By Tamer Abul-Ainain
GENEVA, April 22 (KUNA) -- The Swiss Islamic Shura Council has launched the first Islamic research center in the European nation; "The Islamic Sciences Institute."
Abdullah Nicholas Blancho, board member of the newly-established Islamic institute, told KUNA the establishment would offer Islamic religious studies in Deutsche, noting its significance due to lack of a sufficient number of qualified academic Islamic figures capable of lecturing about Islam, correctly, in the European country.
The institute board of trustees groups scholars from various Islamic states, tasked with preparing the curricula "on sound academic bases as adopted by accredited Islamic institutes in the Islamic nations."
Muslims and non-Muslims are welcomed to be enrolled to study the Holy Book, Sunnah and Hadith at the new center.
Elaborating, Blancho pointed out the need for Swiss Muslims, well educated about their religion and doctrine, to be able to master convincing and sensible arguments, when faced with criticisms against Islam.
Failure to respond to critical arguments often gives the wrong impression that "Islam is incapable to address contemporary issues," while the issue lies in shallow knowledge by some Muslims in such situations, he explained to KUNA.
Blancho stressed the necessity to promote the moderate values and principles of Islam that essentially call for tolerance.
The Shura Council was founded in 2009 by a group of Swiss Muslims, including academic figures. The Muslim community in Switzerland is estimated at 450,000, mostly original natives of Turkey and Balkan countries.
The council has stood in face of campaigns to ban the Islamic veil at schools and anti-Islamic actions by hard-line right-wing political parties and activists. (end)