Turbulent times at Münster: high expectations for the chair of Islamic religious education

The University of Münster, being the first to offer teacher training for Islamic religious education, does not come to rest. While the university has selected a most suitable candidate for the chair, the Lebanese Austrian Mouhanad Khorchide, the decision has to be approved by the Islamic associations. Some therefore claim that the associations have too much influence over this position at a state university, after they have already urged professor Sven Muhammad Kalisch at the same department to step down, after he had doubted the existence of Prophet Mohammed.

Meanwhile, Khorchide has taken up teaching on a temporary position. One of his main goals is to bring Islamic theology in harmony with a modern life and to show that there are no contradictions. School children should not have to make a decision whether to be Muslim or European, but should feel that they are both.

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.