The University of Auckland will be adding a course in Islamic Studies to its Bachelor of Theology degree from 2012.
The growing interest in Islam due to events of recent times has sparked the introduction of the course.
Theology at the university has traditionally focused on exploring the beliefs and practices that have developed within Christianity, but the university is broadening its offerings to students interested in faith and religion.
"The study of Islamic cultures and societies is an important component of any internationally recognised university given their contribution to world civilisation, historical prominence, and involvement in contemporary global politics," said Zain Ali, head of Auckland University's Islamic studies research unit.
"It will be of great interest to students, given the recent levels of interest in Islam within both academic and public domains and the diversity of competing perspectives that often surround this religious tradition."
The course will consist of a historical review of Islam together with developments in Muslim theology, philosophy, and the interpretation of the Qur'an.
The course is said to be interested in contemporary issues related to Islam.
Students will be exploring answers to common questions such as is Islam compatible with democracy? What is the position of women in Islam? Is Islamic law practicable? How should the Qur'an be interpreted?
Islamic studies is taught at universities around the world such as Cambridge, Oxford and Yale University with courses dating back as late as 1960.
Yasmin Ginai, "University of Auckland to offer Islamic Studies" Bikya Masr November 2, 2011
"Islamic studies to be offered at University of Auckland" New Zealand Herald November 1, 2011
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today