Algerian government is launching an effort to train a new
generation of imams in order to confront and challenge extremist
ideology targeted at young people.
The mosque "is a social institution that should operate in harmony
with other institutions", Algerian Religious Affairs Minister
Bouabdellah Ghlamallah said on Thursday (December 23rd) before
The minister stressed that "major efforts were made in
order to bring the mosque back to society".
Ghlamallah noted that the process would require a major training
effort, adding that his ministry dispatched 50 imams to al-Azhar
this year to do their master's and doctoral dissertations.
in addition to organising regular training courses supervised by
university professors for imams across all wilayas. The courses
address the different fiqh and social issues facing society.
He confirmed that the efforts were
made to "secure" mosques against this dogma, adding that "the
proponents and promoters of this ideology were isolated at
universities and at some roads around mosques".
The religious affairs ministry started reviewing training
programmes last April with Islamic law professors and the new
system is scheduled to be implemented next year.
pointed to six Islamic institutes on the national level where
about 1,200 student imams are studying.
Ghlamallah pointed out that the national efforts in this regard
"have enabled us to secure the part that is actually recorded of
this ideology. In this way, the imams of Algerian mosques have now
self-immunity against this ideology."
The minister added that
"adhering to the national religious marji'ya and defending it has
become one of the criteria for employment as imam".
The minister said that Algerian mosques were now facing a
different type of challenge, mainly related to the development of
scientific and educational levels of imams, as well as the nature
of mosques' message.
He said that the ministry was considering appointment of a new generation of imams to attend to the affairs
of mosques and to convey the correct religious message.
In addition, those who apply to be imams will have to meet a
number of new requirements, including a baccalaureate certificate,
success in competition and then training. The ministry abandoned
the old appointment-based system, which required imams to have
nine years of education and to memorize the Holy Qur'an.
The new imam education requirements were announced in conjunction
with increased oversight of the country's 15,000 mosques. The goal
is to prevent a return to extremist ideology that contributed to
the violence of the Black Decade.