Germany allows Islamic religion classes in state schools

The Ministry of Education of the north western German state of Lower Saxony has announced the teaching of Islamic religion in 75 state schools, ten years after it was adopted as a main subject of study.

According to the ministry, the inclusion of this subject in schools requires the presence of a class of students interested in studying this subject, consisting of at least twelve Muslim students, so several classrooms or neighboring schools are usually merged with each other.

At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, the subject of Islam was introduced in primary schools in Lower Saxony, and a year later it was gradually taught in secondary schools as well, starting from the fifth grade, according to the German website ‘Focus’.

The study of Islam is the most common in state schools after the subject of Christian religion, as about 3,380 students were enrolled in the (academic year 2022/23) studying Islam by 52 teachers, leaving this number much less than the subject of Christian religion, which is taught in the state by more than 9,000 Protestant Christian teachers and about 4,000 Catholic teachers.

The Ministry of Culture of Lower Saxony emphasizes that “Teaching of the Islamic religion offers Muslim students in formal education the opportunity to reflect on their religion within the context of life in a Western society, which is of a Christian nature, and the goal is to develop the ability to evaluate religious rulings.”

According to the ministry, the educational programs are prepared by “specially qualified and university teachers”, and the state receives advice from the advisory council in this context, and all teachers who offer Islamic classes are also Muslims, like their colleagues who offer classes of other religions.

 It is reported that between 5 and 6 million Muslims currently live in Germany, and this makes up approximately 5.5% of the total population of about 82 million people .

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