* Building on success of program with Mali, effort will share Moroccan model of moderation, help counter extremism in Africa *
Washington DC (February 12, 2014) — The Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs announced today that King Mohammed VI has agreed to requests from Tunisia, Guinea, and Libya for cooperation on religious matters, including providing training in Morocco for imams from the three African nations.
Morocco and Mali began a similar effort in September, when King Mohammed VI and Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita presided over the signing of an agreement to send 500 Malian imams to Morocco over the next two years for training in using Morocco’s moderate and tolerant form of Islam to help fight the spread of extremism. The first 100 imams from Mali have already travelled to Morocco for the program.
“Morocco has long been a leader in advancing stability, cooperation, and economic development in Africa, and its steady path to democratic reform stands as a model for the region specifically, and Africa as a whole,” said Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel, who served as US Ambassador to Morocco from 1997 to 2001. “Helping Mali, Tunisia, Guinea, and Libya promote moderate and tolerant Islam is yet another important part of Morocco’s vital contribution to peace, security, and development in this part of the world.”
According to a recent report by the Atlantic Council, Morocco has become a “significant force for development in Africa.” In addition to providing religious training, Morocco’s other initiatives in Africa include trade agreements and investment in a number of countries in sectors as varied as mining, energy, agriculture, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. Morocco’s assistance to Tunisia, Guinea, and Libya will also include sharing its expertise in building mosques and management of religious issues.
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