding the local conditions and facilities of the serviced geography and directing the education processes of the servicing personnel must be developed.

  32. It has been monitored that there is a difference in the traditional homogeneous structure of the mass related to the foreign religious services; beside the people of our nation, the other Muslims also became a part of the mosques of ours, there are some problems caused by the generation gap, and the generation became estranged to each other as language and culture. In this regard, a religious official who has roles of a teacher, a divine guide and a leader representing the community in the outer institutions must be educated about the language, religion, culture, social and political structure of the related country apart from the occupational and pedagogical qualifications and must be equipped with the skills to communicate especially in the multi-cultural and multi-faith places.

  33. The mosques abroad are social, cultural and divine guidance centers serving to the children, youth and adults apart from being places to worship. These places must be equipped with new functions in a way appropriate to the changing expectations of service and decorated with esthetical designs to encourage the attendance of the children, youth and women. In this direction, measures to allow the youth and women to have more words in the management of the mosque must be implemented.

  34. It is a vital issue standing before us to have published, visual, audio and digital publications and especially foreign services of the Presidency for those who desire to have healthier information regarding the religion of Islam and the international Muslim community. For this reason, it must be provided for the religious publications to gain an international quality and force with the facilities and opportunities in the significant metropolises of the world by carrying the publication policies of the Presidency to the global platforms of these places. In this regard, an International Publishing of Religious Affairs which will carry the accumulation of the Presidency and divinity to the global level and also will present the intellectual accumulation of the Muslims living in different geographies to the world public eye must be established. 

  35. “The Executive Board of International Programs of Divinity” to evaluate periodically the objective and efficiency of the scholarship programs managed by especially the International Project on Divinity (UİP), Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and Turkiye Diyanet Foundation coordinated by the Presidency to support Islamic divinity and mindset in other languages with an intellectual dimension and at the level of expertise must be established.  This Board must develop academic cooperation between the Presidency, the Faculties of Divinity in our country and the examples in the other countries simultaneously.

  36. It has been monitored that discourses and acts against Islam and Muslims in all over the world, especially in the countries of the West have reached to a level to danger the individual and social existence and identities of the Muslims. It will cause effective results to develop a strategy with the frame of human rights and fundamental liberties to manage healthily the challenge against the fact called as “Islamophobia.” Attempts to utilize the facilities provided by international organizations, local judicial platforms, and constitutional frameworks such as the United Nations, European Court of Human Rights, Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation must be prioritized. For this reason, the cooperation with the organizations founded by Muslims with the purpose of challenging against violations of rights and liberties must be developed and we must benefit from their experiences. It must be encouraged to cooperate with related institutions and organizations at the point of monitoring the violations of rights and liberties against Muslims and others, documenting these, and submitting them to the required judicial authorities and in this process, the Presidency must establish a “Unit of Fighting against Islamophobia.”

  37. A massive amount of people have immigrated to our country from the Islamic geography which is facing hard times because of war, terror and oppression. This land which has been a harbor to the oppressed for centuries without discriminating them according to their language, religion, nation, sect and identity is living the rightful honor to conduct the same responsibility today as well. The benevolent people of our country who have always taken the help to the oppressed people as a duty consider to embrace all those who had to emigrate from the war zones as an Islamic and humanitarian duty. In this regard, the authority and facilities of the Presidency which successfully continues the works to satisfy the religious, humanly and cultural needs of those who took refuge in our country must be increased.

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