"We are working to raise a faithful and moral generation"

"We are working to raise a faithful and moral generation"
Date: 31.8.2023 15:00

Abdullah Ceylan, Chairman of ÖNDER Imam Hatip Graduates Association, which brings together nearly 500 imam hatip alumni associations across Turkey, made important statements to Milli Gazete before the Congress.

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Traditionally organized by the ÖNDER Imam Hatip Students and Graduates Association and held with the participation of around 500 Imam Hatip Associations across Turkey, the 20th Imam Hatip Students and Graduates Convention will be held in Uşak on 1-2-3 September 2023.
The congress will start at 10:00 at the Uşak University Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Congress and Culture Center.
The convention was hosted by the ÖNDER Uşak Imam Hatip Students and Graduates Association.
ÖNDER congresses aim to evaluate the past period, future projections, and discuss problems and solutions. In this year's congress, the slogan of the year and the final declaration will be announced.
Abdullah Ceylan, Chairman of ÖNDER Imam Hatip Students and Graduates Association, answered the questions of Milli Gazete before the convention as follows:
* This year's congress of ÖNDER Imam Hatip Students and Graduates Association will be held in Uşak. Why Uşak province? Can you give information about the program?
Imam Hatip Students and Graduates Congress is a meeting attended by the managers and volunteers of our imam hatip alumni associations from 81 provinces and hundreds of districts of our country. This year, we will hold the 20th congress in Uşak, which we hold in a different city every year. Every province wants to host this congress. Every year, we hold our congress in a different province to meet our imam hatip brothers in every region of our country. We did it last year in Sivas and the previous year in Aksaray. I hope we will be in Uşak this year as well.
The congress is fruitful in order to meet with our imam hatip brothers, get acquainted, socialize, talk about our problems and find a common solution. It's usually a three-day program. The official opening is on Saturday. We hold an interview or a panel on the opening lecture and imam hatip issues. We meet with our provincial and district presidents and commissions separately and discuss our common concern, imam hatip schools. Social, cultural and sports activities also add a different color to the convention.


* 'Signs', an application that has attracted attention in the congresses of ÖNDER for a while. How are the poems determined? What is the significance?
The slogans are the titles that draw a route for the works to be carried out by our provincial and district associations and set targets every year. We determine the titles that will develop the imam hatip generation, integrate them with our national and spiritual values, and enable them to take a strong stance against the developing world. In doing so, we determine the motto of that year through a bottom-up consultation mechanism and explain it at our congress. After the convention, our organizations organize activities and work on many different topics within the framework of that slogan.
* As ÖNDER, what are your expectations and demands from the Ministry of National Education regarding imam hatip high schools?
We share our expectations and demands with the ministry officials with the problems and solution proposals we receive from the field. We convey our demands in order to eliminate the deficiencies of the education and training process in imam hatip schools and to increase the quality of education. ÖNDER is a civilian force representing imam hatip graduates and members. Therefore, it is our responsibility to convey the problems experienced by our schools, students, teachers and administrators to the relevant authorities, to propose solutions, and to defend the rights of this group. In this sense, we are trying to announce the problems and demands of our imam hatip brothers before every institution.


* As the president of ÖNDER, how do you evaluate the education level, national and spiritual consciousness and consciousness level in imam hatip high schools?
Imam hatip schools are a part of our country's education system. The education system is also a reflection of your social development. Therefore, we cannot think of schools independently of the social life we live in and the general education system. Every improvement here also improves our schools, every negativity is reflected in the schools. Therefore, we look at the issue holistically. We believe that it is essential for our values to be adopted and spread throughout our society. We see the improvement and development of the problems of our education system for all students and schools as a necessity for raising a faithful and moral generation.
In addition, imam hatip schools are institutions that teach both social sciences, natural sciences and Islamic sciences as a different model, and where religious and moral values come to the fore. For this purpose, very good and valuable studies are carried out in our schools. Our administrators, teachers and students are trying to create this atmosphere. In this respect, we are hopeful for the future. We must work harder. What we see as deficient and what we find good and sufficient should push us to work harder.
Always seeing the negatives, focusing on the deficiencies or approaching with a constant critical attitude consumes hope and positive energy in the person or the mass. Work consumes your determination and enthusiasm. For this reason, we are always grateful for these opportunities that we have beforehand. But we are also aware that each of these opportunities has a responsibility and an account. That's why we work actively to reach every student in our schools. Everyone should feel this responsibility; Everyone from the family to the school, non-governmental organizations and public administrators should strive to raise a generation that adheres to their beliefs and values.


