Reference : Pour une formation des imams en Belgique. Points de référence en Belgique et en Europe
Reports : External report
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Pour une formation des imams en Belgique. Points de référence en Belgique et en Europe
[nl] Naar een opleiding voor imams in België. Referentiepunten in België en Europa
Husson, Jean-François mailto [Centre Interuniversitaire de Formation Permanente > Observatoire des Relations Administratives entre les Cultes, la Laïcité organisée et l'Etat > > >]
Dury, Julie mailto [Centre Interuniversitaire de Formation Permanente > Observatoire des Relations Administratives entre les Cultes, la Laïcité organisée et l'Etat > > >]
Fondation Roi Baudouin
Islam et Musulmans en Belgique
[en] islam ; imams ; training ; Belgium ; Church-State relations ; integration
[en] Within the framework of considérations regarding the training of imams in Belgium, the King Baudouin Foundation sought to produce a report portraying the situation concerning organised secularism and religions in the country. The main aim of such a report was to outline the training of both ministers of recognised religions and secular delegates. In a second phase, a similar approach was taken to describe the situation in a few other European countries.
Belgium has no legal provisions or regulations that are recognised as such by the state and impose minimum requirements on the training of religious ministers or secular delegates. Consequently, it is the internal rules laid down by the various religions themselves that define such training requirements. However, some training of this type is organised as part of recognised, subsidised higher education and therefore leads to the conferral of a legally recognised title.
Similar situations apply in some other countries. The present study discusses the situation in France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany and Sweden. In all these countries, it is entirely up to the respective religions themselves to stipulate their internal training requirements. However, as in Belgium, such mandatory training may be organised within the framework of higher education that is financed and/or organised by the state and, if need be, incorporated in a bachelor's or master's degree. One significant observation is that in the countries in question combinations of academic and religious requirements apply in various instances, indeed for a relatively large number of religions (at least in the Netherlands and Great Britain).
The experience gained in France, the Netherlands and Great Britain also highlights how divided Muslim communities are with respect to the training requirements applying to imams. The establishment of internal standards applying solely within Islam would appear to constitute a first, essential step towards the creation of suitable training that applies to adherents of all the various 'trends' within this particular religious community. In this connection, the Executive of Belgian Muslims could play a crucial role. Furthermore, in Belgium the salaries of religious ministers and secular delegates are paid by the federal government, in line with its recognition of the religions in question, based on criteria that include their 'service to society'.
The question arising next concerns the academic qualification to be awarded at the end of such training. No doubt it would make sense to impose at least the requirement equivalent to that expected by the ministers of other religions. Experience gained abroad also underscores the value of calling upon the expertise and skills already on offer at higher education institutions, teaching universities and research establishments when putting together a training course based on a progressive growth model, developing ideas for the short, medium and long term.
If training for imams is offered as an option in higher or university education, as a community-related subject, Belgium's various Communities will have to be invited, as appropriate, to join in the associated thought process. Similarly, the constitutionality of making the payment of a religious minister's salary dependent on their having undergone a specific training course will need to be addressed. In this connection, we refer you to the work being done by the committee recently set up by Minister Onkelinx, which is due to publish a report some time in 2006.
Finally, the social role played by imams should not be ignored. In this respect, any training project will also have to take on board considerations such as how to meet short-term needs (especially with regard to languages and knowledge of the society in question, particularly compared with serving imams) and subsequent developments (e.g. taking account of young Muslims born in the respective country, most of whom will have the corresponding nationality).
Fondation Roi Baudouin
Islam et Musulmans en Belgique
Fondation Roi Baudouin
Researchers ; Professionals ; General public
Afin d'éclairer la question de la formation des imams en Belgique, ce rapport de recherche présente la situation dans les autres cultes reconnus en Belgique ainsi que les initiatives déployées afin de former les imams dans plusieurs autres pays européens (France, Pays-Bas, Angleterre, Allemagne, Suède). Des orientations générales sont ensuite proposées.

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