Fatwa Council founded in Sweden

24 Jan 2011

A group of about 10-12 imams in Malmö have founded a Swedish Fatwa Council. The council is set up to be able to present Swedish Muslims with more unanimous answers to questions concerning how to practice Islam is Sweden in harmony with Swedish law and culture.

Jonas Otterbeck, assistant professor of Islamic Studies, Lund University, believes they have got a difficult task in front of them, but that it’s a brave initiative to try to find answers which can appeal to a majority of Sweden’s diverse Muslim population.

Some of the larger Muslim congregations and mosques in Sweden are not allied with the Fatwa council, which might complicate their work.

Islamic Studies in Germany: Who Has the Final Say on Religious Authority?

22 Oct 2010
In Germany, centres for Islamic studies are to be set up in three universities in order to train imams and religion teachers. Muslim associations like the Schuras, or associations of mosques, in northern Germany have been calling for years both for the introduction of Muslim religious education in schools and for the training of Muslim clerics in Germany.
All the same, there’s a substantial difference between the aims of the associations and those of the politicians making the decisions. The politicians have been led to make this historic decision by considerations of integration and security policy.
For the Muslim associations there have been other issues: equal rights; the development of an authentic Muslim theology in a European context; independence; and the emancipation from the Muslim countries of origin.

UCLA’s Ongoing Suspension of Admissions to Islamic Studies Worries Students

Admissions were frozen in 2007, awaiting a reorganization. But that hasn’t happened, and students fear that the program could simply be allowed to die. On Friday, several dozen students rallied to support it, gathering outside a meeting of a faculty panel considering recommendations aimed at ending the admissions suspension. The students, mostly members of the Muslim Student Assn., had walked across campus chanting slogans and carrying signs that read, “Scared of Islam? Learn about it.”

Fostering Intellectual Islam: An Interview with Peter Strohschneider (German Council of Science and Humanities)

13 August 2010

In future, centres for Islamic Studies are to be set up at German
universities to train Muslim religious scholars. In an interview with
Qantara, Peter Strohschneider, chairman of the German Council of Science
and Humanities, talks about these plans.

He claims that the project would not only be for the “intellectual
self-reflection by the Muslims, not only a vital project for reasons of
integration policy, but also an intellectual, structurally significant
project.”

On the question of how to name the new subject area in contrast to the
traditional “Islamwissenschaften” (Studies of Islam), he explains that
“Islamic Studies as a theological subject are connected with a belief in
Islam, while ‘Islamwissenschaften’ are not. We suggested the term
‘Islamic Studies’ even though it has some risks, for example the fact
that in English it is equivalent to what we call in German
‘Islamwissenschaften’, the subject we are trying to distinguish it from.
We deliberately avoided using the word ‘theology’ because it comes from
the Christian tradition, but the problem is that the only terminology
available in the German language has been shaped by Ch

Muslims Today A Radical Reform: Tariq Ramadan with John Esposito

Prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan joined John L. Esposito in a conversation exploring the challenges of confronting the status quo and promoting radical reform in Islam and the Muslim world. Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the Oxford University and President of the European think tank European Muslim Network in Brussels. His most recent publications include What I Believe, Islam, The West and the Challenges of Modernity, and Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation. John Esposito is University Professor, Professor of Religion & International Affairs and Founding Director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World, The Oxford History of Islam and Oxford Islamic Studies Online, his most recent books are: The Future of Islam; Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think (with Dalia Mogahed); and Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam.

Georgetown Professor John Esposito comments on Hasan media coverage

In this op-ed, Georgetown Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies Dr. John Esposito critiques some of the media’s coverage of the Fort Hood incident. He claims some journalists were too quick to judge in immediately placing the incident and Hasan within a framework of Islam, and discusses how extremist acts by people of Christianity and other religions are often not as strongly linked to their faith as acts by Muslims.

