Morocco, a recognized religious model

A bulwark against extremism

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
17 SEP 2015
by

The constitution of Morocco recognizes Islam as the state religion and guarantees the free exercise of any religion to everyone. The king of Morocco, Commander of the faithful ‘Amir Al Mouminine’, ensures Islam compliance. Most Moroccans are Sunnis belong to Maliki rite.

The Moroccan Islamic model lets the kingdom be a bulwark against extremism and religious sectarianism. While several Arabs and African countries are plagued by sectarian divisions and doctrinal anarchy, Morocco remains a country cemented by its identity and values which bear the stamp of moderation and tolerance. It is not surprising that many other countries want to take inspiration from the Moroccan model. It is in this context that fits the requests for cooperation from various countries including Mali, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Libya that want to enjoy Morocco's experience in the management of religion. The selection focused on Morocco by these countries is not accidental; it is further proof of the relevance and the wisdom of the policy pursued by Morocco in this field, especially after the restructuring of Morocco`s religious field.

Morocco`s approach to protect faith against extremist tendencies

The Kingdom of Morocco opted, early, for a moderate, authentic and open Islam. Taking into account the new challenges of political changes in the Arab world and Europe, Morocco proceeded in 2004 to restructure the religious field as a major concern with the commitment to doctrinal unity of the nation under the Maliki rite. The broad outlines of the reform were declined by the Sovereign in the royal speech (April 2004). The king announced the new religious policy in his royal speech of April 30 before the members of the Board and the Provincial Councils of ‘Ulema’ in Casablanca Royal Palace. “These Councils have local management mission of religious affairs. We urge them to begin to listen to citizens, especially young people, and to work to protect their faith and spirit against the erring and hoaxers”, said the king.

The goal of the king approach is to work to protect the faith and spirit against extremist tendencies or mystifying. But the backbone of the religious field restructuring thorn was undoubtedly the project for rationalization, modernization and unification of Islamic education. The aim is to enable them to provide a solid education in Islamic sciences in all disciplines, and that, as part of a unified national school. Particular attention has been paid to upgrading traditional education schools, safeguarding the Quranic learning system and protection of these facilities against exploitation or deviation affecting the Moroccan identity.

Moroccan International Centre for Imam training

The Institute Mohammed VI of training imams, preachers ‘morchidines’ and ‘morchidates’ (woman preachers), opened last March in Rabat by King Mohammed VI, commander of the faithful, is another example of the ongoing commitment of the sovereign to ensure the dissemination of the values of Islam; values which are balance, moderation, tolerance and openness to another.

The Institute, which hosts students’ imams from Moroccan and Arab, African and European countries with which the kingdom maintains spiritual and secular religious bonds, illustrates the importance that King Mohammed VI gives to issues related to protect Islam against any deviance. This structure ensures the training of imams, morchidines and morchidates in religion and method of preaching, while allowing them to acquire all knowledge, allowing them to accomplish their mission, through theoretical and practical courses, conferences, internships and scientific research. Foreign students welcomed into this institute receive training through developed programs in coordination with their countries of origin, which aid in the teaching of essential components: sciences of religion, language, humanities and country history.

The institute has an educational capacity of 1,000 seats, constructed over an area of 28,687 m², including an educational pavilion that houses lecture halls, classrooms with computers, a multipurpose hall, mosque and a library, with rich and varied holdings. Mohammed VI institute of imams, morchidines and morchidates hosts a pavilion of hosting and catering that includes 310 rooms with 700 beds, two dining halls, and a socio-sportive pavilion. In addition to its role in the preservation of spiritual tranquility of Moroccans and of the unity of Maliki rite, the imams center accompany the kingdom in its partnership with sisterly and friendly countries in Africa, especially after the decision of King Mohammed VI to respond positively to requests for training in Morocco of imams and preachers from African countries such as Tunisia, Mali, Guinea-Conakry and Ivory Coast, as well as applications from European countries.

France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Germany, the Union of Mosques in European countries increasingly seek Moroccan religious authorities to form hundreds of imams for a new religious discourse. In addition to the Moroccan students enrolled, the number reached 150 and 100 imams morchides morchidates per year, the Institute currently hosts 447 foreign students, including 212 students from Mali, 37 from Tunisia, 100 from Guinea-Conakry, 75 from Ivory Coast and 23 from France. The center, directed by the ministry of endowments and Islamic affairs enable enrolled students through a pedagogical and administrative staff of high level, appropriate quality training, to carry out the supervisory missions and preaching which they will load.

Moroccan women preachers, ‘Morchidate’ to show the right path

During the kings speech before the members of the board, and provincial councils of ulema at Casablanca royal palace, the king said “We would like, furthermore, to see women specialized in religious sciences sit in these councils, in fairness to them, and equality between man and woman.” The Moroccan policy of forming Morchidate is recognition of the unique religious educator role of women within the public sphere. These new women preachers are active within the prisons, hospitals, workplaces and associative areas and cater to an audience of mostly women.

The first group of 50 women preachers graduated in 2006, followed by another group each year. The group underwent intensive and diverse special training, over a period of twelve months. Besides the improvement of knowledge of Islamic sciences, the training also involves the acquisition of knowledge on national and international environment, In addition to other disciplines including sociology, the different methods of communication, psychology, law, languages and IT.

The objective of this diversification is to help future women preachers to forge a good personality, open to the outside world. In fact, the program has been designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of religious supervisors. The preachers are required to master the communication methods and how to establish and build social relationships with people around them in order to allow them to pass the message to convey to citizens.

Morocco`s king asked Moroccans not to get religious lessons from others

The king of Morocco in his speech addressed to the nation on the occasion of the 16th anniversary, the accession to the throne of his ancestors, on the 30th of July 2015, asked for the need to preserve the authentic Moroccan identity envied, statingit was the duty of Moroccans to remain attached to the Sunni Maliki rite. The King noted that it was the patriotic and religious duty of the Moroccan people to protect their identity and remain attached to the Sunni Maliki rite, that Moroccans have chosen willingly, and passed from father to son.

"It was precisely to overcome the human and spiritual values which we all believe. Just as today, we fight against extremism and terrorism," said the king, noting in this regard that the Kingdom of Morocco, faithful to its Arab and Islamic affiliations, has committed in Arab coalition against terrorism.
The Sovereign also said he obviously was no reason why the Moroccans abandon their traditions and their civilizational values are marked with the seal of tolerance and moderation, or they embrace strange doctrines to their education and their morality.

"So do not let anyone else come to give you lessons on your religion and accepts anyone's incentive to follow a ritual or doctrine originated in East or West, North or South, regardless of my respect for all divine religions and doctrines related to it ", advised the King.