Islamic Religious Education (IRE)
In collaboration with Dr. Irina Cironei (Marie-Curie Fellow, IBEI, Barcelona/Spain)
Islamic religious education (IRE) is regulated very differently in Germany as well as across Europe. Some states have introduced IRE as a regular subject or launched first trials in schools, whereas other states entirely lack regulation. This is puzzling, as one might consider IRE to be an effective tool for Muslim integration and a preventive measure against radicalization. Moreover, there is a high demand for IRE among Muslims in Germany and and its establishment as a regular subject in state schools is supported by key societal and political players. This research project explores this puzzle in more detail. Specifically, which models of IRE do we encounter? And how can we explain different regulatory approaches across geographical entities? A first finding is that the different strategies of the states are substantially influenced by the historically grown relationship between the state and Christian churches in education policy which seems to promote negative moral templates toward Islam in public bureaucracies and low regulatory capacities of Muslim religious organizations. However, there are still some other judicial and cultural hurdles which currently challenge the establishment of IRE in state schools and must be overcome in the future, for example the recognition of Islam as a religious community according to the definition of the law.
Regulating Islamic Religious Education in German states. Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, 12(1): 93–109.