About the conference
The growing number of Muslim children presents a special challenge to the European education system. The following are some of the special issues that arise in equal measure for these children: What does being a Muslim mean for me? What does being a citizen mean for me? What does growing up as a Muslim citizen in Europe mean?
Culturally heterogeneous classrooms are still not uncommon in Europe and as such create the risk that children of immigrant backgrounds – Muslim children and youth, in particular – will find themselves excluded or will segregate themselves. Teachers are often overwhelmed and unfamiliar with the children’s specific cultural and religious backgrounds, affording them little guidance.
All types of schools should therefore be included in a discourse on how these signs can be interpreted, and which measures should be undertaken in consequence, in order to ensure a culturally and religiously diverse coexistence among the student body – one that offers respect, recognition, and freedom of personal development to all equally.
The to some degree completely absent emotional relationship with society, hinders identification with European values and principles, meaning that a widening social rift could become a long-term consequence. It is therefore all the more vital to respond to this situation with appropriate proposals and measures, so as to ensure the participation of all European children and youth in shaping the future, and to thereby also provide a solid foundation for social harmony.
For Muslims in Western societies, the crucial question is what it means to be Muslim and an European citizen at the same time.
How can an active and conscious participation in social processes be made possible for Muslims, and what might an appropriate education project look like in this realm, that prepares young people for their civil responsibilities and educates them about their rights and obligations?
The conference on “Citizenship Education and Islam”, which will be held in Tirana, Albania between 01-03 November 2013, seeks to engage renowned international scholars in discussion on questions that are of great significance to social harmony in Europe:
· What are the available opportunities for the individual, authentic, participation of Muslims in Europe?
· How does Islam stand in respect to democratic values such as respect, tolerance, and freedom?
· What role does citizenship play in a democratic system?
· What is the significance of identity and belonging?
· Wherein lie the causes for current problem areas and conflicts?
· What is the impact of education on the integration of young people?
· How can civic education improve the sense of belonging?
· How can Islamic and democratic values be taught to schools and mosques as part of a holistic approach?