Islamic studies in Australia’s universities

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Abstract

Islamic studies is an in-demand discipline area in Australia, including both classical Islamic studies and contemporary Islamic studies. While the field of classical Islamic studies has evolved over the centuries alongside the needs of the societies it serves, it has, nevertheless, remained within a well-established Islamic framework. This type of knowledge is sought by many, especially Muslims. Contemporary Islamic studies also plays a critical role in understanding Islam and Muslims in the contemporary context. The higher education sector in Australia contributes to this knowledge base via the Islamic studies courses it offers. This article discusses the positioning of the higher education sector in fulfilling Islamic educational needs, especially in the presence of other non-accredited education institutions such as mosques and madrasas. Despite the presence of other educational institutions, the higher educational sector appeals to a large pool of students, as evidenced by the number of Islamic studies courses offered by fourteen Australian universities. The teaching of classical Islamic studies in the higher education sector is not without its challenges. These challenges can be overcome and have been overcome to a large degree by the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC), Charles Sturt University (CSU). CISAC was used as a case study, as it is the largest Islamic studies department offering the greatest number of classical Islamic studies focused
courses with the highest number of Islamic studies students in Australia. This article, overall, demonstrates that there is an ongoing need for Islamic studies to be taught, both in a classical and contemporary capacity, in the higher education sector.
Original languageEnglish
Article number99
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalReligions
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2021

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