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Canada Germany launches the formation of Imams "Made in Germany"

14:45  15 june  2021
14:45  15 june  2021 Source:   lepoint.fr

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P to attempt to restrict the number of "Imams imported", the Germany launches the first professional training of executives Religious supported by the State but the initiative remains disputed because of the lack of participation of the main Turkish organizations.

About forty future Muslim leaders of worship, men and women, start a two-year curriculum offered by the College of Islam in Osnabrück, in the northwestern country.

The first classes took place on Monday among the 12,000 volumes of the vast library acquired in Egypt and the official inauguration is Tuesday.

Open to holders of a Bachelor in Islamic Theology or an equivalent degree, the training offers learning staked by internships and practice-oriented: recitation of neighboring verses, techniques of preaching, cultural practices or political education .

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in a country between 5.3 and 5.6 million Muslims - between 6.4 and 6.7% of the population-- and continues to question the place of Islam, the Federal State and the Land of Lower Saxony in particular financially support the program.

'For the future'

A first called one's wishes by the Chancellor Angela Merkel which from 2018 had voted before the members in favor of training imams. "It will make us more independent and this is necessary for the future," she justified.

Learning "is distinguished by two peculiarities: we want to reflect the reality of the lives of Muslims in Germany and the teachings are held exclusively in German," says AFP Esnif Begic, who presides over the College of Islam.

"We are German Muslims, we are an integral part of society and we now have the opportunity to become Imams + Made in Germany +", adds one of the students, Ender Cetin, who also volunteers like Imam in a prison for young people from Berlin.

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Until now, the vast majority of IMAMs in Germany are seconded by Muslim countries, particularly by Turkey , trained and paid by their original state.

Thus, about half of the 2,000 to 2,500 imams belong to the Turkish organization DITIB, directly dependent on the Turkish Ministry of Worship, and which manages 986 local communities, according to a study by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

For others, 80% to 90% are sent from North Africa, Albania or the former Yugoslavia, according to the same source.

Most of the time, these worship officials come in Germany for four or five years, some with tourist visas, and are foreign to the local cultural and social context.

"These imams do not speak the language of young people who often do not always understand the Turkish", sums up Mr. Cetin, son of Turkish immigrants, born in Berlin. "But it is important that they are in connection with the realities of a multi-cultural society where Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims."

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In addition, some religious executives, which are Turkish state officials, "pursue a" political agenda here, according to him.

The question of the influence exercised by Ankara is regularly returning to the center of the debates, particularly from the putsch missed against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

In 2017, the German justice had suspected four Imams members of the DITIB, of Have spied opponents or criticism of Turkish power.

External influences

But the formation of financially sustained imams also raises criticism because it faces the principle that religious communities are only empowered to train their staff.

Thus neither the Ditib, nor Milli Görus, the second most important Islamic religious community, did not participate in the creation of the Osnabrück Institute, the DITIB having even launched its own training in Germany last year.

for Milli Görus, the formation of imams or chaplains "must be exempt from external influences, especially political", according to its Secretary General Bekir Altas.

But the President of the College of Islam ensures that there has been "absolutely no state influence of the state that has not been immusified in the development of programs".

remains the thorny issue of opportunities. Because the profession of Imam remains at present poorly paid, dependent on the donations of the faithful.

"We are not an employment agency" responsible for finding student posts, also prevents Esnif Begic.

15/06/2021 10:52:08 - Osnabruck (Germany) - © 2021 AFP

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