Dispute about Islamic theology

March 6, 2014

 

The public dispute about Islamic theology at German Universities and the Islamic theologist Professor Mouhanad Khorchide at the University of Münster has attracted the attention of the wider public. Since 2010, Islamic theology has been established at different German Universities in Münster/Osnabrück in Frankfurt/Gießen und Erlangen/Nürnberg.

Two conflicts have been arousing the issue of Islamic theology. First, the dispute between the Center for Islamic theology at the University of Münster and Islamic associations began in 2011, when the Center proposed different Islam experts for its science council and advisory board. Many of these candidates were dismissed by the Islamic associations. While some candidates of the Islamic associations were rejected, as the Federal Ministry of Interior assessed them inappropriate. In practice, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution assessed one of the candidates proposed by the Islamic Community – Milli Görüs as extremist.

The second conflict aroused about the person Mouhanad Khorchide. Having approved his engagement, Islamic associations rejected Khorchide´s employment at the Center, criticizing him for his remarks in favor of a liberal Islam. According to Engin Karahan, a representative of the Islam council, there is no trust left between Professor Khorchide and the Islamic associations. Thus, it would not be legitimate to continue his engagement at the University. It would be senseless for the University of Münster to offer Islamic theology without the cooperation with Islamic associations.

The coordination council of Muslims assessed the work of Khorchide as “not scientific enough”. Other theologists such as Professor Bernhard Uhde from the University of Freiburg called criticized the assessment of the coordination council of Muslims as dilettantish and an evidence for the power clash between Turkish associations and other Muslims.

Serda Günes, an Islam scientist from the University of Frankfurt believes the schools of Islamic theology processing a period of maturing. Islamic associations would not be able to respond to normative questions as solid and confident as churches would do. Therefore, they would try to compensate this lack with theological views, reacting irritated when being challenged by antagonizing positions.

 

Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/islamische-theologie-streit-in-muenster-um-mouhanad-khorchide-a-956587.html#

 

Dispute about Islamic theology

March 6, 2014

 

The public dispute about Islamic theology at German Universities and the Islamic theologist Professor Mouhanad Khorchide at the University of Münster has attracted the attention of the wider public. Since 2010, Islamic theology has been established at different German Universities in Münster/Osnabrück in Frankfurt/Gießen und Erlangen/Nürnberg.

Two conflicts have been arousing the issue of Islamic theology. First, the dispute between the Center for Islamic theology at the University of Münster and Islamic associations began in 2011, when the Center proposed different Islam experts for its science council and advisory board. Many of these candidates were dismissed by the Islamic associations. While some candidates of the Islamic associations were rejected, as the Federal Ministry of Interior assessed them inappropriate. In practice, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution assessed one of the candidates proposed by the Islamic Community – Milli Görüs as extremist.

The second conflict aroused about the person Mouhanad Khorchide. Having approved his engagement, Islamic associations rejected Khorchide´s employment at the Center, criticizing him for his remarks in favor of a liberal Islam. According to Engin Karahan, a representative of the Islam council, there is no trust left between Professor Khorchide and the Islamic associations. Thus, it would not be legitimate to continue his engagement at the University. It would be senseless for the University of Münster to offer Islamic theology without the cooperation with Islamic associations.

The coordination council of Muslims assessed the work of Khorchide as “not scientific enough”. Other theologists such as Professor Bernhard Uhde from the University of Freiburg called criticized the assessment of the coordination council of Muslims as dilettantish and an evidence for the power clash between Turkish associations and other Muslims.

Serda Günes, an Islam scientist from the University of Frankfurt believes the schools of Islamic theology processing a period of maturing. Islamic associations would not be able to respond to normative questions as solid and confident as churches would do. Therefore, they would try to compensate this lack with theological views, reacting irritated when being challenged by antagonizing positions.

