Turkey: 28.5% of Generation Z have abandoned Islam
A recent study conducted by Gezici Research Center recorded a massive shift in social and religious attitudes in Turkey among cohorts of Generation Z. In the upcoming 2023 elections, 1 in 5 of the voting public will belong to Generation Z which could prove pivotal in setting any future agenda.
Equality Trumps Religion
Of those polled 45% defended the view that all citizens are entitled to equal rights. 82.2 percent agreed with the proposition that they ‘can marry someone with a different religion or sect‘. In comparison only 32.8% of those polled from older generations agreed with the proposition.
76.4 percent of generation Z stated that they supported concepts of justice, democracy, freedom of expression and thought while the rate of support is 35.6 percent in prior generations.
Those that practise fundamental religious obligations such as fasting and praying stood at a mere 15.7 percent in comparison to older generations where 62% fulfilled their obligations regarding fasting and 32% did so regarding praying. In addition a full 28.5% of those in Generation Z outright stated that they no longer believed in religion.
Response to Rising rates of Disbelief
A report in 2018 titled “The Youth is Sliding to Deism” stated that even amongst state-sponsored religious schools a significant percentage were abandoning the faith. The report angered conservatives in Turkey including drawing the attention of President Erdogan.
Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party, which is supposed to be an opposition party but has lately become a staunch Erdogan ally, lashed out against those who prepared the report, for “putting on the Turkish youth the stain of deism, which is one stop before atheism.”
Last week a member of the Directorate of Religious Affairs High Council Dr. Cağfer Karadaş attributed the increase in deism and atheism to translations of the Quran to the prevalence of translated Qurans which ‘lacked context’ of the scripture. Dr Karadaş, stated that the main arguments being made against Islam were directly referencing translations of the Quran rather than philosophical arguments against the faith. He further stated that “I think it would be appropriate for the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) to work together on this subject to reverse the trend. “