Leuven University to train Belgium’s first home-grown imams

Leuven University will be the first Flemish seat of learning to contribute to a course to train imams in Belgium.  The course will include two years of general studies at Leuven University followed by a further four years of specialised theological training.

Imams who successfully complete the course will receive recognition and will be able to count on remuneration from the Belgian state.  The Belgian authorities are keen to reduce foreign influence in our mosques.  

The course in Leuven starts in February.  Leuven is working together with the not-for-profit organisation AFOR, the Academy For Islamic Studies that has been set up in co-operation with Belgium’s Moslem executive, the faith’s official interlocutor with the Belgian authorities.  AFOR will be responsible for theological studies including study of the holy book, the Koran.

First students will tackle general studies at Leuven including law, political sciences, psychology of religion and sociology, Arab philosophy, ethics and history of the Middle East. Francophones will be able to take courses at the UCL.

It was the Belgian parliamentary commission of enquiry set up following the Brussels attacks that recommended imams should be trained in Belgium.  “It’s important that we know what they are studying” Belgian justice minister Geens said.