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