Africa seeks Turkish Islamic education

Africa seeks Turkish Islamic education

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Africa seeks Turkish Islamic education

Representatives of African countries are seen in this photo. 125 African representatives took part in the Second Summit of African Muslim Religious Leaders. DAILY NEWS photo

Muslim religious authorities from Africa have called on Turkey to take on a greater role in Islamic education in African communities in a joint declaration issued yesterday.

The declaration came after talks in Istanbul and Ankara hosted by the Religious Affairs Directorate and said Turkey should open religious representation offices on all levels in African countries, increase university contingents and scholarships for theology students and support the establishment of schools in Africa similar to Turkey’s religious vocational high-schools.

“Turkey is expected to take a more active role and offer opportunities to meet the urgent need for well raised and educated human resources, particularly in the area of religion, in Africa countries,” the text said.

It underlined an “urgent need” to initiate efforts to share Turkey’s experience in religious education while adapting it to the continent’s conditions.

“In this sense, educational institutions similar to the Imam-Hatip schools in Turkey should be used as an example for schools in Africa and backed with faculties providing higher religious education like [Turkey’s] theology faculties,” it said.

The declaration also encouraged businesspeople, primarily those from Turkey, “who care for the problems of Africa and Muslims” to continue their support for the continent’s Muslim communities under closer coordination.Muslim communities in Africa need radio and television channels to promote Islam and offer religious knowledge through educational and cultural programs, it said.

The declaration also stated the establishment of a permanent secretariat at Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, made up of both Turkish and African officials, is required to ensure the cooperation decisions are properly implemented.

The declaration stressed the quality of Islamic religious education in Africa carried significant importance for “securing peace and stability on the continent and providing a basis for the proper understanding and implementation of Islam.”

Some 125 representatives from 46 African countries took part in the four-day gathering, titled the Second Summit of African Muslim Religious Leaders, which was held with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s support.