This coming fall the Iceland office of the AFS Intercultural Program will provide scholarships of ISK 500,000 (EUR 3,220/USD 4,370) to exchange students wishing to study in predominantly Muslim countries. The ones on offer are Indonesia and Malaysia; as well as Thailand, where five percent of people are Muslim and 93 percent Buddhist.
The decision to institute these scholarships derived directly from the recent debate over the proposed Mosque in Reykjavík.
“In light of all the recent discussion regarding Islamic culture and religion, we wanted to accommodate those young people who are interested in using a year of their lives to familiarize themselves with these countries. We believe that increased diversity in our community creates a greater need for international knowledge and experience. Discussion surrounding topics such as this one is sadly often based on a lack of experience and inaccurate information and we found this to be a great opportunity to remedy that,” said chairman Ragnar Þorvarðarson, in an announcement on AFS Iceland’s website.