Out Of Context – Part 7

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Omar Suleiman

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What Kind Of Training Is Available For Imams? – Omar Suleiman

In Part 7 of the interview, Shaykh Omar takes questions from the audience. Imam training is not as defined in Islam as it is in other faith traditions, says Sheikh Omar Suleiman.

Episode Transcript

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Hi, my name is Mike Bachman. And I mean, I'm a Methodist pastor, and I'm excited that we're able to share a little question and answer time with Imam Omar Suleiman. He's here to answer questions from some folks who have been part of our audiences. We've been having an extended conversation together. So I'll introduce them each and looking forward to hearing their questions. And their response to that Imam Omar has, so I'm really excited to have with us Rabbi Ilana, is Eleni here. And she has a question for Imam Omar. So there you go, if you can use that.

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Hi, how are you doing? I'm well, how are you? Good. Thank you for coming. Thank you for hosting. I had a question about training. I know that as a rabbi, there are limited options around the globe where I can learn our holy texts. And where I choose to study can have a vast influence on how I interpret text. So what does that training look like for an Imam.

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So it's, it's probably not as defined for the mom as it is and other faith traditions, there is the overseas route. So going into and learning the religion in different parts of the world. So some of the premier institutions. So I personally studied in the United Arab Emirates, I spent some time in Jordan, and I'm doing my PhD in Malaysia right now. So I've been all over the place, right.

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But we, you know, there are institutions now that have come up in the United States. So being an institute, for example, we teach the Arabic language, once you learn the Arabic language, once you learn the Arabic language, you're really able to, to study all types of things, it opens your world into Islamic texts and things of that sort. So there are programs that are four years, six years, eight years, even some that are 10 years, right, that take a really long time. A lot of times the Imam, the Imam will be just chosen from the congregation, the person that can read the Koran most fluently, and has the greatest knowledge of Islam will be chosen to leave the congregation. But now

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there's a new generation. And this is part of the good news of American born imams. There are lots of them now. So we're seeing a lot of those in mosques. Now, a lot of imams that have been born here that know the culture that I've trained either in institutions here or trained overseas, but came back and sort of got acclimated once again, and can address very relevant topics and issues. So the mosques are becoming more American, for sure now as a result of that,

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and yeah. And do you have a professional organization where many moms can meet and share ideas and collaborate on projects together, different organizations, different scholars, councils, and things of that sort, but there isn't one premier council where all the moms get together, but there are a few of them that are attempts to try to get the moms on the same page and things of that sort. I think that our community is is in its maturation process, we're growing, and we're trying to figure things out.

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And I think that Islamophobia is sort of helping us get things going better, quicker at an institutional level as well. So there's more collaboration, that's one of the blessings.

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You know, you were asking about, how do I get what what messaging do we give people so you know, I tell them that

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what's required is that we, we use this as an opportunity to build our institutions to come together to be better, better prepared in the future as well. So,

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you know, that's, you know, it's not as easy as being a pastor or a rabbi, but we are trying to figure things out. And we are growing in that sense as well. Well, that's great. Thank you.

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I feel like this is the setup for a joke. We have a mom, a rabbi and a pastor.

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Yeah.

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Thank you so much.