web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Islam Conquering Higher European Education

Efforts to create a "European Islam" are naïve and misguided, and will "mainstream" an ideology that contradicts the European way of life.
The Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, will offer a degree in Islamic theology beginning in 2014.

The Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, will offer a degree in Islamic theology beginning in 2014.

Share Button

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The Catholic University of Leuven, the oldest university in Belgium and one that has been a major contributor to the development of Roman Catholic theology for more than 500 years, will offer a degree in Islamic theology beginning in 2014.

The decision by KU Leuven, as the university is commonly known, to focus on Islam follows similar moves by other leading universities in Europe and reflects the growing influence of Islam on the continent.

The proliferation of degree programs in Islamic theology is being justified by European governments — which are subsidizing the teaching of Islam in European universities with taxpayer money — as a way to “professionalize” the training of Muslim imams, or religious teachers, many of whom do not even speak the language of their European host countries.

Some European governments believe that by controlling the religious education of imams, they can promote the establishment of a “European Islam,” one that combines Islamic principles and duties with European values and traditions such as the rule of law, democracy, human rights and gender equality.

But critics say such efforts to create a “European Islam” are naïve and misguided, and will serve only to contribute to the “mainstreaming” of a religious and political ideology that is intrinsically opposed to all aspects of the European way of life.

The KU Leuven degree in Islamic theology will be offered within the department of World Religions, Interreligious Dialogue and Religious Studies (WIDR). The program is intended only for those who already have a bachelor’s degree, a requirement that would appear to eliminate the chances for admission for a vast majority of the imams in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

Moreover, KU Leuven’s Islam courses will be taught only in Dutch, a linguistic barrier that will presumably exclude many other practicing imams from participating in the degree program. In addition, the university has not yet revealed who will be teaching the courses on Islam, nor has it published information concerning the academic credentials of the professors who will be running the new program.

In order to earn the degree, students must prepare a thesis and also complete an internship as an Islam counsellor in public institutions such as hospitals, youth programs and prisons, etc.

Belgian opinion-shapers are casting an overwhelmingly positive light on KU Leuven’s decision to teach Islamic theology, a move that has been closely coordinated with the government in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium.

Flemish Education Minister Pascal Smet says the new program, which will be launched in February 2014, will be an important step in creating an “academic framework for Islam” in Flanders.

Smet, who has headed a steering committee of representatives from universities and local Muslim leaders, has been instrumental in funneling €100,000 ($135,000) of public money to compensate KU Leuven for teaching the courses on Islam during 2014 and 2015.

Flemish MP Ludo Sannen, who has studied the approaches to training imams used by other European countries, says that working with existing universities is more cost-efficient than starting an Islamic theology program from scratch.

In an interview with the Flemish daily newspaper De Standaard, Sannen says, “We need to train our own imams and Islamic theologians so they approach Islam from our environment and are better integrated.”

The KU Leuven Islam program has also benefited from the support of the Flemish Minister for Integration, Geert Bourgeois, who sponsored a major study on Islam in Flanders that was carried out by a consortium of Flemish universities in 2011.

The 80-page study, “Imams and Islamic Consultants in Flanders: How are they Organized?,” states that Muslim leaders in Belgium are mostly unfamiliar with Flemish language and culture, and often make reference to the reality of Islam as it is practiced in the Middle East. As a result, imams are ill-equipped to answer the questions of the younger generation of Muslims in Belgium and help them with their problems. Feeling misunderstood, “the younger generation of European Muslims is therefore looking for religious leaders who speak their language and know their world.”

In an interview with the Flemish newspaper De Morgen, Bourgeois says the KU Leuven Islam degree as currently conceived has a number of shortcomings. He says that over time the program should be customizable for the needs of individual imams, and that courses must be taught in a second language, presumably Arabic. In this way, according to Bourgeois, the degree program will “better reflect the specific needs of imams.”

Share Button

About the Author: The writer is the Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

4 Responses to “Islam Conquering Higher European Education”

  1. Ruth Hirt says:

    There is more to wickedness in Islam. It is how this culture is propagated and practice, at the end, imposed… Ask, search, read the leading experts' analysis and masteries on the theme, Islam is as a serpent, there is nothing to tame the venom. I suggest the books of Barry Rubin on Islam and the Middle/Near East in relation to international issues. There are numerous facts to reckon with, in attempting to civilize this religion. So help us G_D… come to our rescue.

  2. Ruth Hirt says:

    There is more to wickedness in Islam. It is how this culture is propagated and practice, at the end, imposed… Ask, search, read the leading experts' analysis and masteries on the theme, Islam is as a serpent, there is nothing to tame the venom. I suggest the books of Barry Rubin on Islam and the Middle/Near East in relation to international issues. There are numerous facts to reckon with, in attempting to civilize this religion. So help us G_D… come to our rescue.

  3. Herman Rosen says:

    IT IS BECOMING "BELGIUMSTAN" JUST WHAT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY NEEDS.
    MORE C–P COURSES LEADING NOWHERE EXCEPT UNEMPLOYMENT.
    ISN'T UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG MUSLIMS HIGH ENOUGH WITHOUT CREATING MORE.
    USELESS IMAMS. WE HAVE THESE PROGRAMS AT U S COLLEGES LIKE "MEDIA STUDIES" OR "COMPARITIVE RELIGION" ETC. THIS IS NICE FOR RECREATIONAL.
    OR CULTURAL DISCUSSIONS BUT THE ONLY THING THESE STUDIES WILL LEAD TO.
    IS HATRED OF THE WEST AND TRUE DEMOCRACY…AND THE SUPPRESSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES…EUROPE BEWARE..MUSLIMS BREED AT MUCH HIGHER RATE AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY IN BELGIUM WILL BE AGAIN INTRODUCING " CATHOLIC STUDIES".

  4. David Bergart says:

    We are showing ourselves to be a tolerant society…we even believe that we can educate tolerant Imams, these European Imams will be rejected and shunned by Muslims…unfortunately this will be an effort in futility…are there any Catholics or other religious leaders being educated in Muslim universities…we are only fooling ourselves into believing we can educate Muslim leaders.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Soeren Kern
A woman in a headscarf and full-face covering at a demonstration in Paris.

Instead of integration, “parallel societies are forming that continuously distance themselves from each other.”

Michael Adebolajo, holding a knife in his bloody-covered hand, rants in front of a camera near where he murdered Lee Rigby, whose body can be seen lying in the road.

Adebolajo said there was an ongoing “war between Muslims and the British people” and he was a “soldier of Allah.”

” All this new law does is create a raft of civil servants being paid to move mountains of papers round all day.”

“I find it shocking they won’t list everything they’ve found.” — Lawrence Kaye, Art Lawyer, New York.

“I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.” — David Cameron, Prime Minister, Great Britain.

In a separate but related matter, the Al-Madinah School is being investigated by the government over alleged financial irregularities.

“The rules of the city and the country are mandatory for everyone, and Mollet del Vallès will be uncompromising toward any kind of radicalism or blackmail.” — Josep Monràs, Mayor of Mollet del Vallès, Spain

The Muslim Association of Iceland now admits that foreign donors will be paying for the mosque’s construction costs.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/islam-conquering-higher-european-education/2013/08/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: