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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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Ednan Aslan works as a Chair of “Islamic Religious Education” at the Department of Education at the University of Vienna. He is responsible for teachers’ train- ing in Islamic religious education. Professor Aslan is chairperson of dif- ferent working groups on the development of curricula in Germany, Austria and Southeast Europe and has published intensively on Islamic religious education in Europe. George-Mircea Botescu Ph.D. works as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Bucharest, Romania. He is involved in research projects on the sociology of religion with a focus on Islam and Europe, Islam and civil society, the Dobrujan Islamic model and patterns of Islamic education in Romania. He is promoting integrated academic cooperation with the Muf- tiat of Romanian Islamic Community of Romania. Vahidin Beluli works as a teacher of Islamic religious education in public schools in Aus- tria (primary and secondary schools). He has worked for many years as an Imam in the Albanian mosque of “Bashkimi” in Linz, Austria. He is chairman of the Albanian Education and Integration Association in Upper Austria and is also active in the Union of Albanian Muslims in Austria. Eileen M. Daily, J.D., Ph.D. is Director of the Master of Arts in Religious Education Program at the Insti- tute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago, a Roman Catholic in- stitution in the Jesuit tradition. Her primary research interest is in the use of visual art in religious education. Juan Ferreiro Galguera graduated in...

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