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The Training of Imams and Teachers for Islamic Education in Europe

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Ednan Aslan and Zsofia Windisch

Following 9/11 and the growth of religiously legitimated violence in Islamic countries, the focus of public discussion moved to imams and teachers of religion as actors supporting Muslim isolation and the lack of willingness to integrate – imams became central figures in the debate on Islam. With great enthusiasm, politicians discovered them to be the scapegoats of a failed integration of Muslims in Europe. Integrated imams trained in Europe were to promote Muslim integration, prevent violence, resolve contradictions between society and Muslims and further Islamic enlightenment. With this objective an attempt was made, on the one hand, to rediscover the existing institutions for imam training in Balkan states and, on the other hand, to establish new educational institutions at European universities to train Europe-compliant imams. Due to their central role in the lives of Muslims, the training of imams and teachers of religion is given an important role in the process of Muslim integration.

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Qazim Qazimi: Religious Identity and Globalism (Translated from Albanian by Huseyin Abiva)

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103 O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Al­ lah is Knowing and Acquainted. (49:13) The roots of the monotheistic religions, as well as the cultures and civi- lizations that sprang forth from them among the peoples of Southeast- ern Europe, especially in the Balkans, were planted a long time ago and they run very deep. Their origin stretch far back in time and their impact has been quite great in expanse. This can be seen in the exami- nation of the many material and spiritual impressions attesting to this deeply engrained reality. Conversely, it is also a true and undeniable fact that following the Second World War these deep-rooted religious heritages were signifi- cantly weakened in communist-bloc countries (under the veiled slo- gan of “Brotherhood and Unity”) as a result of the compulsion and Qazim Qazimi Re l i g i o u s I d e n t i t y a n d G l o b a l i s m (Tra n s l a t e d f r o m A l b a n i a n b y H u s e y i n A b i va ) اَُرََِ َِَََو ًُُ ُْآَْَََو ٰَُْأَو ٍَآَذ ْِ ُْآَْََ ِإ ُسا ََأ  ۚ ُََْآَأ نِإُْآََْأ ِا َْِ ْ ۚ ٌِَ ٌِَ َا نِإ اَُرََِ َِَََو ًُُ ُْآَْَََو ٰَُْأَو ٍَآَذ ْِ ُْآَْََ ِإ ُسا ََأ  ۚ ُََْآَأ نِإُْآََْأ ِا َْِ ْ ۚ ٌِَ ٌِَ َا نِإ ا َُرََِ َ ِَََ ً ُُ ُْآَْََ َ ٰ َُْأَ ٍَآَذ ْ ِ ُْآَْََ ِإ ُ ا َ َأ  ۚ ُََْآَأ  ِإُْآََْأ ِا َِْ ْ ۚ ٌَِ ٌَِ َا  ِإ 104 Qazim Qazimi viciousness exercised by communist ideology towards religious and refined people. Yet godless communism, with...

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