Sunday, March 27, 2005

German College Launches Disputed Islamic Program

Frankfurt University is the most recent German college to launch an Islamic studies program. But it's already under fire for working closely with Turkey's state religion authority. In only a few weeks the summer semester will begin at Frankfurt's Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University and for the first time students will be able to pursue Islamic studies at the college's theological faculty. Mehmet Emin Köktas and two professors of Protestant theology have been working on the curriculum for two years. Köktas, a Turk, is able to teach in Frankfurt thanks to an agreement signed between the university and the Turkish Presidium for Religious Affairs (Diyanet). Köktas suggested that Frankfurt graduates could eventually end up teaching Islam in school religion classes. So far, only very few of Germany's states allow for classes on Islam, but graduates may be able to apply for work in a project currently underway in North Rhine-Westphalia, where children in 100 schools receive Islamic instruction in German.


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