The imam in Flanders : a research note
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Faculty of Arts. Philosophy
Islam and christian-muslim relations. - Birmingham
, p. 471-487
University of Antwerp
This paper presents the results of an exploratory, mixed-method study on imams in Flanders. The research question was mainly who are they?, in an attempt to draw the first picture of their socio-demographic background, ethnicity, functions, and expectations with respect to their position in Flanders, or in Belgium more broadly speaking. The first three sections give context information about Muslims, Islam, and mosques in Belgium and Flanders. In the next sections, the research design and the results are presented. This presentation focuses on four issues: imams as immigrants; their tasks and workload; their job situation and attitude towards official recognition and payment; and finally their ambiguous attitudes towards government initiatives. We give also some reflections in dialogue with research on imams in other Western European countries. The conclusion discusses the challenges for imams and the government to become real partners within the further integration process of the Muslim community in Flanders and Belgium.