The Institute for Promoting Training in the Islamic Faith started on Monday, with the first meeting of its management board. This is reported on Tuesday by La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure. The objective is to develop, ultimately, a Belgian Islamic faith. The is aim is to fill the existing vacuum in terms of training within current Muslim frameworks.
The purpose of the institute is to offer theological training to imams, imam khatibs or even professors of the Islamic religion. The President of the Muslim Executive, Salah Echallaoui, explained, “The idea is also to put in place, in the short to medium term, academic training which does not exist in the French Community.” His comments came at the official launch of the Institute for Promoting Training in the Islamic Faith, in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. He stressed the necessity to maintain the separation between religion and the state, in the creation of such an institute.
This is an opinion shared by the Minister for Higher Education, Jean-Claude Marcourt (PS), who stated that the institute would respect this difficult balance. The minister also added that the institute is not only intended for imams but should be seen as within the broader spectrum of the Muslim faith. Minister Marcourt commented, “For some considerable time, we have led a period of reflection with the Muslims of Belgium to see how we can respond to their expectations.”
The institute will be financed by €400,000 per year. The next meeting of its management board is anticipated for December. The members of the management board must reach agreement upon the profile and the name of the institute’s director, but also upon the identity of the eight members making up the future Scientific Committee.
The inaugeration of the institute was originally planned for the beginning of the 2017 academic year, but last April the Muslim Executive of Belgium (“EMB”) had hindered the process.