Berlin, Nov 22 : In a bid to reduce foreign influence on it's Islamic religious leaders, the German government has launched a pilot project to educate imams on its soil.
German based DW (Deutsche Welle) reported on Thursday that the pilot project includes several measures, such as the establishment of a new educational association to supervise the training of imams. An Islamic college will also be set up at University of Osnabrueck to offer religious courses for community work in the German context.
Germany's Islamic associations and individuals are to become members of the newly established umbrella association.
Green Party parliamentarian Filiz Polat told newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that it was precisely the strong foreign influence that pushed the German government to take the bold step.
Under the project, an extra budget of 400,000 euros (442,560 US dollars) will also be given to the University of Osnabrueck.
The project is expected to "function as a model" and might later be put into practice in all federal states.
The new educational association has convened its first meeting, which was attended by members of various Islamic organisations, a spokesperson for the University of Osnabrueck told Xinhua.
The spokesperson said the Islamic college will also provide "excellent opportunities to continue education" and "second training phase" for the graduates of the study of Islamic theology.
Statistics show that Germany has nearly 4.5 million Muslims, and around three million are of Turkish origin.
Earlier in 2010, the country had introduced a similar kind of teaching programme. (UNI)