The Netherlands' only imam training to be phased out
Friday 08 February 2013
The Inholland college group is to stop offering professional training to become an Islamic religious leader or imam, Trouw reports on Friday.
The course is being stopped as part of budget cuts. 'It is one of our most expensive courses,' Doekle Terpstra, head of the hbo college, told Trouw.
'The 150 students need a relatively large amount of supervision. In addition, you have to deal with students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds,' Terpstra said.
Current students will be allowed to complete their course. The degree subject has been partly subsidised by the government since it was set up in 2006 in an effort to create a pool of integrated Islamic leaders.
A spokesman for a special committee linking Muslim and government organisations said there is now a risk the Netherlands will lose its grip on its mosques. 'Dutch Muslims want their own imams,' spokesman Yassin Elforkani told the paper.
'Some 30% to 40% of mosques are without their own imam. Many youngsters are listening to sermons from foreign spiritual leaders... there is now a real chance that Morocco or Saudi Arabia will get involved.'
Amsterdam's VU university offers a masters degree to become an Islamic spiritual leader.