The initiative was taken by the school's headmaster Abdulkader Habib. Back in 2011, Kista High School launched comprehensive tax-funded education in Islam with the aim of becoming "one of Sweden's foremost institutes for Arabic and Islamic studies."
Students at the school are already trained in classical as well as dialectal Arabic, calligraphy, Islamic theory, as well as interpretation of sacred texts from a Muslim and interfaith perspective. This autumn, the curriculum will be extended to include imam schooling.
"We will teach Islamic theology and leadership. The first year is only an introduction. Over, the next few years, the study program will be broadened and deepened," the headmaster explained Swedish Radio.
"It will help provide stability. Many Muslims will avoid feeling that they must leave the country for the Middle East to get a proper education," Habib said.
In 2008, Sweden investigated the possibility of state-funded imam training. Then Minister for Higher Education and Research Lars Leijonborg advocated it as solution to curbing fundamentalist activity. Investigator and political science professor Eric Amnås concluded, however, that state funding of imam training was unfounded.
In 2000s, Gothenburg's Bellevue Mosque and Stockholm's Brandbergen Mosque came to public attention as recruitment and propaganda centers for Islamist terrorism, as contacts with both al-Qaida and Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab were revealed.