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Swedish state to train imams
by Paul O'Mahony
The Swedish government is to set up an inquiry to look into the possibility of using state funds to provide training programmes for imams.
Muslim religious representatives should be able to benefit from Swedish tax kronor in the same way as Christian priests and ministers, according to Minster for Higher Education and Research Lars Leijonborg.
The former Liberal Party leader also believes that the move will help stem the development of radical Islam in Sweden.
"It has been suggested that radical Muslims from Saudi Arabia are offering to provide imams for free, and a lack of money means that moderate Muslims who want to set up a mosque don't have any alternatives," Leijonborg told Svenska Dagbladet.
Concrete proposals regarding the structure and composition of a training course for imams would only be put forward following close consultation with Muslims in Sweden, he said. The minister added that the government had already begun discussions with the newly formed Ibn Rushd study foundation.
"My opinion is that we should help Muslims by providing a Swedish training course for imams, or at least supplementary studies in Swedish language and society."
Paul O'Mahony (firstname.lastname@example.org/08 656 6513)
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