Switzerland: Muslims want local imam training

Switzerland: Muslims want local imam training

See also: Study site

Muslim communities and education authorities in Switzerland appear to agree that the country's universities could train future imams.

A study by the National Science Foundation has concluded that it is up to cantons to take the necessary steps to set up programmes, in cooperation with universities and Muslims.

Imams practising in Switzerland either leave the country for training or are imported from abroad. Researchers said that Muslim communities want "an authentic Islam and an Islam suitable for Switzerland" but are less enthusiastic about state intervention in training.

In 2008, the French government introduced a programme to sensitise Muslim leaders to the country's history customs.

Swiss researchers said the results of their study brought some surprises.

"It refutes the general prejudice that consensus is not possible among the Muslim community and of a rift between Muslims and Swiss society," said Ulrich Rudolph, professor at the Institute for Oriental Studies at Zurich University.

Rudolph said there is a widespread perception that the present situation of training mosque leaders is unsatisfactory, as imams from abroad are not familiar enough with the social and cultural background of Switzerland.

"Interviewees said teaching programmes for imams would increase the social competence of the clerics, facilitate integration and help ensure transparency as well as prevent Islamic extremism," Rudolf said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Rudolph pointed out that those interviewed considered the role of an imam in Switzerland to be similar to a Christian cleric. "He should not only be a preacher and teacher, but also an advisor in pastoral care".


Source: SwissInfo (English)

No comments: