No tax money for the education of religious functionaries

The recommended training of imams at German universities has met with broad approval among political parties, trade unions, churches and Muslim associations, but not among the organized non-denominational groups

The scientific nature of theology is controversial. Theology can claim to be a traditional university faculty, but the foundations of its doctrines are so intertwined with faith and church that scientific criteria do not have first priority. The often quoted "Field of tension" The conflict between science and the church has long been the subject of legal disputes, especially when it comes to filling professorships. Thus, it is only logical that the recommendation now ied by the Science and Humanities Council "for the development of Islamic studies at universities", associated with the training of imams at German universities is not as unanimously buried as was initially reported.

At the beginning of last year, the Federal Constitutional Court, on the occasion of its final ruling on the constitutional appeal of "of a professor of theology who no longer professes his faith against his exclusion from theological education" announced that the "Academic freedom of university teachers of theology finds its limits in the right of self-determination of the religious communities":

The Basic Law permits the teaching of theology as a science at state universities. If state theological faculties are established, the right of self-determination of the religious community whose theology is the subject of denominational teaching must be respected. The office of a university lecturer at a theological faculty may therefore be structured in a confessional manner. It cannot and must not be the task of the state, which is neutral in terms of religion and world view, to judge the confessional adequacy of theological teaching. This is rather a right of the denominational community itself.

Because the commitment to denomination is in strong contradiction to the freedom of science, and because theology is not a science because of its orientation to predefined beliefs, the International Confederation of Non-Denominationalists clearly opposes the recommendation of the Council of Science and Humanities:

We fundamentally oppose the use of taxpayers’ money to train religious functionaries.

Rene Hartmann, First Chairman of the IBKA

At the universities there should be room only for a "ideologically neutral religious studies", which is not bound to any confession, Hartmann demands – no tax money for dogmatic religions. The state-funded training of Christian theologians is already a source of criticism for the non-denominational, and an extension of this practice to Islam is rejected.

The chairman of the Science Council, Peter Strohschneider, estimates the annual costs per institute at 1.5 million euros "Islamic Studies". The federal government is to co-finance the creation of such centers of Islamic Studies research and training, and Federal Education Minister Annette Schavan (CDU) has already held out the prospect of a financial contribution to the costs of setting them up. The Council of Science and Humanities initially recommends the establishment of such institutes at two or three state universities. With four to six professorships and additional staff positions:

In addition to teachers for Islamic religious education, Islamic religious scholars, specialists for social and community work and, in particular, the next generation of scientists for Islamic studies are to be trained there.

Five to seven years are estimated for the development/testing phase. After that, the institutes will be evaluated, also with regard to their institutional anchoring. According to the Council of Science and Humanities, it would be appropriate to establish the institutes at a faculty of philosophy or cultural studies.

Its recommendations, which can be read in detail in a 156-page PDF, are, by the way, in large parts more cautious and differentiated than is usual in many discussions on religion and science, especially when it comes to Islam. This is clearly noticeable in a lengthy discussion of the position of theology at German-language universities, where, for example, the strong influence of the state churches and the impact of this dominance are discussed (see also Theological Labeling Fraud): "In Islamic Studies, until recently, it was neither practice nor conceivable in Germany to refer Muslims to an Islamic Studies profer. There was a widespread fear that Muslims were not capable of a scientific approach to Islam."

And this can also be seen in conceptual considerations of the "Islamic studies" (S. 75ff): Since problems in predominantly Islamic regions, but also of immigrants from predominantly Islamic countries, have been increasingly treated as an Islamic phenomenon in the public debate since 9/11, and complex social and cultural ies have thereby been "desacularized" the Council of Science and Humanities, it would have been desirable for the, "when Islamic Studies more clearly profiles its links to other sciences such as religious studies, literary studies, philosophy, history, and the political and social sciences, and when it abandons its traditional links to disciplines such as Arabic studies, Ancient Oriental studies, Jewish studies, etc. (p. 1). again strongly". Thus, phanomena in the Islamic world could be investigated more appropriately also in their non-religious dimension.