German Islamic teacher’s license revoked for being too liberal | News | DW
A German Islamic scholar has been denied his teaching license because of his “liberal theological beliefs,” one of his peers told a newspaper on Saturday.
Islam expert Susanne Schröter spoke in favor of Abdel-Hakim Ourghi, who headed the department of Islamic theology at the University of Friborg for nearly a decade.
Last month Ourghi, 53, was denied his “ijaza” (license to train Islamic teachers) by the Stiftung Sunnitischer Schulrat (Sunni School Board Foundation), based in Stuttgart.
The foundation was created in 2019 with the responsibility for teaching Islam in the Land of Baden-Württemberg, in southwestern Germany.
The decision sparked accusations that the candidacy process was used to intimidate liberal-minded theology professors.
“Mr. Ourghi has a doctorate in Islamic theology and has been teaching Islamic religious education for years, Schröter told the tabloid. Bild. “The assumption that he is technically unfit therefore has no basis.”
It is therefore clear that “the lecturer was withdrawn from the university because of his liberal theological convictions,” she added.
A supporter of “liberal Islam”
Urghi touts liberal form of Islam, which conflicts with the views of many conservative practitioners
For example, he previously published a book with theses for peaceful and gender-equitable religious practice, and warned future religion teachers in his seminars against political Islam and what he called the ” outdated views of conservative scholars ”.
His books include You don’t have to wear a scarf and Reformed Islam: 40 theses.
“Because I am defending secular and liberal Islam, they want to get rid of me,” Ourghi said. Die Welt.
Ourghi’s “unrecognized” qualifications
The foundation did not list a specific reason for the rejection, but said its academic results were “not recognized in the sense of the ijaza order.”
According to the foundation’s regulations, university professors who train teachers of the Islamic religion must have a teaching diploma in Islamic theology or religious education or an equivalent diploma.
However, Ourghi has a doctorate in Islamic theology, as study programs in Islamic religious education in Germany have not been around for very long.
The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, however, has always defended the decision.
A spokesperson for the ministry said it would be unconstitutional to take sides because the foundation is a public institution.
The ijaza as an “instrument of power”
“The ijaza serves as an instrument of power for the foundation,” Ourghi told the German newspaper Die welt Friday. “This is a warning to my colleagues: either you represent what we want and give up, or you are no longer allowed to teach.”
At least one German politician has now come to his defense.
“Obviously the reactionary forces are trying to sideline a recognized Islamic scholar,” said Christoph de Vries of the center-right CDU.
“I hope the state government will put an end to this unfortunate agitation, defend the freedom of science and protect itself before Urghi.”
Ourghi’s request is now the subject of an appeal.