Expansion of Islamic Theology Teaching at German Universities

February 10, 2016

Faculties of Islamic theology at German universities will continue to expand over the next few years, following a string of deals struck between universities and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The federal government financially supports research and teaching in Islamic theology at the universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Frankfurt/ Gießen, Münster, Osnabrück, as well as Tübingen. Aside from engaging with scholarly questions of theology and jurisprudence, university programmes have focused on the education of teachers for Islamic religious education at primary and secondary schools. They have also begun forays into the formation of imams. With student numbers growing relatively quickly, the Islamic theological faculties at Osnabrück and at Frankfurt will begin to offer new degree programmes in the area of social work. These programmes will be centred on questions of the provision of Islamic welfare and care for a Muslim public, comparable to existing Christian-tinged social work curricula.

The Central Committee of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) declared itself satisfied with the progress made so far. A parallel development has been occurring in the context of the German scholarship system: aside from being eligible to apply to the main existing national-level scholarship foundations, gifted Muslim students can also become part the state-funded Avicenna scholarship programme, which provides financial support as well as a range of academic opportunities with an Islamic focus. Again, the Avicenna programme parallels existing state-backed Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish scholarship institutions.