The terrorist attack in Vienna has once again shown us the disastrous implications of fanaticism. “A high-quality religious education provided by well-trained experts is an important step to help prevent radicalisation”, emphasises Wolfgang Weirer, Catholic religious education specialist at the University of Graz. Together with his Muslim colleague Mevlida Mešanović, he runs the university programme “Islamic Religious Education Studies in Austrian Society”, which was launched in 2018, and will award the graduates their final certificates online on Friday, 13 November 2020.
“Many people do not realise what an important service Islamic teachers render society, under difficult conditions. I would like to thank these highly committed colleagues for their challenging and skilled work, which is an essential part of integration in our schools,” says Weirer.
Mešanović adds: “Our main task in this training was to prepare educators for teaching Islamic religion at Austrian schools. We wanted to equip them with ideas and concepts which they could use in the classroom, which would also prove valuable to them and their pupils in their everyday lives. In this context, participants also dealt with topics such as preventing radical and fundamentalist tendencies. They are sensitised to recognise them, to expose them and, if necessary, to take preventive actions.
The four-semester study programme was conceived together with the Private University College of Teacher Education Diocese Graz-Seckau and is a mandatory further training course for Islamic teachers in Carinthia and Styria, which aims at ensuring high quality of Islamic religious education. “Essential components of this programme are the age-appropriate communication of faith and a context-sensitive interpretation of the Koran that is compatible with Central European values,” says Weirer. Inter-religious education fosters mutual understanding of different religious traditions, provides an anchor for young people and thus helps avoid social divisions.
The graduation cermenoy will take place on November 13th 2020 at 5 pm online.