Frankfurt University is the most recent German college to launch an Islamic studies program. But it’s already under fire for working closely with Turkey’s state religion authority….
Mehmet Emin KÃ¶ktas and two professors of Protestant theology have been working on the curriculum for two years. KÃ¶ktas, a Turk, is able to teach in Frankfurt thanks to an agreement signed between the university and the Turkish Presidium for Religious Affairs (Diyanet).
Criticism followed public announcement of the cooperation, alleging Turkey meant to use the new degree program to influence the training of Islamic scholars in Germany. But its supporters vehemently deny the Turkish state plays any role in the project.
Diyanet, however, is a state agency, and it represents Sunni Islam as taught in secular Turkey, a modern, non-fundamentalist form of Islam — but that is strictly controlled by the government.
But the dean of the university’s Protestant theology department, Stefan Alkier, can’t understand the criticism of the cooperation with Diyanet. On the contrary, he’s pleased that the deal to fund the position brought a renowned Islamic scholar to his faculty.
“We could have carried out the course of studies with our own resources, but it’s much more interesting for students that we have Muslim professors,” Alkier said. He stressed that Diyanet has no direct influence on who is appointed to the position.
Hmmm. It seems that American universities aren’t the only ones susceptible to the lure of Islamic money.