Germany Adds Lessons in Islam to Better Blend Its Melting Pot


#1

The idea may seem odd to Americans, who are accustomed to government-funded schools being free of religious education. However, Germany offers voluntary religious instruction in its schools, for perhaps 40 minutes per week.

*For the first time, German public schools are offering classes in Islam to primary school students using state-trained teachers and specially written textbooks, as officials try to better integrate the nation’s large Muslim minority and counter the growing influence of radical religious thinking.

The classes offered in Hesse State are part of a growing consensus that Germany, after decades of neglect, should do more to acknowledge and serve its Muslim population if it is to foster social harmony, overcome its aging demographics and head off a potential domestic security threat.

The Hesse curriculum effectively places Islamic instruction on equal footing with similarly state-approved ethics training in the Protestant and Catholic faiths. By offering young Muslims a basic introduction to Islam as early as first grade, emphasizing its teachings on tolerance and acceptance, the authorities hope to inoculate young people against more extreme religious views while also signaling state acceptance of their faith.*
nytimes.com/2014/01/07/world/europe/germany-adds-lessons-in-islam-to-better-blend-its-melting-pot.html?hp&_r=0

Each German state sets its own education policy, and all of western states offer some form of Islamic instruction. Hesse differs from the other states because it has established a university curriculum for training its teachers of Islam, and will be providing those teachers. It seems very sensible to certify that the teachers have an understanding of conventional Islam.

Some cities in the state of Hesse which may be familiar to non-Germans include Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, and Mainz.


#2

It’s important in these days to understand one another, as long as one is firmly grounded first in the Christian tradition. Perhaps this will fight the stereotype of Muslims as violent terrorists.


#3

Germany is now home to several thousand Coptic and Syriac Orthodox Christians, with their own bishops, churches, and monasteries. I wonder if they’ll ever get to be a part of Germany’s educational lessons, or if once again Islam is represented as the default ‘natural’ faith of the Middle East in toto, with no respect for the fact that other people from there actually predate the creation of that religion and never converted to it despite tremendous pressure to do so (not just Christians, but non-Ashkenazi Jews, Mandeans, Zoroastrians, and others). I wonder also if these students and teachers will be taught about Islam from merely its own sources, or if they will take into account its history outside of Islamic sources, in the way education on Christianity in schools often involves higher textual criticism and readings from scholars whose theses involve explicit attempts to dismantle Christian history and replace it with secularized visions of what Christianity must really be about (as though there is no apostolic church on the face of the earth that might have something to say on the matter, or if there is it’s not important that anyone hear from its authorities because some guy somewhere with a few fancy letters after his name wrote a book somewhere). In these classes for the university set, is such critical exegesis of Qur’an and its history and composition still (pardon me) verboten?

The West is certainly doing its job in bringing the mountain to Mohammed…


#4

By “bringing the mountain”, do you mean legitimacy as a prophet?


#5

No, that idiom is usually used to mean that someone who cannot accomplish something by legitimate or promised means will have to find some other way to do it (it first appears in Francis Beacon’s essays in the 17th century; see here). In the context of my post, I mean that Islam could not conquer all of Europe militarily centuries ago when it last tried to invade and impose itself on the people, so now Europe is once again facing Islamicization (by its own admission), but this time they are helping it along with programs like this that present an Islam at odds with history (or, rather, holding only to the multiculturalist’s view of history, which is not history as it was documented at the time) in an attempt to make Germans of Islamic background feel more ‘German’ by making Germany more conciliatory to Islam, rather than forcing Islam to be practiced within the social and legal bounds of German society as they existed before the West decided it needed to praise everything and anything so long as it isn’t Christianity, as though all faiths are equally at home in pluralistic, democratic societies. Well, these teachers and others who are being trained in Islamophilic children’s education certainly aren’t getting a pluralistic view of Islam. That’s all I’m saying.


#6

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