In Paris, Strasbourg, the proposed training imams are not full

At the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic Institute of Paris.

Officially, the government continues to support the training undertaken in recent years to raise awareness of law, secularism and religious history frames Muslims worship. "There is no question of stopping the financial effort" government assures us is the Ministry of the Interior, in charge of worship. The reality is more mixed.

History, training established in 2008 at the Catholic Institute of Paris to give future imams and Muslim association leaders a better understanding of the relationship between state and religions, is about to be "resized". Facing recruitment difficulties due to both the lack of opportunities, the vagueness of the objectives of this university (DU) and the lack of mobilization of several Muslim associations in order to register candidates, the curriculum was breathless over the years, leading to the departure of some teachers, as a sociologist of religion Bobineau Olivier, one of the architects of the project in conjunction with the office of worship, in 2007.


Result: the number of students and graduates has been declining since 2008, when the first promotion. Of the 60 graduates since then, 17 have been the first year, 22 in 2009, 12 in 2010 and only 9 in 2011, even though the training and related subsidies, € 120 000 was made for promotions 40 people. Fourteen people have registered this year, not all of which will lead the course to completion. Next year, the Catholic Institute discussion on "twenty students" and could receive a grant for this new scheme.

Philippe Bordeyne, rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, said that the training had hitherto largely open to Muslims "should be extended and aim for a professional qualification." A focus on "mediation and interfaith" should be introduced to allow better opportunities. The Catholic Institute hopes to attract especially leaders of other faiths, including Catholic priests from Africa and Asia and Orthodox priests.


At the University of Strasbourg, where a university degree, also based on law, institutions, religious plurality, sociology, history of religions in France and Europe, was opened in September 2011, recruitment is also limited. For this first class, 12 students are enrolled, worship leaders or cultural associations, mainly Muslims.

One of the initiators of this project at the University of Strasbourg, Francis Messner, insists: "A pool of candidates exists. But we must diversify DU to other religions to avoid self-segregation. We can even look at this term training of local cadres in charge of worship. " The government should renew the grant of EUR 22 500, obtained at the last entry.

The development challenges faced by the limited training and their impact on the public a priori specified contrasts with the political rhetoric about the need to train religious leaders in the French context, and observed the real needs on the ground, particularly in terms of chaplains Imams and the fact of French secularism.

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