Perspectives on Sharia: On the Plurality of Islamic Law

There are very few comprehensive studies of Sharia around. German lawyer and Islamic Studies expert Mathias Rohe has just written one where, among other things, he argues that the historical and global perspective has always produced a multiplicity of interpretations. Martina Sabra has been reading it

Islam in the Nordic and Baltic Countries

Although Muslims are now an important presence in Europe, little is known about the Muslim communities that exist in the Nordic and Baltic regions of Europe. This is the first comprehensive and detailed study of the history, context and development of Islamic institutions and Muslim groups in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, and includes chapters on Islam in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

With contributions by academics with long experience of the Muslim communities in question based on original research, this volume presents new and important perspectives within a comparative and regional framework. Islam in Nordic and Baltic Countries will be an important reference work for students of European history and Islamology, and will be valuable to all researchers and scholars interested in the development of Islam and Muslim communities at the strategic heart of Northern Europe.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1. Islam and Muslims in the Nordic and Baltic Countries 2. The Faroe Islands and Iceland 3. Norway 4. Denmark 5. Sweden 6. Finland 7. Estonia 8. Latvia 9. Lithuania List of Contributors

Contributors
Aysha Özkan is a PhD student in Religious Studies at Södertörn University College in Sweden. She is currently writing her doctorate thesis about Muslim women in Estonia. Her main scholarly interests are contemporary expressions of Islam in Europe and issues concerning identity.

Tuomas Martikainen, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Researcher of the Academy of Finland working at the Department of Comparative Religion in Åbo Akademi University, Finland. His areas of speciality include religion in modern Europe, especially Finland, and religion in diaspora. His current project is from First to Second Generation Islam in Finland (2007-2010). His publications include Immigrant Religions in Local Society (2004, Åbo Akademi University Press) and several articles in international journals and books.

Christine M. Jacobsen is a post doctoral fellow at the department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. Her work is in the field of international migration and ethnic relations with a focus on Muslim minorities in Europe. Jacobsen has published Tilhørighetens mange former. Unge muslimer i Norge (Pax: Oslo, 2002), and several articles the role of Islam in the lives of young Muslims in Norway. She defended her thesis Staying on the Straight Path: Religious Identities and Practices among Young Muslims in Norway in 2006.

Göran Larsson is post-doctoral researcher in the national research program, LearnIT, funded by the Knowledge Foundation. He earned his Ph.D in religious studies at Göteborg University, Sweden, in 2000. He has published several articles and books on Muslim in the West (both in history and present time), media and religion, youth culture and religion in Swedish and English. His book, Ibn García’s shu’ubiyya, Letter: Ethnic and Theological Tensions in Medieval al-Andalus, appeared from Brill Academic Press in the spring of 2003 and in 2006 he published an introductory book on the Koran in Swedish. Currently Larsson is an associate professor in the history of religions at the department of religious studies and theology, Göteborg University

Ingvar Svanberg is Lecturer at Södertörn University College and Senior Research Fellow at Department of Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University. His research interests includes Eurasian culture, religion and history. He has written numerous books and articles.

Emin Poljarevic is a Ph.D. student in Political and Social Science at the European University Institute (Italy) and a junior research fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Silk Road Studies Program (Sweden). His primary research field is the development of Islamic movements in the post-Soviet space. He has previously published reports and articles on security and organized crime in Central Asia, Baltic region and the Balkans.

Egdunas Racius is currently an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University, Lithuania, where he chairs Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies section. He also is an Adjunct Professor in Islamic Studies at the Baltic Defence College, Tartu, Estonia. Racius earned his PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Iran claims links with British universities

Officials from the country’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology said they were in talks with a number of universities in Britain, the United States and Germany. Reports from Tehran claim they will provide teaching materials and scholars after striking up deals with several unnamed institutions.

Gholamreza Khajesarvi, a government official, told the Islamic Republic News Agency: “The ministry is currently studying proposals by numerous world academic centres and universities, including several universities from Britain, the United States, and Germany. The departments will be set up to train and educate experts on Islam so as to assist in the introduction of Islam and its realities to the world in a proper academic setting,” Graeme Paton reports.

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Karić: “Germany needs a domestic Islamic culture”

Enes Karić is the fifth Allianz guest professor for Islamic and Jewish Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich during the 2008-09 winter semester. The Bosnian professor comes from a culture in which Muslims, Jews and Christians traditionally live together as good neighbors.

Despite the experiences from the Balkan conflict, the peaceful interaction of different religions is part of the Koranic Studies professor’s everyday life. For that reason, Enes Karić is strongly promoting a domestic Islamic culture in Germany. As an optimist, researcher and former politician, he sees religious and cultural diversity primarily as a great enrichment from which all can benefit.

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