 

Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/islamische-theologie-streit-in-muenster-um-mouhanad-khorchide-a-956587.html#

 

The dark side of University – Students attitudes towards Jewish and Muslim minorities

February 28, 2014

 

A German-Canadian study dealing with “antisemitic and anti-muslim attitudes and prejudices by students” was presented last week in the Jewish Museum of Berlin. One of the scholars conducting the study, the educational scientist Wassilis Kassis, explained the goals of the collaborative study, which took place between the University of Osnabrück and the University of Victoria in British Columbia (Canada).

As the „dark side of University”, the study describes a high percentage of anti-Muslim and antisemitic attitudes and prejudices among students of both Universities. Only a few number of students have distanced themselves to discriminating statements towards Muslims and Jews. In Osnabrück,  only 18% out of 1.000 students rejected statements such as “German women should not marry Muslims” or “Muslims provoke hostility against Islam through their behavior”. In summary, approximately 80% of respondents showed anti-Muslim prejudices at different degrees.

Approximately 40% of students of both Universities show antisemitic attitudes in “partly” or “fully” agreeing with statements such as “less Jews should be allowed to immigrate”. The study assumes antisemitism to be the entrance for expansion of hostile stereotypes against further minorities.

Wassilis Kassis is concerned about the reactions of the public by emails. Most writers have openly demonstrated their resentments or hatred against Islam and Muslims. So far, most assumptions rely on the thesis of education and social background as resistant factors towards antisemitic or anti-Muslim prejudices. Prof. Dr. Zick, Social- psychologist and leader of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Conflict and Violence Studies at the University of Bielefeld, urges to educate children at school to learn how to deal with conflicts without questioning the “other” identity.

The study is not yet published.

 

Migazin

http://www.migazin.de/2014/02/28/antisemitismus-islamfeindlichkeit-bildung-studenten-vorurteile/

Universities ‘can segregate men and women for debates’

November 22, 2013

 

Universities can segregate students during debates as long as the women are not forced to sit behind the men, university leaders have said. Segregation at the behest of a controversial speaker is an issue which arises “all the time” and banning men and women from sitting next to each during debates is a “big issue” facing universities, Universities UK has said.

As a result they have issued guidance which suggests that segregation is likely to be acceptable as long as men and women are seated side by side and one party is not at a disadvantage. In a new guidance on external speakers, vice-chancellors’ group Universities UK says that universities face a complex balance of promoting freedom of speech without breaking equality and discrimination laws.

When considering a request for segregation, they warn, planners must think about whether a seating plan could be discriminatory to one gender – for example if women were forced to sit at the back of the room it could prove harder for them to participate in the debate.

Apart from the controversies surrounding segregation, Universities UK say that academic institutions are facing a legal minefield when organising external speakers and their guidance aims to help them find the balance. An example of the fine balance is illustrated when the report goes on to say that if side-by-side seating was enforced without offering an alternative non-segregated seating area, it could be deemed as discriminatory against men or women who hold feminist beliefs. It adds: “Concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system.”

“These are issues that are arising all the time and these are really difficult issues,” said Universities UK chief executive Nicola Dandridge. “What emerged from our work on this particular issue is that there is no clearly defined right or wrong here as to whether to allow or outlaw segregation. It is going to very much depend on the facts of the case.” She added: “External speakers play an important role in university life, not least in terms of encouraging students to think for themselves, challenge other people’s views and develop their own opinions.

“Although most speakers are uncontroversial, some will express contentious, even inflammatory or offensive views. Universities have to balance their obligation to encourage free speech with their duties to ensure that the law is observed, the safety and security of staff, students and visitors secured, and good campus relations promoted. In practice, achieving this balance is not always easy.

 

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/10468115/Universities-can-segregate-men-and-women-for-debates.html

Universities cancel Muslim cleric’s speaking tour over concerns about his anti-gay views

November 7, 2013

 

A Muslim cleric who preaches that gay people are worse than animals is at the centre of a fierce “free speech” row after being invited to speak at universities across the country. Mufti Ismail Menk was due to visit six universities – Oxford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow – next week. But the speaking tour was cancelled after student unions and university officials expressed concern about his views. The Zimbabwean cleric, who studied in Saudi Arabia, has described same-sex acts as “filthy,” “wrong” and synonymous with “acts of immorality”. He has been recorded as saying: “With all due respect to the animals, [gay people] are worse than those animals.”

