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Islamic studies gain foothold in state schools

The Local · 22 Dec 2011, 09:00

Published: 22 Dec 2011 09:00 GMT+01:00

There have been several pilot projects to teach principals of the faith to German pupils, who are offered the option religious instruction in most state schools. But a vote by the NRW parliament will give it a more permanent foothold until at least 2018, when the effectiveness of the instruction will be comprehensively evaluated.

Although there is demand for the courses – there are about 300,000 Muslim students in the state’s schools – Islamic studies classes have been controversial throughout Germany.

But supporters have argued that offering approved classes at about 130 state schools by vetted teachers could encourage the flourishing of a more moderate version of Islam among German youth.

State Education Minister Sylvia Löhrmann said the parliamentary vote represented a “sign of more integration” adding that North Rhine Westphalia could be “a good example” for other states.

But there appears to be some discomfort among lawmakers about the idea. Although the Greens and the centre-right Christian Democrats and centre-left Social Democrats supported the parliamentary vote, the socialist Left party voted against it, and the pro-business Free Democrats abstained.

Officials have emphasised that the classes are held in German and are offered only by specially trained teachers.

Story continues below…

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:43 December 22, 2011 by bugger
Legally, the state and the church are separated in Germany.

But somehow, this obviously still does not work.

No need for "religion" as a school subject.
10:36 December 22, 2011 by Jibzy
Bugger: I dont think you understand the difference between secularism and teaching religion in school. Difference between church/mosque/Synagouge and state means that law making would not be influenced by any particular religious scripture and teaching religion in school implies that it would be understood by the school children.

I think this is a very warm, welcoming step by the German government, thus the German people. Any Muslim who still complains should pack up their bags and get lost back to their whateveristan.
12:42 December 22, 2011 by storymann
Religion is a sanctified subject in German schools, both my children take it and like it. Offering Islamic studies as an alternative to those students that are not Christians is a positive move towards integration.
12:43 December 22, 2011 by zeddriver
I support giving more information to students.

But! How far will the school go. Will they teach the difference between the moderate vs radical form of each religion? And how the radical vs moderate forms got their start? Or will they only speak of the good things and leave out the bad things concerning each religion. One has to be careful.

We have a saying in the US. If you want to start a fight at the dinner table. Just start talking about politics or religion

information is a good thing. So long as it is not turned into misinformation by those wishing to be politically correct or morally/religiously corrupt.
12:51 December 22, 2011 by boopsie
Information is indeed a good thing. Teaching kids in schools about the consequences of any german adoption of Sharia law can only be a good thing.
14:35 December 22, 2011 by The Man
Where does one draw the line? What happens when the Rosicrucians, Jehovas Witnesses, Pagans and plethora of other groups each demand their share of religious education time in school?

On balance it is probably a good thing, because if nothing else it might reduce the attactiveness of the militant Muslim schools...
16:28 December 22, 2011 by raandy
I think the obvious answer is you remove all religion from the schools as they have in the USA.

They use to read from the bible when I was in school we had Jewish and other non christian religions present but no one was complaining at that time at least in my school. It was the non believers that accomplished the removal through the court systems. It use to be that the majority ruled once upon a time long long ago.
21:23 December 22, 2011 by Gretl
With declining attendance, one wonders why the populous puts up with their tax dollars going to support the various religions and religious classes in school. Why isn't the religion providing for sectarian indoctrination classes? Sounds like a free rider issue to me.
17:56 December 23, 2011 by nathan almond
Why not do as we Americans and other countries do and separate out religious teaching and the teaching of the quest for truth, i.e. science. There is sufficient outside religious domiciles to permit full time teaching one's favorite dogma. Let the schools teach course about religions, all religions, their dogmas, their truths, their falsehoods, their belief in the god of love god of war. How religion has influenced the very best and the worst in humankind. Make the schools and the state bastions in the search for truth and that which is based on factual matter.
18:43 December 23, 2011 by raandy
nathan almond ya I agree religion is the cause of most problems followed by greed and then power.

but for many people it is salvation and a life line ,so let it live it at least gives some people values and reason and a positive direction in their lives.
04:26 December 24, 2011 by Betty L
you will be sorry about this
06:32 December 25, 2011 by PierceArrow
The religion that causes the MOST problems in the world is atheism (aka secular humanism). Just ask the victims of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, the North Korean Kims, and other Communist dictators!

Islam, though, is a close second in causing problems. I wonder if the Islamic Studies teachers in the German schools will tell the truth about Hajj Amin al-Hosseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1920 to 1939. Al-Hosseini was a friend of Adolf Hitler, and after he escaped from British Palestine at the onset of World War II, he aided and encouraged Hitler in the killing of Jews and Christians in Nazi-occupied territories.
04:04 December 26, 2011 by Ich
If the truth is taught about Islam, it would fine, as a course, like any other course.

However, I cannot see that happening.

We have had professors run out of college in the U.S. by Muslim students who didn't like the academic "version" of Islam, which tended to be more factual than some anticipated.

In today's world, no one can afford to not know what Islam really is, which is exactly why content of a course like this will pobably turn into a political brooha.
11:22 February 7, 2012 by emejota
This is highly stupid. Has anyone ever senn what is tought? No, you can look up such an Islamic religious lesson on youtube. Just watch out for it. How children are indoctrinated to believe the others are "kuffar" and what they do is "kuffar".

The books offered for their teaching is highly offensive towards Jews and atheists in first place and Christians in second. This being taught on German schools is frightening. With islamisation on schools we are getting a step forwards to totalitarian teachings and thinkings.

NO religious indoctrination should take place in schools, neither Christian, nor Muslim nor anything else. It is NOT the secular State's duty to indoctrinate children with religious bias.
13:49 April 24, 2012 by soros
Religious studies should not be taught in isolation but part of a larger scope that includes other religions. Courses should be in Comparative Religion or something similar, not exclusively one belief.

I see more intelligence in that than in students of any one faith solidifying their identities in ignorance of Protestantism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism or Catholicism. Let's open the scope in education, not narrow it down to confirm particular ideologies.
14:18 December 14, 2012 by qopel
I went to school in Bavaria and had to take religion. There was even a cross hanging on the classroom wall. I found it very disturbing that religion was being pushed as a legitimate thing to teach in a public school, being that there is no evidence of any God.
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