Being an imam hatip; is to see the world and the hereafter, reason and revelation, religion and science, and moral values from the same point of view as a whole. It is to look at life through this window. Because the education that imam hatip students receive in these schools has a multifaceted, rich and in-depth content and integrity. Being an imam or preacher is to see mathematics, the Qur'an and the laws of physics as Allah's verses and to look at life from the point of view of this integrity. It is to be at peace with oneself and with one's surroundings, and to be conscious of their responsibilities towards Allah. It is to see service to one's country, nation and humanity as service to God. It is to do business with the awareness that the best of people is the one who is most beneficial to them. It is to integrate love, compassion, sharing, working and justice with one's personality.


We receive detections and warnings in the following direction; "The Imam-Hatip students used to be pointed out among 100 students in the past. Today, this clarity has disappeared..." What do you say to the opinions and warnings in this direction?
Generalizations always create problems. The world is not the old world, change makes itself felt in every aspect of life. You need to be aware of this change. Yesterday's social reflexes have changed, parents' attitudes have changed, yesterday's family structure and relationships have changed, society and the world have changed. The internet and social media have left no room in our lives. Without seeing, understanding and carefully analyzing this change, it is not very fair to blame and criticize all young people, not just imam hatip followers, and to say that they are not like "yesterday". It is necessary to start with the adults who cannot understand today's generation, who cannot develop a language and style that they can understand, and who cannot set positive examples as adults. Instead of such a negative point of view, I think that we should focus on studies that will reach our young people, understand them and channel the potentials of our children and young people in positive ways. ÖNDER is trying to spread this understanding as a corporate. For example, the studies we focus on the most are youth studies and quality and long-term studies for our students. This topic is at the forefront of our activities. And we get a lot of efficiency from these studies, wonderful young people are coming. If you do business, develop a language and style to communicate with them, this potential is always the greatest treasure. Dozens of works such as the Leaders of Turkey, the Pilot Ship and the Çelebi program show us that there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done on this road. We have gained a lot from these projects, but they are not enough, we think that we need to reach more young people. For this reason, we say to those who criticize young people; "Come together with the youth, but do not point fingers at them, understand them, walk with them, make room for the youth, give way, support them. Share your experiences. Then you will see their sincerity, excitement and potential."


* Could you tell us about the work of the ÖNDER Association? How many members do you have? What activities did you undertake in 2023?
ÖNDER is an umbrella organization that brings together nearly 500 imam hatip alumni associations across Turkey. This number is increasing every year with our newly established associations. Today, we are a large family that spans nearly ten million, with a total of 1.5 million students studying in imam hatip schools and those who graduated from these schools. Our common point is that we are imam hatip followers and our desire to serve the imam hatip generation. For this reason, we conduct studies under thirteen different headings for our students, our administrators and teachers, and our graduates. We are implementing dozens of projects for our students that will improve them.
For example, we conducted studies to improve the content of education in imam hatip schools, prepared reports and forwarded them to the relevant authorities. We prepared a report titled "Turkey's Original Education Model: Imam Hatip Schools 1913-2022" in order to eliminate the misconceptions of the public about imam hatip schools. We presented this report to different segments such as members of the press, deputies and non-governmental organizations at separate meetings. We established the Imam Hatip Research Center (IHAMER) in order to support the development of Imam Hatip schools, to conduct scientific academic studies on this subject and to publish reports.
We have been continuing the Idea Ball Workshops for our students, since 2017, for university students who graduated from imam hatip. In this study, students are given seminars on dozens of different topics such as economy, international relations, technology, informatics, migration and refugeeism. Again, in our Guide Ship study for university students, we formed professional groups in the fields of Islamic Sciences, Law, Medicine, Psychology, Media, Administrative Sciences and Architecture in order to contribute to the individual and career development of our youth. These young people are guided by experienced names in their fields.
There are 4 thousand students with 2600 new students in our Turkey's Leaders project, which has been going on for four years for our high school students. In the project, which runs in 30 provinces, students receive regular training in groups of 15. In this context, book, article, film and documentary analysis, trips and interviews are organized for students. Likewise, we organize a book reading contest under the title Every Book is a New Life for our high school students, and a forty hadith memorization contest under the title of "My Prophet, My Leader" for our secondary and high school students. We also organize Imam Hatip Sports Games for Imam Hatip students. A total of 4 thousand students from 300 imam hatip schools participated in the games, which took place for the 13th time this year.
In order to contribute to the professional development of our teachers, we organize the "Teacher Academy in the Pursuit of Wisdom". The seminars, which we held for the second time this year, were held under 44 different topics and in 176 sessions. In the seminars, 50 academics met with nearly 6,000 teachers from 81 provinces online. In addition to these studies, we organize seminars for the management of school parent associations every year. We bring our members and alumni together every year. Here, we are actively working in the field on dozens of different titles that I have not yet counted. We are also pleased with this, because each student we reach means the world to us. We have a big responsibility, a lot of work. For this reason, it is our duty to strive and work without making excuses.


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