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This report considers the academic approach of selected countries (including the UK) to the study of Islamic studies in higher education. The objectives of the desk-based research, commissioned by HEFCE, were to:

  • map different approaches to Islamic studies
  • understand how publicly funded universities and colleges relate to private institutions that offer programmes of study in or related to Islamic studies
  • understand the size and scope of Islamic studies capacity in each country in order to reach a judgement about the 'health of the discipline' in each country
  • identify, for each country, whether Islamic studies has gained in prominence in the past 10 years, for what reason(s) and how policy-makers, Government or funding bodies have responded.

The report found that Islamic studies has increased in prominence in the eight countries surveyed. This has led to:

  • efforts to incorporate aspects of the training of local Muslim leaders, including imams, into higher education programmes
  • the development of inter- and trans-regional centres for the study of Islam and Muslims
  • the development of modules related to Islamic studies that can be integrated into wider, and unrelated, programmes of study.

These findings will help HEFCE in the shaping of possible options for support for Islamic Studies in the UK.