Institute for Islamic Religious Education Research (IIRF)

The Institute for Islamic Religious Education Research (IIRF) is an institute located at the Centre for Islamic Theology at the University of Tübingen and is conceived analogously to the research institutes  EIBOR and KIBOR (Evangelisches und Katholisches Institut für Berufsorientierte Religionspädagogik).  In the German-speaking world, such a research institute with its cooperative anchoring represents a unique feature, which has a high level of competence and reach in terms of content and methodology due to the already structurally and institutionally established cooperation of the three religious pedagogies.

The Research Institute is headed by Prof. Dr. Fahimah Ulfat, Professor of Islamic Religious Education at the Centre for Islamic Theology. The operational activities and their coordination are carried out by staff members of the professorship and the research institute.

The research institute is dedicated to the following main tasks:

  1. Scientific support, research and further development of Islamic religious education from the perspectives of theology, psychology, pedagogy and educational science in all types of schools in Baden-Württemberg. Preparatory work for the introduction of Islamic religious education at vocational schools,
  2. Strengthening the already existing cooperative Tübingen model of the three religious education departments through interdisciplinary professional events, joint research projects and the creation and testing of intercultural and interreligious teaching models and materials,
  3. Further education and training for teachers, educators, students, multipliers and researchers,
  4. Counselling and support for those working in religion-related socio-educational fields of activity (educators, pastoral workers, youth welfare workers, (school) social workers, etc.),
  5. Publications on the above-mentioned focal points.

The work in all areas of responsibility aims at close networking between theory and practice. The research institute should be able to react quickly and scientifically to social challenges. Results and findings are made accessible to the public and disseminated to civil society through events, publications, further training and internet presence. These tasks and goals of the Research Institute correspond to the goals of the future concept of the University of Tübingen „Research – Relevance – Responsibility“.


The Research Institute is integrated into an internal interreligious-cooperative research network for religious education with the Protestant and Catholic Institute for Vocationally Oriented Religious Education and the chairs or religious education departments of the Protestant Theological and Catholic Theological Faculties of the University of Tübingen. In addition, the research institute is involved in an intra-university cooperation with empirical educational research. Within this framework, it also cooperates with other subject didactics with regard to research projects.



A particular potential of Islamic religious education lies in the area of internationalisation. Islamic religious education faces the challenge of establishing itself as a research discipline in such a way that the theoretical and empirical results it produces, as well as their applicability in practice, are of international significance. As part of the University of Tübingen's internationalisation strategy, the Research Institute will actively promote the international transfer of knowledge in the field of Islamic religious education by initiating and carrying out international research and collaborative projects.


Fields of activity

The fields of activity cover the areas of science, practice and the public.


Research, evaluation and development of Teaching

Islamic religious education, which has been introduced as a model or school experiment in some federal states since 1999, is in the process of establishing itself as a regular subject. In this development process, the questions of quality assurance and the determination of quality criteria play the decisive role for the further development of the subject. So far, scientific evaluations of Islamic religious education have focused on the important question of acceptance and integration effectiveness.

As a relatively young subject, Islamic religious education faces the challenge of empirically surveying the quality of teaching, the curricula, the suitability of teaching aids and materials, the theological and pedagogical professionalism of the teachers, the effects of teaching on the abilities, skills, attitudes and behaviour of the students, as well as other effects of teaching, in order to ensure that they make a contribution to education and do justice to the life situation of young Muslims in Germany. The task of the research institute is to continuously accompany and evaluate this process scientifically in order to make a decisive contribution to the quality assurance and further development of the subject.

In a second step, the results of empirical research on teaching must be incorporated into the initial, further and in-service training of Muslim religious education teachers. The quality of the training of religious education teachers is crucial for the quality of Islamic religious education. The question is which concrete competences should be acquired, developed and consolidated during the first phase (studies), the second phase (traineeship) and the third phase (in-service and further training). In contrast to the standards for teacher training, which the two large churches have drawn up on the basis of religious education and which have been included in the guidelines of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the federal states in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz), there are no corresponding standards on the Muslim side. The training of Muslim religious education teachers must achieve a quality that is on a par with the training of teachers of all other subjects. For this goal, standards for the training and professionalism of Muslim religious education teachers are particularly necessary. The Research Institute aims to develop such standards on the basis of empirical research and theoretical considerations of education, which take into account the overall societal conditions of a strongly pluralised society, and to feed them into the training.

