German university starts seminars for imams

7 October 2010
They intervene in cultural conflicts, marital disputes and dealings with the German authorities: Muslim spiritual leaders deal with the everyday and the soul. Osnabrück University has become the first in Germany to offer seminars for imams. Many hope it will prove a boon for integration.
For the first time ever, imams are going to be trained at a German university. It is a development long fought for by many German politicians.
The signal sent out by Osnabrück could hardly be more important. The German state is creating partners in its dialogue with Islam: imams trained in state institutions. Almost 100 imams and other religious counsellors (for example voluntary helpers in the Muslim communities) have expressed an interest in the program. The university only has 30 places on its one-year course. Among those taking part are men and women from Bosnia, Arabic countries, and Turkey.
As of Oct. 11 they will take classes in religious education and how to link religious ideas to the everyday life of Muslim children, young people and others in the community. How should they mediate when parents do not want their children to take part in school trips? How should they advise Muslims whose partner belongs to another religion. “It is also about respecting other religions, it is about people making it clear that Christians and Jews are also devout,” said Rauf Ceylan, professor for Islamic religious education at Osnabrück University.

Rauf Ceylan’s new book: “The Preachers of Islam”

6 August 2010

In his new book, Rauf Ceylan reports on the daily lives of imams in
Germany. According to the professor for religious studies, imams are the
key to a new Islam. At first glance, it seems that there is no other
topic as well-trodden as this one — imams in Germany. Even those with
absolutely no interest in the subject have already been exposed to
countless reports on “preachers of hate,” while the media, with its
fondness for repetition, has portrayed imams as an obstacle to
integration, although within their communities, they are regarded as
role models.

There is nothing particularly new about the subject of Rauf Ceylan’s
latest book (“Die Prediger des Islam”, i.e. “The Preachers of Islam”),
except, however, his approach. Rauf Ceylan is the first to have gone to
the trouble of simply searching out for himself those people about who
so much has been spoken.

Violence among young Muslims increases with attachment to religion, study finds

A new study reveals a worrying trend among young Muslims: violence increases with growing attachment to Islam. With increasing religiosity, the acceptance of “macho cultures” and the use of violent media also rise.

The study was conducted by the Interior Ministry and the Criminological Research Institute of Niedersachsen (KFN). Not Islam as such is the reason for this trend, but the way it is taught. Professor for Religious Studies Rauf Ceylan, whose research on imams in Germany is mentioned in the study, says that many factors have to be taken into consideration. The role of imams, who are raised and trained abroad and who have no connection to Germany, may be one factor, as they act as a role model for young male Muslims. If the imams consider male domination normal or positive, this attitude is likely to be reproduced by the younger.