Vienna university launches training course for Islam tutors

11th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The one year "Muslims in Europe" course is to provide participants with a better understanding of Austrian society, its political and judicial system, and fundamental values like democracy and human rights, the university said.

Vienna -- The University of Vienna on Wednesday announced a new course on Austrian values for Islamic religion teachers, following recent controversies involving Muslim tutors.

The one year "Muslims in Europe" course is to provide participants with a better understanding of Austrian society, its political and judicial system, and fundamental values like democracy and human rights, the university said.

It will also offer an "interpretation of Islamic teachings in a European context", including gender roles, to prepare students for work in Muslim communities and institutions, as imams or Islamic religion tutors, it said.

A maximum 30 students, preferably with a degree in Islamic theology, will be able to enrol each year in the course.

Islamic religion teachers in Austria have been criticised in recent months.

In January, a survey by a Vienna University researcher found that 22 percent of Islamic teachers in Austria rejected democracy because it conflicted with their religion. The education ministry then requested new work contracts explicitly recognising democratic and human rights and the Austrian constitution.

Shortly after, the ministry called for one tutor to be banned from teaching after he apparently encouraged students to boycott Jewish companies.

The Austrian Muslim community in March dismissed another teacher who had called for reforms in Islamic teaching, sparking an outcry from politicians.

The community recruited many tutors in Turkey and Arab countries in the 1980s and 1990s.

In Austria, a majority Catholic country, religion classes are funded by the state and are compulsory in school. Austria currently employs over 390 Islamic religion teachers for some 50,000 Muslim pupils.

AFP/Expatica

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