Turkish Atheists Want Government to Stop Declaring Babies “Muslim” from Birth November 10, 2015

Turkish Atheists Want Government to Stop Declaring Babies “Muslim” from Birth

The Atheism Association in Turkey, fresh off giving soup to the homeless every week, is now calling for the government to stop automatically designating every newborn child as “Muslim” on their birth certificates.

Muslims. All of them. Obviously.

A Change.org petition broadly calls for equal treatment for atheists under the law, but it’s a few specific items that are getting all the attention:

“We want politicians to restrain themselves when tempted to make discriminatory statements starting with ‘even the atheists’,” read the petition, started by the Atheism Association.

“We want equal treatment before the law. We do not want to be treated as though we have ‘insulted religious values’ when we express our faithlessness.”

The petition, which aims to get 5,000 signatures, called for the removal of the automatic registration of Turkish children as “Muslim” at birth and for the removal of the religious affiliation category on Turkish identity cards.

They also called to be allowed to take part in official meetings with Turkey’s non-Muslim communities.

It’s true that Turkey is an ostensibly secular country, though the government will tell you that 99.8% of the population is Muslim. Then again, if they’re designated as such from birth, very few people are going to request a formal change even if they don’t follow the faith. So I’m guessing that percentage is at least a *bit* overinflated.

I doubt anyone in the organization is under any illusion their petition will change anything, but maybe they’ll get a few people thinking about why babies with no coherent thoughts of their own are given a label that suggests a litany of beliefs they hold. It has never made any sense.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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