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The Training of Imams and Teachers for Islamic Education in Europe

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Edited By 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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Islamic Education in Macedonia – The Case of the Isa Beg Madresa and the Faculty of Islamic Sciences

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203 I s l a m i c E d u ca t i o n i n M a ce d o n i a – T h e Ca s e o f t h e I s a B e g M a d re s a a n d t h e Fa c u l t y o f I s l a m i c S c i e n ce s Muhamed Ali I n t r o d u c t i o n At the end of the 14th century after the territories of Macedonia be- came part of the Ottoman state, this area was transformed into one of the most important cultural, religious and civilization centers of Rumelia. The Ottoman investments in education in this country con- tributed to the development of education, hiring and attracting teach- ers and students from the country and surrounding region. The be- ginning of the 20th century, the period when the Ottomans left these lands, represents a period full of challenges for education institutions. Although gradually the political and economic pressures of the Yugo- slavian Kingdom were intensified against the active madresas in Mace- donia, due to the engagement of religious teachers and the support of the population, these religious education centers managed to function up until the end of World War II. After an imposed closure by the state authorities of Tito’s Socialist Yugoslavia, Isa Beg Madresa was restored in 1984 as a result...

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