Interreligious cooperation

The three religious education departments in Tübingen (Protestant, Catholic, Islamic) have been cooperating for quite some time in both research and teaching. In the area of teaching, a joint seminar is offered every winter semester that is dedicated to various religious education topics that are examined from the three different perspectives. The students get the chance to enter into an intensive exchange with their fellow students and to plan and design religious education in the process. In addition, they can either observe and evaluate interreligious teaching units at a Gymnasium in Tübingen or conduct and analyse an interreligious teaching unit at the school themselves. The students benefit enormously from the interreligious seminars and teaching units for their future practical work in a society that is characterised by cultural and religious diversity. However, interreligious cooperation in religious education is still in its infancy. Its scientific monitoring and further development will be the task of this research institute in cooperation with its sister institutes EIBOR and KIBOR. In the area of research, joint empirical projects are planned and carried out, which are fundamental for interreligious education and understanding. One area where there is a current need for research would be, for example, the challenge posed by intolerance and antisemitism in schools.

Further education and training

In coordination and, if applicable, cooperation with the sister institutes EIBOR and KIBOR as well as the teacher training colleges in Baden-Württemberg, further education and training courses are carried out in various formats. Study days, symposia, conferences and congresses are aimed at teachers, educators, students, multipliers and researchers in this field.

Counselling and Support

Many of the pupils' current problems extend far beyond the school environment in the narrower sense into their social and family environment and generally into their everyday reality. Therefore, the empirical findings and theoretical reflections of the Research Institute are also of great use in religion-related socio-educational fields of action. The Institute therefore offers various forms of counselling, support and further training, also beyond the narrower school context, for all groups of people who are active in these fields in a counselling and advisory capacity, such as educators, pastoral workers, youth welfare workers, (school) social workers, etc. 

Thematic publications and preliminary work

  • Ulfat, Fahimah (2022): Forms of Muslim Children’s Spirituality: A Critical Contribution to the Didactics of Islamic Religious Education Studies. Leiden: Brill. (= Studies in Critical Pedagogy, Theology, and Spirituality).
  • Ulfat, Fahimah (2022): Was „Christ:innen“ in den Augen muslimischer Jugendlicher ausmacht. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft.
  • Ulfat, Fahimah (2022): Muslimische Jugendliche und ihr Verhältnis zu religiösen Normen. In: Ulfat, Fahimah/Khalfaoui, Mouez/Nekroumi, Mohammed (Hg.): Normativität des Korans im Zeichen gesellschaftlichen Wandels - Theologische und religionspädagogische Perspektiven. Baden-Baden: Nomos. S. 117–136.
  • Ulfat, Fahimah (2022): Intersektionale Wahrnehmung der Lebenswirklichkeit von jungen Muslim:innen in Deutschland und ihr Potenzial für das interreligiöse Lernen. In: inrev - Inklusive Religionspädagogik der Vielfalt. Online unter:
  • Ulfat, Fahimah (2022): Einstellungen, muslimische Religionslehrkräfte. In: Das wissenschaftlich-religionspädagogische Lexikon im Internet.
  • Schweitzer, Friedrich/Boschki, Reinhold/Ulfat, Fahimah (2022): Kooperative Formate im Religionsunterricht über das Christentum hinaus. In: Religionspädagogische Beiträge 45, S. 121–133.
  • Ulfat, Fahimah/Ghandour, Ali (Hg.) (2021): Sexualität, Gender und Religion in gegenwärtigen Diskursen: Theologie, Gesellschaft und Bildung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
  • Schweitzer, Friedrich/Ulfat, Fahimah (2021): Dialogisch – kooperativ – elementarisiert. Interreligiöse Einführung in die Religionsdidaktik aus christlicher und islamischer Sicht. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.