Germany should set up centres for Islamic studies at two or three state universities to educate Muslim scholars, teachers and pastoral workers for its large Muslim minority, an academic advisory council said on Monday.
The Council on Science and Humanities said the lack of such institutes at universities, which already teach Christian and Jewish theology, "does not do justice to the importance of the largest non-Christian faith community in Germany.
Muslim organisations should join advisory boards to help develop Islam institutes and choose faculty members and all main Muslim views in Germany should be represented, it said.
"For me, this is part of a modern integration policy," Education Minister Annette Schavan told Deutschlandfunk radio in Berlin as the report was published. "The main question will be who the partner is in developing this."
Private schools operate in several countries, but the German report advised against this option, saying Islamic studies needed to be in the university system to ensure they met the same academic standards as theology studies of other faiths.
The report said Germany, where around four million Muslims live, has about 700,000 Muslim pupils and would need 2,000 Islam teachers if all states offer religious education for them. Only a few states now teach Islam, often with teachers from Turkey.
Many German universities teach about Islam in Middle Eastern studies or history courses, but none teach its theology, law and languages in an academic curriculum similar to that used in their Christian theology faculties. The only German university training Muslim teachers is in Muenster, but several Muslim organisations have criticised it because one professor -- a German convert to Islam -- has questioned whether the Prophet Mohammad actually existed.
The report said the advisory councils meant to help universities develop Islam studies should be made up of representatives of the main Muslim organisations, which are often organised along ethnic or political lines.
"Various theological schools of Islam should be represented," it said.
This would include non-affiliated Muslim academics and minority groups such as the Alevites, "insofar as they consider themselves as belonging to the Muslim religion," it said.
ReutersLast Mod: 02 Şubat 2010, 09:29