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Islamic Education in Secular Societies

In Cooperation with Sedef Sertkan and Zsófia Windisch


Edited By Ednan Aslan and Margarete Rausch

Through history, Islam was the dominant religion and source of legitimation for ruling entities in diverse contexts where cultures and religions thrived in harmony. Today, the presence of Muslims as citizens in secular societies poses challenges, either by belonging to minorities in Western countries with long secular traditions or by comprising minority or majority populations in post-communist East European and Central Asian societies, where secular values are being revised. As Muslims reconceive the role of religion in their lives in those contexts, Islamic education acquires importance. It assists the young, especially adolescents, in learning to identify more fully with local realities with the intention of building sense of inner connectedness through which they may truly take part in and be of service to society. The contributors to this volume explore how the religious and secular, as well as the traditional and modern intersect in Islamic educational institutions that benefit Muslims and their societies by averting extremism and promoting cohesion.


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Series Editor’s Foreword


9With the book, “Islamic Education in Secular Societies,” we present the fourth volume in the series “Wiener Islamstudien.” With these publi- cations, we would like to draw attention to University of Vienna’s contri- butions to Islamic studies and research, as well as to religious education. Although we refer to this series as “Vienna Studies in Islam,” it is never- theless concerned with developments that exceed the boundaries of this field, since, in the globalized world, in which we live today, problems and their solutions can no longer be considered separately. Developments in specific contexts rarely take place in isolation, but are instead increasingly subject simultaneously to the same influences. Six of the authors in this volume speak to problems related to the growing migration of Muslims to Western societies, which is increasingly the topic of public debates. However, media and politic discourses imply a perception that the presence of Muslims could present a danger for the future of Europe. For Muslims, on the other hand, the new experience consists, above all, in living as a minority in a pluralistic society, in identi- fying themselves as part of that society, and in participating in it. Throughout its history, Islam has often been been the dominant reli- gion in a society, and the source of legitimiation for governing bodies, in contexts charaterized by a variety of social and political models, where different cultures and religions existed side-by-side. Furthermore, theo- logical conceptions were formulated that regulated the temporary resi- dence of Muslims in...

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