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Founding of the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology at the HU

Joint Announcement of the Berlin Senate Chancellery: Higher Education and Research and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

On the recommendation of the Academic Senate of the HU, on 29 June 2018, the Board of Trustees of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) voted to establish the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology as a central institute at the HU. All the procedural steps required for establishing the institute have thus been completed. The appointment process for the four professorships that need to be filled can thus begin. “Our aim is to present the list of candidates at the end of the coming winter semester, so that the professorships are filled for the winter semester 2019-20 at the start of classes,” Founding Director Michael Borgolte says.

The establishment of the Advisory Board for the institute will take place in parallel. The latter will be set up by the time the first professors are appointed. The Cooperation Agreement between the three associations – the Islamische Gemeinschaft der schiitischen Gemeinden Deutschlands e.V., the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland e.V. Landesverband Berlin, the Islamische Föderation in Berlin e.V. – the Berlin Senate Chancellery: Higher Education and Research, and the HU was signed on 26-27 June 2018.

The Chair of the Academic Senate, Edelgard Bulmahn:

“For the Humboldt-Universität, this is an important milestone in its further development. For the social challenges of our time, in which, in a secular world, religions have to enter even more strongly into dialogue, scholarly support from an institution of higher learning like the Humboldt-Universität is of great importance.”

The Secretary for Higher Education and Research Steffen Krach:

“With the Institute for Islamic Theology, we want to make an important contribution to integration in our city and to promote the coexistence of religions. Today, we are one step closer to this goal. I would like to thank the Humboldt-Universität for having carried out the complex founding process with the required care and academic competence. At the same time, thanks are owed to all the participants and actors that have provided committed, expert and also critical support to the establishing of the Institute for Islamic Theology. The development of the Institute will benefit from their contributions also in the next phases.”

The President of the HU, Sabine Kunst:

“The Humboldt University will exercise its social responsibility and integrate Islamic theology into its interdisciplinary scholarly network – and indeed it will do so in both Islam’s Sunni and its Shia variants. This is a unique accomplishment in Germany up to now and a major form of enrichment for Berlin.”

The foundation for the Institute is composed of the 2016 White Paper on Islamic Theology and the Cooperation Agreement on the Formation of an Advisory Board, which was elaborated by the university and Islamic associations, with the participation of the Berlin Senate Chancellery: Higher Education and Research, in a joint working group under the direction of the former Founding Commissioner and current Founding Director Michael Borgolte from April 2017 to March 2018.

With regard to the Advisory Board of the Institute, it was determined that, per § 3 sec. 6 of the Cooperation Agreement, the voting members of the Advisory Board and their representatives are appointed by the member of the Senate responsible for higher education. Needless to say, no persons will be appointed who are known in the past, for example, to have taken positions that are incompatible with Germany’s Basic Law and its free and democratic fundamental order.

The Berlin Senate Chancellery: Higher Education and Research and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin would like once again to thank the participating Islamic associations for their contribution and Michael Borgolte for his always competent and reliable work.

The Central Institute will initially be established with four professorships: Islamic Textual Studies (Quran and Hadith), Islamic Religious Education and Practical Theology, Islamic Law: Past and Present, Islamic Philosophy and Fundamental Beliefs. In addition, application has been made to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for two further professorships and two junior research groups.

A commission under the direction of the founding director will elaborate course requirements for the start of classes in winter semester 2019-20. The Committee on Teaching and Studies of the Academic Senate of the HU will be involved in this process.


Hans-Christoph Keller
Press Spokesperson of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Tel.: 030 2093-2677