The four-year program will be called “Introduction to Muslim Studies” and could be attended by 30-50 students according to Kathimerini newspaper. Professors from various departments such as those of theology, political science and even architecture will teach courses.
“We respect the academic autonomy of universities and we give our consent since there is no legal obstacle,” Greek Education Minister Sia Anagnostopoulou told Kathimerini, explaining the Education Ministry’s decision to sign off on the program.
The decision does not appear to have sat lightly with certain members of the Greek Orthodox Church, as Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki has called for a rally in protest of the program.
However, Greek general secretary for religious affairs Giorgos Kalantzis sees a reflection of reality in providing the course.
“Although as a country we have an indigenous Muslim minority and we are Europe’s border with the Muslim world, we still do not have an Islamic studies program,” he is quoted as saying by Kathimerini.