Mr Menk was believed to have been invited by the universities’ Muslim students’ associations, many of whom were still advertising the event on their Facebook pages this afternoon. Glasgow University Muslim Association described the event as a “wonderful opportunity” on social media.

Cardiff University Islamic Society changed its Facebook photo to a picture of Mr Menk. University of Leicester’s Islamic Society described him as “entertaining, yet very pious” on its social media page. Leeds University Union Islamic Society withdrew its invitation two days ago after realising his views.

The National Union of Students said Mr Menk’s “reported comments are very concerning”. Ruth Hunt of Stonewall said: “Universities should always remain mindful that they have a duty to protect all of their students and to ensure balance in university discourse.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/universities-cancel-muslim-clerics-speaking-tour-over-concerns-about-his-antigay-views-8927902.html

Woolwich killing: universities crack down on the preachers of hate

Universities asked to draw up guidelines on handling preachers with track record of inciting hatred in aftermath of attack. A fresh drive to prevent radicalisation of impressionable students on campus is being launched in which universities will be asked to draw up guidelines on how to handle preachers who have a track record of inciting hatred.

One of the suspects in Wednesday’s murder of Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo, converted to Islam in 2003 and attended events of the now banned al-Muhajiroun group. But it is not clear that there was any university link. Conservative Muslims have urged the government to go further and publish its own official list of speakers that it believes universities should not allow. Mohammed Amin, vice-chair of the Conservative Muslim forum yesterday urged the faiths minister, Lady Warsi, to consider publishing a list of the proscribed preachers.

UK Universities Asked to Report “Vulnerable” Muslim Students

29.08.2011

As part of the government’s revamped Prevent strategy, British universities have been ordered to inform the police about Muslim students who may be vulnerable to radicalisation due to feelings of depression or isolation. According to the new guidance for countering Islamist radicalism, students reported at being “at risk” will then be monitored and Scotland Yard will assess any terrorist threat. However, the students will not be made aware of this investigation. The backdrop to this new focus on universities is the realisation that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallabhad, who has come to be known as the “underpants bomber” of Christmas 2009, had studied at the University College London.

The new guidance has resulted in discomfort amongst both lecturers and student unions who are concerned about the infringement of students’ civil liberties. As the Guardian reports, the National Union of Students, for instance, instructed their officers to not provide the police with details about students unless they presented a warrant. Similarly, James Haywood, president of Goldsmiths college student union, said he was appalled to be asked to spy on Muslim students. The University and College Union criticised the new strategy for risking to damage the relationship between staff and students. Similarly, Ted Cantle warned of the risk to stigmatise Muslims. Despite these criticisms, however, the Home Office defended the new strategy and expressed the expectation on universities to play their role in achieving its objectives.

Universities Not Taking the Issue of Radicalisation Seriously Enough

05.06.2011

Just ahead of (and in preparation for) the publication of the updated Prevent Strategy, Home Secretary Theresa May criticized British universities for not taking the issue of radicalization amongst students seriously enough. Without sufficient willingness on the side of university officials to tackle radicalization, Muslim extremists could easily form groups on campus that support extremism, May argues. She called for universities to challenge extremist ideologies more actively and send clear messages to those that support extremism on university campuses.

Imam Education at German Universities: A Public Task?

21 April 2001

From the new academic year, three German universities will offer courses to train imams. It is a novelty in Germany, if not Europe, and aims at integrating Islam into society via secular state institutions. The German Science Council had initially proposed this plan, and it was highly welcomed by the media and also the Churches. This article now explores the question of whether it is actually the state’s task to be involved in the training of religious leaders.