More than 120 religious leaders and diplomats from various Islamic countries attended the conference to discuss the problems facing Afghanistan. The conference, organized by Marmara University's Middle East Research Institute, brought together different sectarian groups for the first time to discuss the future of the region.
Dr. M. Saeed Niazi, president of the Civil Society Development Association, explaining that the public is fed up with sectarian violence and civil wars, said it is necessary to increase the number of Turkish schools in the region in order to bring about peace and harmony. “If we increase the number of schools, we can lay the foundation [for peace] so that the Afghan people can live in peace,” he said.
Indicating that students who graduate from Turkish schools in Afghanistan are those who will save the country, Niazi said: “Since the opening of the schools, children from different tribes are sitting at the same dinner table and praying together. These schools have allowed these children from tribes we once thought impossible to reconcile to grow up as brothers.”
Turkish schools, with their focus on science and technology, while remaining sensitive to religious values, would provide the future generations of Afghanistan with a peaceful environment, Niazi said.
Afghan Peace Unit Program Coordinator Amanullah Ludin said the establishment of Turkish schools in the region has played an important role in preventing the deterioration of the country. According to Ludin, everyone wants to send their children to these schools; however, the small number of schools and admission quotas have made this difficult.
“Since the schools have opened, people are aware the color of Afghanistan has changed. This was the door of hope to us. We have made officials aware that we would like to see more Turkish schools, and we expect the number of Turkish schools to increase,” he said.
Ludin, who found the teachings of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on the Internet one day while researching Turkish Islamic thinkers, said: “It is important to us to shed light on Turkish religious scholars. By taking advantage of their expertise, we can be saved from our current impasse.”