The idea of proposing the establishment of a “Center for Studies, Research and Training on Italian Islam” is the culmination of many years of experience of research and training on Italian, European and international Islam, carried out within the Fi.S.P.A. Department.
Already in the academic year 2012/2013 the first edition of the first level Master in European Islam Studies was carried out, through a concerted planning with the main Muslim organizations in Italy, which were also involved in the training process, together with other actors of the civil institutions. This training proposal has been proposed in two other editions, to be then reformulated, as part of the interuniversity project “PriMED, Prevention and Interaction in the Trans-Mediterranean Space” (http://primed-miur.it), as a first level Master in “Studies on Islam in Europe. Knowledge and practices for religious and intercultural mediation”, specifically addressed to leaders and staff of Muslim communities and civil society associations whose members come from O.C.I. (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) countries. The PriMED project, financed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, Directorate General for Students, Development and Internationalization of Higher Education, through the Call for Proposals for Islamic Cooperation “Establishment of Italian university networks in implementation of cooperation agreements between Italian universities and those of countries belonging to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation”, provides for the involvement of a network of twelve Italian universities and ten universities from O.C.I. countries. This partnership has made it possible to offer an original and innovative training course in the national and international panorama. The uniqueness of the Italian context is also linked to the protagonism of the Ministry of Education, University and Research as promoter and guarantor of training, thus releasing the issue of European and Italian Islam from a connotation mainly linked to the policies of security and control.
The University of Padua is also involved as promoter and scientific seat of another training offer, in partnership with the University of Eastern Piedmont (administrative seat): the Master in Religions, Politics and Citizenship, now in its third edition, the first Italian course offered in English and Arabic. In recent years, the Master has seen the participation of students from all over the world, in addition to Italy, and in particular from countries in the Maghreb area and North and Central Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan), the Middle East (Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) and the Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar).
A third area of training in which the University of Padua has been involved concerns community leaders and Muslim ministers of religion. The first experience was gained as part of the activities of the Inter-University Center International Forum Democracy & Religions F.I.D.R. (https://irc-fidr.it), with the course “New religious presences in Italy. A path of integration”, funded by the Ministry of Interior, Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration, reproposed in three editions from 2010 to 2012, and aimed at civic-political training of leaders of religious communities in Italy and the development of new perspectives of dialogue between Muslim communities and national and international institutions and work on critical issues affecting the Italian Islam, including the recognition and training of ministers of religion. More recently, within the activities of the PriMED Project, the Fi.S.P.P.A. Department has proposed, conceived and realized the first “Course of Advanced Training for Imams and Murshidat”, aimed at training religious operators able to act as guides of religious communities and as facilitators and mediators in the relationships between believers and in the space of social organizations, institutional bodies and private and public agencies providing services (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.).
Finally, the group of proposing researchers is still engaged in an ambitious Erasmus+ project, “Arriver en Europe, partir d’Europe: trajectoires marocaines et turques”, which involves five European and international universities (Belgium, Italy, France, Morocco and Turkey), in order to support the research work and, consequently, to qualify and enrich the teaching, on the theme on the presence of the so-called second and third generation population of migration from, in particular, Morocco and Turkey, with particular attention to issues of identity construction, also in relation to religious affiliation.
The “Study, Research and Training Center on Italian Islam” is situated in continuity with the experimental training experiences carried out at the University of Padua, in particular within the PriMED project, research-action on the evolution and changes in the Italian religious and social landscape in relation to the Muslim presence and, in particular, the training needs of Muslim communities and institutions that operate daily in contexts characterized by cultural and religious plurality.
The Study Center also aims at proposing training and didactic paths that respond to these implicit and explicit demands, while at the same time reflecting on the very practices implemented and their repercussions in the religious, social and institutional field.
in the religious, social and institutional field. To this end, of great importance will be the commitment to be reserved to the promotion of a fruitful and active collaboration with the network of partners, in particular with the universities already adhering to the PriMED and Erasmus+ Project networks, but also with national and local institutions and religious bodies.
One of the activities of the Study and Research Center will also be the editing of high-profile scientific editorial proposals at national and international level, aimed at fostering knowledge about critical issues, changes and future prospects in the development of Italian and European Islam.
Finally, the aim of the Study Center is to elaborate a project for the foundation of an inter-institutional consortium dedicated to these themes which, going beyond the logic of planning and experimentation, could allow the structural and institutional takeover of a key theme such as the training of Muslim ministers of religion, through the active involvement of state institutions, universities and the same social actors involved, as is happening in many European countries.
The principles that inspire the design and activities of the Study Center can be summarized as follows:
- Intercultural and interdisciplinary approach
- Collaborative and inter-institutional planning
- Reflectivity and enhancement of practices and expertise
The Study Centre intends to consolidate and widen the connections with the network of Italian and foreign Universities with which a fruitful collaboration has already been established, in particular with the Universities adhering to the Project “PriMED, Prevention and Interaction in the Trans-Mediterranean Space” and Erasmus+ “Arriver en Europe, partir d’Europe: trajectoires marocaines et turques”.
Network “PriMED, Prevention and Interaction in the Trans-Mediterranean Space”:.
University of Eastern Piedmont
University of Insubria Varese-Como
University of Milan-Bicocca
University of Milan
Catholic University of Sacred Heart
University of Padua
University of Ferrara
University of Bari “Aldo Moro”.
LUM “Jean Monnet” University
University of Rome Three
University of Turin
LINK Campus University
Cairo University (Egypt)
Mohammed V University of Rabat (Morocco)
University of Tunis-Carthage (Tunisia)
International University of Rabat (Morocco)
Hassan II University of Casablanca (Morocco)
Sultan Moulay Slimane University of Beni Mellal (Morocco)
Saint Joseph University of Beirut (Libano)
Adam Barka University of Abeche (Ciad)
University Ziane Achour of Djelfa (Algeria)
Abdou Moumouni University of Niamey (Niger)
Erasmus+ network “Arriver en Europe, partir d’Europe: trajectoires marocaines et turques” :
Saint-Louis University of Brussels (Belgium)
Institute of Research for Development (France)
International University of Rabat (Morocco)
Necmettin Erbakan Üniversitesi (Turkey)