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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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Juan Ferreiro Galguera: Training Centres for Imams in Spain

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257 Juan Ferreiro Galguera Tra i n i n g Ce n t r e s fo r I m a m s i n S p a i n The issue of Imam training centres in Spain refers to three concepts which we are going to develop: university studies in Spain, religions existing in the country (Islam in Spain) and clerical training (Imam training centres in our country). Let’s have a quick overview of the first two concepts so we can then refer more adequately to Imam training centres U n i v e r s i t y S y s t e m i n S p a i n As everywhere, the Spanish university system includes public and pri- vate universities. There are 51 public universities (one of them is an open university –UNED-), two of which are international (Menendez Pelayo and International University from Andalucía), 17 private uni- versities (one of them is an open university: Oberta de Catalonia), and 7 universities belonging to the Catholic Church. 258 Juan Ferreiro Galguera Religions are also entitled to establish private universities. Spanish law (according to the Cooperation Agreements of 1992 and Organic Law 6/2001 of December 21st) gives denominations which have signed Cooperation Agreements in 1992 the possibility of creating universi- ty centres for theological studies where their religious ministers can be trained and receive state-recognized certification. So far, only the Catholic Church has university theology centres, but the Spanish gov- ernment is obliged under the...

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