Direkt zum InhaltDirekt zur SucheDirekt zur Navigation
▼ Zielgruppen ▼

Press Portal

Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology

The Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin issue the following joint statement

Given the great public interest in the establishment of the Institute for Islamic Theology (BIT) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and the university hereby provide the following information about the current status of developments concerning the institute.

They would also like to take this opportunity to correct reports in the media about the composition and the responsibilities of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Islamic Theology. They explicitly emphasize that the establishment and operation of a scholarly institute at a German university has happened and will continue to happen according to proven standards that ensure that the preservation of the autonomy of the university and the freedom of science guaranteed by the Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

What is the current status of the Institute for Islamic Theology?

The Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology will commence operations in winter semester 2019/20. It will become thereby the sixth institute of this kind in Germany. The BIT emphasizes a theology of diversity and will in particular give due consideration to Sunni and Shia teachings in comparison. The institute pursues its scholarly objectives in close cooperation with Christian theologians as well as other religion-related courses of study at HU and in the Berlin research landscape as a whole.

The BIT emphasizes a theology of diversity and will in particular give due consideration to Sunni and Shia teachings in comparison. The institute pursues its scholarly objectives in close cooperation with Christian theologians as well as other religion-related courses of study at HU and in the Berlin research landscape as a whole.

In light of Berlin’s approximately 300,000 Muslim residents, an equally important task of the BIT is the training of young theologians, who, on the basis of rational penetration into Islamic articles of faith, prepare for teaching in schools, as well as for work in mosques, civil society and welfare services. The Islamic profession of faith is not a requirement for students of the BIT.

The bachelor’s programme at the Institute for Islamic Theology is currently in great demand, as is demonstrated by the enormous interest in the course offerings. By the beginning of September, there were around 350 applications to the programme (the application deadline was 31 August 2019). A bachelor’s programme with a teacher-training option is in process of planning in winter semester 2020/21.

Three of the six professorships planned for the institute have already gone through the appointment process and the appointments have been confirmed by the advisory board. Two further appointment recommendations have been presented to the advisory board for discussion, and another recommendation will be presented to it in the near future. The candidates involved are all internationally eminent and renowned scholars who have been selected by the appointment commissions of the university according to strictly scholarly criteria in accordance with the Berlin Higher Education Act.

The selected professors are experts in areas of Islamic theology, for example, the history of Islamic law or textual analysis. You can find more information about the professorships here. Instruction will begin in the coming winter semester, and the university will appoint guest professors and instructors if necessary, that is, if the appointment procedures have not been completed by this point in time.

How is the advisory board composed?

The advisory board is composed of five voting members. These include a theologically qualified representative of the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland e.V. – Landesverband Berlin, the Islamische Gemeinschaft der schiitischen Gemeinden Deutschland e.V. and the Islamische Föderation in Berlin e.V. The remaining two members are persons of Islamic faith who fulfil the conditions of employment for a university instructor in Islamic theology or a related field. The five members are currently:

  • Lydia Nofal, Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland e. V. – Landesverband Berlin
  • Dr. Mohammad Djavad Mohagheghi, Islamische Gemeinschaft der schiitischen Gemeinden Deutschlands e. V.
  • Mustafa Özdemir, Islamische Föderation in Berlin e. V.
  • Professor Dr. Schirin Amir-Moazami, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Professor Dr. Jamal Malik, University of Erfurt

All members of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Islamic Theology are appointed by the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research following a review by the security agencies of the federal government, presuming that this review does not result in any objections to their appointment. This procedure is also required by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which is funding the institute with more than five million Euros.

Furthermore, two representatives of Humboldt-Universität – with right of petition and an advisory voice – have been appointed to the advisory board:

  • Professor Dr. Eva Inés Obergfell, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the HU
  • Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Huber, Honorary Professor at the HU, former Bishop of Berlin

Who selects the members of the advisory board?

Each of the three Islamic associations has the right to propose a representative; in addition, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin proposes, in consultation with the three Islamic associations, the two independent members of the advisory board. The appointment of the advisory board members, however, is incumbent on the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research. This occurs only when the review by the security agencies of the federal government has resulted in no objections. An altered evaluation by the security agencies would also result in a renewed review of the advisory board.

It should be self-understood that no person may belong to the advisory board who is known, for example, to have taken positions that are incompatible with the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany and its free and democratic basic order, or who has made anti-Semitic statements or questioned Israel’s right to exist.

How does the advisory board participate in the process of appointing professors?

In appointment recommendations for professors in all fields and disciplines, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is guided exclusively by the best scientific qualifications of the applicants. This has, of course, also been the case with the appointment of professorss at the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology. The advisory board is consulted only at the conclusion of an appointment procedure conducted according to strictly scholarly criteria. For the six professorships at the institute, a two-thirds majority of the advisory board must approve each appointment.

The advisory board can refuse approval of a professorship only on religious grounds and must justify this refusal with a theological report. This is not a special rule for Islamic theology, but also exists in principle for other faith-based theologies at German universities, for example, through state-church law contracts for the Catholic and Protestant Churches. Since Islam, in contrast to Christianity, does not have churches, the advisory board functions here in place of a church institution.

Here is a sequential overview of an appointment procedure at the Institute for Islamic Theology

An appointment commission consisting of about 20 members, including experts from other universities, reviews the submitted applications and the presentation of the candidates and subsequently prepares a list of the best applicants, who are recommended for the appointment and ranked in order.

Then there is a resolution by the faculty council of the responsible faculty of HU regarding the recommended appointment, followed by a statement from the Academic Senate of Humboldt-Universität.

The recommended appointment is then communicated to the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research, where there is a review of the formal requirements. If these formal requirements are fulfilled, the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research obtains the approval of the advisory board.

Then the appointment can be made by the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research. There are negotiations between the HU and the candidate, and if they reach an agreement then finally the candidate accepts the appointment for the professorship.

Can the advisory board be expanded?

The Cooperation Agreement between the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the three Islamic associations expressly stipulates that an evaluation of the agreement goals should be conducted after three years. The inclusion of additional associations in the advisory board is possible at this time.

Selection of associations

The selection of associations was made on the basis of a benchmark paper on Islamic Theology from 2016 as well as a cooperation agreement to establish an advisory board that was worked out between the supporting university and Islamic associations with the assistance of the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and in a joint task force headed by the previous start-up representative and current director Professor Michael Borgolte from April 2017 to March 2018. As a result of the negotiations for the cooperation agreement, three of the originally planned five associations became members of the advisory board.

Further information about the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology

Website of the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology 

Press Contacts

Hans-Christoph Keller

Press Spokesperson
Head of Communication and Media
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Phone: 030 2093-2677
hans-christoph.keller@hu-berlin.de

Matthias Kuder

Press Spokesperson for Higher Education and Research
The Governing Mayor of Berlin
Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research

Phone: 030 9026-5010
matthias.kuder@wissenschaft.berlin.de

Werbung