Dispatch of Turkish Imams to Austria
Farewell in Ankara
Ankara, 10 March 2010 - On 8-9 March, the Austrian Embassy in Ankara organized for the first time in Turkey a training course for Turkish religious envoys to be dispatched to Austria. This is a joint event organized with the Turkish office for religious affairs („Diyanet“). Since November 2008, so-called „Country training courses for Turkish religious envoys" have been organized once a year for Imams shortly after their arrival in Austria, to acquaint them with the country, the people, and the culture of Austria, the political system, as well as with issues regarding the relationship between state, society, and religion in Austria and Europe. The courses are to enable the religious envoys to work as „integration pilots“ for their respective communities, so these also participate in excursions to social and consulting institutions.
During their two-day training in Ankara, the 11 Imams, who are routinely sent to Austria for five years, also received an introduction to the Austrian education system, public administration, and religious denominations in Austria. The lecturers were delivered by Dr. Elisabeth Dörler (envoy of the Feldkirch diocese on Islam) and Mrs. Cansel Demirdelen (Vienna intervention office against violence in the family)..
Apart from a completed higher education, the Imams sent by the Turkish office for religious affairs must also have good knowledge of the German language, a democratic basic attitude, and the willingness to enter a dialogue with other cultures.
After the event, the 11 Imams were officially seen off by Ambassador Heidemaria Gürer at a reception in the Austrian Residence. The reception was also attended by the responsible department director of the Turkish office for religious affairs, Ali Dere.