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Becoming Human

Fundamentals of Interreligious Education and Didactics from a Muslim-Christian Perspective

Edited By Zekirija Sejdini, Martina Kraml and Matthias Scharer

Religious and cultural diversity are increasingly visible today. At the same time, increased fear of the «other» has manifested, particularly of the Islamic religion. Islam today is considered a «problematic» religion. This attitude yields many challenges in universities and schools, particularly when it comes to religious education. The Institute for Islamic Theology and Religious Education and the Catholic Religious Education Department at the University of Innsbruck are addressing these challenges, having spearheaded a program of intensive cooperation in teacher education – including courses on pedagogy, religious didactics, internships, and evidence-based learning processes in schools and universities.

This research and teaching collaboration lacked an appropriate framework. This book provides a solid basis for interreligious pedagogy and didactics. Authentic interreligious cooperation begins by promoting intra- and inter-religious self-confidence and self-understanding. This required countless discussions among the authors, which yielded distinct viewpoints as well as commonalities. In this way the anthropological starting point for this book emerged and is expanded through a theological perspective on religious education and didactics. Various approaches and attitudes are developed and examined, including contingency sensibility, to support the competent planning, management, and evaluation of educational processes in pluralistic and heterogeneous fields.

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Introduction

Extract

As religious pedagogues and religious didacts, we deal with (religious) educational processes. Current social and religious challenges, arising from heterogeneity and plurality, have prompted us to conceptualize an interreligious religious pedagogy, primarily from an Islamic-Catholic perspective.

Nowadays, Islam is frequently presented as a ‘problematic religion,’ Islamophobia characterizes our context, and ‘national introversion’1 endangers any sustainable model of Europe. In this context, theologians and religious pedagogues must exert themselves to help shape a plural future and to promote plurality-sensitive and socially (and religiously) inclusive development, particularly in the area of education.

In society and in education, a growing trend toward fear of plurality is discernible, and is, therefore, specifically addressed in this book. Wherever people are confronted with strangers, uncertainties and fears arise, as has occurred in response to expanding migration movements in recent times. Such uncertainties and fears are frequently politically fomented and distorted. There is usually a level of fear in encounters between people with different ideological and religious convictions. This also applies to Muslims and Christians in the European context. Religious plurality in Europe is increasingly perceived as a threat due to prevailing conflicts all over the world. On the other hand, in our opinion, perception and recognition of, as well as confrontation with, plurality ‘at eye level’ represent one of the ←1 | 2→most urgent challenges for education and, therefore, for an interreligious religious pedagogy and religious didactics.

We, as the authors of this book, not only want to present...

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