Morocco Names 50 Female Muslim Preachers
Morocco is making a somewhat noble attempt to moderate Islam:
RABAT, Morocco - Fifty women have graduated as Muslim preachers, part of a concerted effort by authorities in Morocco to promote moderate Islam in a country grappling with extremism.
Another 150 men graduated Wednesday as imams, or prayer leaders. The 50 female religious guides, or morchidat, won't lead prayers in mosques, which is reserved for men, but will be sent around the country to teach women — and, occasionally, men — about Islam.
While Moroccan officials said the appointment of female state preachers was a rare experiment in the Muslim world, others said it was unprecedented in Morocco and the majority of other Arab countries.
"Your duty ... is to prevent intrusion by foreign agents trying to violate our values and traditions," Ahmed Taoufiq, minister of Islamic Affairs, told the graduates Wednesday.
"You must be committed to the faith and politics of the state which the people have chosen. This choice includes the policies of the Amir al Moumenin (Commander of the Faithful) who runs deep in our veins," said Taoufiq, referring to the religious title of King Mohammed VI.
The training of the preachers is part of a campaign launched by the young king, a descendant of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, to strengthen state-controlled mosques while undermining radical clerics who preach Islamic extremism. He has vowed that no foreign religious doctrine would be tolerated in the North African kingdom, which is a close ally of the United States and a partner in its war against terrorism.
As is true with any good news coming out of the world of Islam, it is probably not a good idea for me to get my hopes up. How long before there is a pyre with fifty female heads piled in a pyramid?