With all the negative news about Muslims in Europe, the University of Osnabrueck’s opening the first public higher education program for imams comes as a welcome gesture. On October 11th, the German university began a course to train Muslim spiritual leaders in German language, the German political system, Islamic theology, and religious education. Thirty students enrolled in the course, but many more expressed interest.
The point of the course is to train imams who will be in touch with the realities and needs of the German Muslim community. Imams in Germany most often come from abroad, Turkey especially, and are not aware of the challenges of their congregations. Moreover, many times they speak little German and cannot address the specific issues of the German Muslim community. This program aims to bridge that gap, so that Muslim leaders are able to lead their congregations more effectively.
Programs like this one will put imams in touch with the youth of the community and will help them deal with issues such as integration, education, and discrimination. It is important for imams and scholars to be well versed in the realities on the ground in their particular locale. How can you guide someone if you don’t understand where they are coming from?
What do you think of this program? Does it matter where an imam is trained? Can this help the situation of German Muslims? Please share your thoughts below.