Morocco is an ideal partner to promote security and development in Africa:
With numerous fragile African states at its doorstep, Moroccans are viscerally vested in shoring up their defenses. Part of the threat lies in the radicalization of those neighbors’ youth populations by Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated clerics. Fortunately, Morocco, a global bastion of Islam’s moderate Sufi “mystical” strand, has both the credibility and human infrastructure to compete and beat these hardline networks on the ground.
Last March, Rabat inaugurated the “Mohammed VI Institute” for the training of Imams — and the student body includes more than 400 foreign nationals, emanating largely from Mali, Guinea, Conakry, Ivory Coast, and Gabon (not to mention Tunisia, France, Belgium, and even the Maldives.) This represents the institutionalization of a technique initially developed at the request of the new government in war torn Mali last year: 500 imams were trained from that country, in order to counter the pro-Qaeda strand in religious leadership, which briefly occupied a piece of the country’s north the size of France.
Training for all these religious leadership figures takes down the warped interpretation of Islamic proof texts, which is the radicals’ stock in trade. It also stressed the salubrious role of women — including as leadership figures: Female imams, known as “murchidate” (“female guides”) learn to share in the administration of mosques and inculcation of their worshippers. J. Peter Pham, Vice President of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, has studied the Moroccan experience and described Morocco as a “model” and a “beacon” for Africa…[Full Story]