In 2005 and 2006 three state-funded Islam- and imam training programs started at Amsterdam Free University, Leiden University and Hogeschool Inholland, after more than two decades of political and public debate. These confessional programs were to educate a Dutch ‘polder imam’. Recently however, the closure of two programs was announced. This article places the establishment as well as the closure of these programs in a historical perspective. It explores two striking parallels between the motivations in favor of an imam training and the ways the Dutch state has dealt with the institutionalization of religious plurality in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
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