Mouhanad Khorchide to become successor for the chair of Islamic religious education in Münster

Austrian-Lebanese Mouhanad Khorchide is top short-listed candidate for the chair of Islamic religious education at the University of Münster in Germany. Khorchide, who studied sociology and Islamic studies and taught religious education in Austria, caused a heated debate with the publication of this PhD thesis in 2009. One of the results of his thesis on Islamic religious education in Austria was that one fifth of Muslim religious teachers in Austria are radical in that they reject the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Politicians demanded stricter guidelines and some Muslims accused him of defamation.

The chair in Münster is the only one for Islamic religious education in Germany and has its own special history. Predecessor Sven Muhammad Kalisch has stirred controversies by doubting the existence of the Prophet Mohammed. Islamic associations vehemently criticized Kalisch and despite significant public support he had to step back from the chair in 2008. The reoccupation is to take place soon, but depends on the approval of the Islamic associations.

Homegrown terrorism more possible than US thought, PhD lecturer Bruce Newsome claims

Dr. Newsome, lecturer on counterterrorism at University of Pennsylvania claims Americans have felt too free, their Muslims too integrated to be able to engender homegrown radicals that would launch attacks against the US. But Dr. Newsome says the jump to radicalism can and is happening in the US, and in a spontaneous manner.

He notes violent jihadists are usually troubled, could be seeking a holy redemption for a troubled past, has interactions with other terrorists, and has been politically marginalized. He says most jihadism is locally inspired and rarely supported by foreign terrorists.

Canadian gay Muslim scholar claims shunning from community

Junaid Bin Jahangir, PhD student at the University of Alberta, claims he is shunned from the Canadian Muslim community because of his homosexuality.

Jahangir has spent two years studying the teachings of Islam on homosexuality and has begun to be recognized internationally for his research.

He argues Muslims misinterpret the Qur’an if they consider the ban on homosexuality to be as firm as bans on alcohol or pork. The common story from which most Muslims draw their teaching is about violent homosexual rape, he says, and it’s time to rethink the possibility of consensual, supportive relationships.

Although his PhD in economics is incomplete, Mr. Jahangir has contributed to a new anthology on homosexuality, Islam and Homosexuality, edited by Samar Habib and published by Praeger Publishers. Jahangir avoids the Muslim community in Edmonton, and any local mosque, too, he says. “I’m a pariah.”

The Ottawa Citizen Profiles Zijad Delic

The Ottawa Citizen profiles Dr. Zijad Delic, who immigrated to Canada in 1995 from Bosnia and received his PhD from Simon Fraser University ten years later. Delic is currently an imam at British Columbia’s largest Sunni Mosque as well as an administrator at the B.C. Muslim school. He is coordinating “Islamic History Month Canada,” proclaimed by the Canadian federal government in the month of October.

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

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

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.

Dutch imams promoting ‘shared’ values

While Muslims in the Netherlands are often regarded as ‘strange’ and ‘different,’ a recent study shows that imams often use their sermons to discuss values and issues which the mainstream Dutch population also believes is important. Fred Leemhuis, professor of Arabic at Groningen University, is using the research on Dutch imams for his PhD dissertation, which includes analyzation of six randomly chosen imams from different ethnic backgrounds, in addition to extensive interviewing of the imams. In a parallel study Pieter van Oudenhoven, a social psychologist, looked at important and overlapping virtues among Protestants, Catholics, and non-religious Dutch persons. In his study of imams, their virtues hardly differed from other Dutch people. Additional information and details about the research conducted by Mr. Leemhuis and van Oudenhoven can be found at the article below.