Vienna: Imam training program

Vienna: Imam training program

The University of Vienna announced on Wednesday the launching of a diploma for imams and for Muslim chaplains focusing on the values of Austrian society, while the training of Islam teachers has been criticized on several occasions.

Starting this fall this pilot course titled 'Imams in Europe' will offer courses on the Austrian political and judicial system, notably basic rights and the interpretation of the teaching of Islam in a European context.

This program, spread over two semesters, will accommodate 30 students at most.  They need to have studied Muslim theology in advance and also be trained in social work and Christian theology.

The training of Islam teachers and the attitude of the IGGiÖ organization, which represents 35,000 Muslims in Austria, and is responsible for their selection and supervision, has been criticized in recent months.

At the end of January, a survey revealed that 22% of teachers of Islam reject democracy.  The education minister Claudia Schmied announced that all teachers of Islam have to sign new employment contracts which explicitly recognize democracy, human rights and the constitution.

Shortly afterward, she fired an Islam teacher who spread antisemitic propaganda.  Finally, the political class was stirred when the IGGiÖ fired a liberal teacher.

Austria employ 394 Islam teachers, for 50,000 Muslim students.  The religion class, unless there's an exception, is obligatory in the national schools.

Due to a lack of training institutes and in order to face the demand, in the 1980s and 1990s the IGGiÖ recruited teachers who weren't necessarily pedagogically competent in Turkey and in the Arab countries.  They since opened a course in Vienna for about a decade.

Source: La Croix (French), h/t le blog laiciste (French)

Related posts:
* Vienna: Muslim community upset at teacher sacking
* Austria: Islam teachers - 22% oppose democracy, 8% support violence
* Austria: Reform of Islam lessons
* Austria: Calls for resignation of Muslim community head

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