Cambridge hosts training session for British Muslims
University of Cambridge collaborate with
Egyptian students to offer training session to teach them about pastoral
care, interfaith working and community leadership
The first course launched by Al-Azhar University in collaboration with the University of Cambridge has come to an end.
Al-Azhar University in Cairo offered British Muslims studying at the
Prince Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies in Cambridge the chance to
attend its Imam training. The course was especially designed for young
British Muslims studying in Darul Ulooms (Islamic seminaries) which
often produce future Imams and Muslim chaplains.
The 15 week programme hoped to provide students with a challenging
series of seminars, lectures and personal study assignments that will
help them with potential roles as leaders in their faith communities.
During the course, students spent time at both Cambridge and Al-Azhar
and met with representatives from community organisations of different
faiths to learn about pastoral care, interfaith working and community
Beth Caldwell, a British Council English teacher, said, "Our students
are now engaging with the world – the real and the virtual – on a level
which would have been impossible with their level of English just a
short time ago.”
Al-Azhar student Alaa Eddin Ibrahim is using his English to speak to
others via social networking. He said, "Al Azhar graduates need to have
the opportunity to interact with the world outside of Egypt, to show the
world, particularly the West, the right image of Islam.”
This course marks just one of the ways in which Al-Azhar has a
blossoming relationship with British universities. In 2008 Al-Azhar set
up an English Training Centre which has opened the door to a whole host
of opportunities in non-Muslim countries.
Professor Yasir Suleiman, Director of the Centre of Islamic Studies
at Cambridge, spoke enthusiastically of the international achievements
of the course.
"Inter-cultural, inter-faith and intra-faith discussions, debates and
collaborations cannot be but useful in demystifying how people imagine
themselves and how they can pursue together integrative goals rather
than just pursuing instrumental objectives.”
He continued, "Azhar’s collaboration with Cambridge as a world
leading university… is important in dispelling the myths of unavoidable
conflict that often fill the dark recesses of the bigotted mind.’
A third year Theology student at Cambridge said, "I would like to
tell the British about true Islam, because there are misconceptions and
our duty is to correct them. True Muslims do not act like they are doing
in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
With valuable links between scholarly Islamic centres in the Middle
East and universities in Britain it is realistic to expect a series of
programmes that breed co-operation, tolerance and excellent learning
opportunities for both sets of students in the near future.
Source : www.varsity.co.uk