Crossing Continents – Training of Imams

Crossing Continents, a current affairs programme broadcast on Radio 4, is discussing (as I type!) the subject of training imams in Europe. The government of the Netherlands has recently passed laws demanding that foreign imams take courses on “Dutch values”, while some politicians demand that imams stop making controversial statements on social issues, such as calling for a ban on gay marriages! Nothing like this has been proposed in the UK, and I think it’s a mistake - a lot of young people won’t accept knowledge from imams they think are “government scholars”, and they will be rejected if they try to bend the religion to suit the local non-Muslim population. On the other hand, what is important is that the imams speak the same language as their own youth, many of whom don’t speak the “back home” language (to say nothing of converts or immigrants not from the main immigrant community). If they want such programmes to work, they have to be done in good faith.

They are repeating it now (the original was broadcast on Thursday), but there is a Real Audio version on the website.

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