Kurz: “Local Imams for Local Muslims”

14 September 2010
Following his earlier statements calling for exclusively German-speaking imams in Austria, the leader of the youth division of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), Sebastian Kurz, is now saying that only individuals with an Austrian background be allowed to preach in Austrian mosques.

Kurz criticized that too many imams are trained in Turkey, and are under the authority of the Turkish prime minister. The socialist politician and integration spokesperson for the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGiÖ), Omar Al-Rawi, responded by calling Kurz “ill-informed,” and by pointing out there as long as there was no Islamic theological institution in Austria, those wishing to become imams would have to go abroad to pursue their studies.

Reverse Turkish-German immigration in football

17 September 2010
Young football players with Turkish roots who have grown up in Germany and cut their teeth in the German football system are in much demand — particularly in Turkey. At the moment, 59 men who fit this description can be found playing in Turkey’s top league. And, every year, agents are bringing a fresh batch of talented young men — with Turkish passports and “Made in Germany” pedigrees — to its clubs.
Talent scouts focus their poaching efforts on German clubs with good reputations for devoting a lot of resources to training their younger players, such as Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund. They woo the young men — some of whom have only just turned 16 — away with promises of seeing regular playing time on a first-division Turkish team, higher pay and a chance to live in Turkey. As Vural puts it: “We’re bringing the boys back home.”
Still, it’s not always easy for the talented young players from Germany to adjust to living and playing in Turkey. In Germany, player Aygünes was always called “the Turk”; but, in Turkey, people call him the Almanci, the German, on account of his accent. In Germany, he would often get upset about all the rules and envy the energy and vitality of the Turks. But now, in bustling Istanbul, he occasionally misses the orderly, slow pace of life back in Germany.

French commission on the burqa to hear Tariq Ramadan

The national parliamentary commission investigating niqab and burqa-use in France will receive testimony from Tariq Ramadan on December 2nd.

Le Figaro reports that according to André Gerin, there is increased division among the UMP on the importance of a law banning their use.

The report is expected to be made public in January 2010.

US State Department reaches out to the Muslim world

A new division opened in the State Department this year: the office of the Special Representative to Muslim Communities. Farah Pandith’s mission is to reach out to the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. She tells Steve Inskeep the office will influence how Muslims perceive the United States.

Secularisation & Secularism

Secularisation – the process of a dividing the realms of politics and religion – has been influencing national and worldly affairs for several hundred years. The idea of the desirability of such a division – secularism – is nowadays a given backdrop for public policy issues regarding education, family, gender, media, migration, personal integrity and freedom, reproduction and sexuality. But globalisation and multicultural trends, as well as claims from religious groups for increased political influence or autonomy and the uncertain and varying responses to these from society, have made us aware that the secularist ideal has been realized through the process of secularisation in radically different ways in different settings. As a result, an identity crisis is presently afflicting secular societies. It is no longer as clear what secularism is supposed to amount to, why secularisation is desirable and where its proper limits are. To investigate questions about this is the focus of a newly initiated multidisciplinary research theme at the University of Gothenburg.


  • ABDULLAHI AN-NA’IM, Human Rights Law, Emory University
  • KENT GREENAWALT, Law, Columbia University
  • BRIAN PALMER, Anthropology & Religion, Uppsala University & University of Gothenburg
  • PAUL WEITHMAN, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
  • LINDA WOODHEAD, Religious Studies, Lancaster University



The conference is open to the public and free of charge. Registration is required for attendance.

Contact & Information


Email: secularism@filosofi.gu.se