New Australian Courses to Teach Moderate Islam

January 24, 2007

Author: Phil Mercer

Source: Voice of America News

Young Muslims are to be taught Australian-friendly Islam under a government plan to stop them being influenced by extremists. An approved curriculum will be introduced at universities in an attempt to counter the teachings of controversial Muslim clerics. Phil Mercer in Sydney reports.

The program announced this week is aimed at challenging firebrand clerics in Australia, who preach a radical version Islam that is peppered with intolerance and hate.

The university courses, which are intended to help train young Australian imams, will look at Islam with an international perspective.

The centers for Islamic excellence will be concentrated at a handful of campuses and are part of an Australian government plan to enhance social harmony and integration. The program will cost about $6 million and the government says courses should start by the end of the year.

The precise details and content of the courses are still being worked out.

Many Australian Muslims feel marginalized from the rest of society and say they have faced more discrimination since the attacks in the United States in September 2001 and the bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali a year later.