Islamic Education and the Public Sphere

Florian Pohl

Islamic Education and the Public Sphere

Today's Pesantren in Indonesia

2009,  Jugend – Religion – Unterricht,  Band 12,  168  pages,  E-Book (PDF),  15,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-6929-7

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How does Islamic education prepare students for participation in the public life of democratic and multicultural societies? This question runs counter to what the current public debate about Islamic education would seem to suggest. Rather than pondering the role Islamic schools may play in radicalizing Muslim youth, Florian Pohl presents instances in which Islamic educational institutions actively further progressive politics and strengthen the public sphere of contemporary Indonesian society through educational programs that address issues such as anti-violence, interfaith and interethnic tolerance, pluralism, human rights, gender equality, democracy, and political and social justice.

Grounded in ethnographic fieldwork, this study reveals how large the scope of action and thought is for these Islamic schools. This is a critical impulse for the evaluation of Islamic schools that also functions as encouragement for those in Islamic educational institutions to find identity not in exclusion but in contact with and respect for others. Pohl’s book offers a productive source of friction for current debates in the international context over the question of how to harness religion’s potential in the educational field in such a way that the dangers of exclusivism and intolerance can be resisted and competencies for tolerance and dialogue can be strengthened.