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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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Johan Meuleman: Educating for an Old Profession in a New Context: The Imam Training Programme of Inholland University, the Netherlands

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223 Johan Meuleman E d u ca t i n g fo r a n O l d P ro fe s s i o n i n a New Co n te x t : T h e I m a m Tra i n i n g P ro g ra m m e o f I n h o l l a n d U n i ve r s i t y , t h e Ne t h e r l a n d s I n d r o d u c t i o n This paper discusses the Imam training programme of Inholland Uni- versity of Applied Sciences, which forms a unique endeavour, from various perspectives, to educate students for the Imam profession in the new context of a contemporary Western country. For this reason, its discussion is considered a valuable contribution to an international conference on possibilities, impossibilities, and existing experiences re- lating to the training of Imams and teachers in Islamic education. The main part of this contribution examines four fundamental as- pects of the Inholland Imam training programme. These are, firstly, the partnership it is based upon and, secondly, the structure and con- tents of its programme. The third aspect, like the first, primarily relates to organization and cooperation. It is the interreligious framework of 224 Johan Meuleman the programme. The fourth aspect, like the second, basically relates to contents. It is the combination of transmission of knowledge of facts, tenets,...

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