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Germany Proposes Formal Education for Imams, Islamic Scholars

posted by mconsoli

BERLIN (RNS) German political and religious leaders appear mostly supportive of a proposal to provide training for imams and other Islamic scholars at German universities.
The recommendation, issued Friday (Jan. 29) after two years of study by the German Council of Science and Humanities, said given the country’s 4 million Muslims, German colleges and universities should play some role in training those who would, in turn, teach the faith.
“The growing plurality of religious affiliations in Germany combined with the growing need for academic expertise in questions about religion has set new demands for the organization and capabilities of academics who focus on these issues,” read a statement released by the council.
The plan calls for initial pilot programs in Islamic studies at two or three German universities. The goal would be to train imams and other people active in social and community work, but also teachers who would teach the Muslim faith in German public schools.
Most German schools provide religious education, though many districts complain of a lack of trained Muslim teachers. Many students, since they cannot learn about Islam at school, attend classes run by local community centers, which has fueled concern that children are receiving schooling outside the mainstream educational establishment.
German Education Minister Annette Schavan told the newspaper Die Welt that the move, if implemented, would lead to “a comprehensive integration policy for modern society.” Although Germany’s Muslim population is growing fast, there is also concern that foreign-born Muslims are not integrating into German society.
Kenan Kolat, the head of Turkish associations in Germany, told the newspaper Die Zeit that his group supported the plan, but argued that the educational centers must remain independent.
Currently, the University of Muenster is the only German academy with a small Islamic studies program geared at training teachers and imams.
– Niels Sorrells
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



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nnmns

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm


Interesting idea: educated religious advocates.
I know many of ours, like e.g. jestrfyl, are, but so many others have little education, if any, that’s pertinent to what they are preaching. A lot of them do, of course, have the ability to sell. But that and little knowledge about what they are selling and, in many cases, little morality, mean bad results. Which we see so often in our religious stories here.
Now as to whether Germany should do that, I’m not sure. Perhaps the US should but I doubt very much it could. And there definitely is danger in having the state in control of things like that.



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jestrfyl

posted February 2, 2010 at 11:12 am


It is from Germany that the concept of an educated clergy developed. With that goal in mind, the Germans founded many colleges. This carried over to America, and the Germanic denominations founded many significant schools. Two German denominations were part of the root stock of the United Church of Christ, so we include several excellent colleges in our heritage.Of course, the English colonialists borrowed the idea and built upon it. Hence, Yale and Harvard were founded. Many others followed as well.
Educating the Imams is in everyone’s best interest. Rather than perpetuating, and even further corrupting, misconceptions and untruths, this provides a way to learn more thoroughly and present more clearly the truths of faith. Could this be the start of a new Reformation?



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Alena

posted February 2, 2010 at 11:48 pm


I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Alena
http://grantsforeducation.info



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