Austrian Study Claims Islamic School Teachers Significantly Underqualified

395410 05: A student reads a textbook at the Islamic religious school, Tajdal Quran madrassa, October 5, 2001 in Quetta, Pakistan. Like most Islamic school students in Pakistan they memorize the Qu-ran (Koran) but they don''t understand much of the contents of the Koran since it is in Arabic which …
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

A new study from the University of Graz has claimed that less than a quarter of Islamic teachers in the south of the country have the same level of teaching qualifications as their Austrian counterparts.

The university study interviewed 64 of the 74 Islamic teachers in the Austrian regions of Styria and Carinthia and found many of the teachers lacked teaching qualifications altogether, Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.

Wolfgang Weirer, who directed the study, said “Just under a quarter have teacher training according to Austrian standards,” and that a third of all the teachers had studied at universities in a foreign country.

Many others, the study noted, had no university degree, and some had not attended university at all.

The Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGÖ) said that they agree with Graz City Councilor Kurt Hohensinner who has proposed the creation of a body to regulate Islamic teaching in the region, as similar bodies already exist in Vienna and Innsbruck.

Styrian Specialist Inspector for Islamic Religious Education Esad Memic commented on the issue, saying: “We are opposed to homeschooled imams and educators teaching in backyards.”

As a result of the study, the University of Graz has created a training programme for teachers of Islam, in which participation is mandatory.

The study comes just after it was revealed that Austrian students from migrant backgrounds, many of whom are Muslim migrants, are well below the OECD education standard, according to the latest PISA study published earlier this week.

Only 47 per cent of foreign-background students have basic knowledge in the three areas tested, compared to 57 per cent in Germany and 82 per cent in Canada.

Islamic schools in Austria have also been accused of creating “parallel societies”, according to a study carried out by Ednan Aslan, a Turkish-born Austrian professor at Vienna University.

“Parents are sending their kids to establishments that ensure they are in a Muslim setting and learn a few suras [chapters from the Qu’ran],” Aslan said.

“But they are unaware that they are shutting them off from a multicultural society.”

At least one Islamic kindergarten has also been linked to radical Islamic extremism, after it emerged that a Chechen teen girl who tried to join the Islamic State had worked as a helper at a kindergarten.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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