Religious Education for Minorities: Perspectives from Islamic Education in Finnish Schools
Inkeri Rissanen [+]
University of Tampere, Finland
In many European countries religious education in school, regardless of its organizational model, is commonly given two important tasks: supporting students’ identity development and educating for tolerance. This is the case also in Finland, where there is a general consensus that religious education should contribute to social cohesion, but at the same time different opinions on what approach to RE would most likely meet this aim. However, challenges related to identity and tolerance are distinct for the majority and minorities in a society, and developing successful and legitimate forms of religious education requires paying attention to these particular challenges. This article discusses issues related to organizing legitimate and successful forms of religious education in European contexts by concentrating on minority perspective and drawing from the results of a study about Islamic education in Finnish schools. First, contemporary European ideals of religious education as well as identity negotiations and educational needs of Muslim students are explored. After that, the Finnish approach to religious education and observations on Finnish Islamic religious education are presented and implications for the future development of religious education discussed.