web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

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.”

About the Author: The writer is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics 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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Current Top Story
Peace partners for hate: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (R) and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
PA Chief Negotiator Compares Netanyahu with ISIS
Latest Indepth Stories
isis-open-graph

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

champions

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

terrorists

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status

David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?

sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience

Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.

More Articles from Soeren Kern
One of the schools found to be indoctrinating students with radical Islam in Birmingham, England.

Inspectors: pupils in some English schools are systematically exposed to radical Islamic propaganda.

Muslim young woman wearing hijab in Paris.

In Paris, the Union of Islamic Organizations congress was turned into a platform for Muslim anti-Semitism.

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

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.

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: