News of: Wednesday, February 02 2005,
The VU University in Amsterdam will be granted a subsidy to set up an imam curriculum for imams in the Netherlands.
As yet, there is no religious education for muslim clergy in the Netherlands.
Imams are now educated in muslim countries (such as Turkey and Morocco), and immigrate to the Netherlands. As a result, the imams who preach here often do not speak or write Dutch, and know little of the local culture.
Added to that is the fear of the government that this way islamic radicalists may be imported.
That is why it is goverment policy to set up an imam curriculum in Holland.
The VU University was chosen to get government funding because it has experience with Islamic education and good contacts in the muslim community. Set up as a Protestant university in the early 20th century, the VU is still one of the important centres of religious learning in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam has a relatively large muslim population and there is already a large Islamic higher education institute in the city, so students may continue their studies at university level.
It is remarkable that the university of Leiden did not get chose, as this is traditionally the university in the Netherlands with a lot of knowlegde about Islam. This has to do with the fact that Indonesia (the largest Islamic country in the world) was a Dutch colony for several centuries.