ISSN 2330-717X

Morocco And France United To Combat Terrorism More Efficiently – OpEd

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Moroccan Press Agency (MAP) reported that King Mohammed VI was received at the Elysee Palace in Paris, by French President Francois Hollande, the King’s Cabinet said.

During this audience, the two heads of State voiced the shared determination of France and Morocco to fight terrorism and radicalization together and endeavor to settle regional and international crises. The President of the French Republic expressed his thanks to HM King Mohammed VI for the efficient assistance provided by Morocco following last Friday’s attack that killed 130 people.

Moroccan and French sources have told Reuters Rabat had given vital information that led to locating Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected Islamic State coordinator of the last week’s attacks, to a flat in the Parisian suburbs.

“The president thanked the King of Morocco for the efficient help given by Morocco following Friday’s attacks,” a French presidency statement said after the two met in Paris.

During the last French President Francois Hollande’s two-day visit to Morocco in September, France and Morocco signed a joint statement on cooperation in the training of imams at the Mohammed VI Institute, opened in Rabat in March.

The training will promote “an Islam with the right balance” that conforms to “values of openness and tolerance”.

As many as 50 French imams could attend the international institute each year for religious training.

“Through this cooperation between France and Morocco, UMF hopes to meet the immediate needs of training imams and chaplains, and prepare at the same time future teacher training institutions to be created on French territory,” said UMF head Mohammed Moussaoui in a statement.

A first class of 20 students from France joined the Institute at its inauguration in March, while 30 more are expected to begin this month, according to the UMF.

The average duration of the training is three years. On their return to France, students will enrol in additional academic training focused on the sociology of religion in France and the right of worship.

The religious impact of the Kingdom and its commitment to the precepts of moderate, open and tolerant Islam turned Morocco into a religious model widely solicited not only in Africa, but also in Europe.

Moroccan spiritual diplomacy has been very successful in West Africa due to the country’s historic Maliki School through Sufi channels and methods of reaching worshipers in the sub-Saharan region and West Africa. The Tijaniya sufi order widely operating in West Africa was founded in North Africa during the 18th century. Other Sufi orders – including the Qadiriyya and Chadiliya orders – soon followed, gaining large numbers of devotees who identified heavily with Morocco, where the tomb of Sheikh Ahmed Tijani, the founder of the Tijaniyyah order, is buried.

Sufism attracts more young Africans because of its tolerance, due to the easy interpretation that gives to the Qur’an, its rejection of fanaticism and its embrace of modernity. Young people are the principles of” beauty” and” humanity”. Sufism balanced lifestyle that allows them to enjoy arts, music and love without having to abandon their spiritual or religious obligations. Sufi orders exist throughout Morocco. They organize regular gatherings to pray, chant and debate timely topics of social and political, from the protection of the environment and social charity to the fight against drugs and the threat of terrorism.

In addition, focusing on the universal values ​​that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism (as the pursuit of happiness, the love of the family, tolerance of racial and religious differences and the promotion of peace) Sufi gatherings inspire young people to engage in interfaith dialogue.

Sufism is so diffuse in Moroccan culture that its role cannot be properly understood if reduced to a sect or a sacred place. People get together to sing Sufi poetry, the primordial essence of the human being, the virtues of simplicity and the healing gifts of Sufi saints such as Sidi Abderrahman Majdub, Sidi Ahmed Tijani, and Sidi Bouabid Charki, the spiritual masters revered by peers and disciples for having attained spiritual union with God during their earthly lives.

In March 2015, King Mohammed VI inaugurated the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines, and Morchidates in the capital, Rabat. The religious training center that aims to instill the values of Morocco’s open, moderate form of Islam, based on the Maliki rite and Sunni Sufism, in the next generation of Muslim religious leaders (imams) and preachers (morchidines and morchidates) from across the region and the world.

The center is a key element in Morocco’s ongoing efforts to promote religious moderation and tolerance as a shield against extremism in the region. So it is no surprise if the Moroccan tolerant Islam is widely solicited.

Morocco owes its image of a modern Muslim nation to Sufism, a spiritual and tolerant Islamic tradition that goes back to the first generations of Muslims who, for centuries, has supported religious cohesion, social and cultural Moroccan society. Sufism provides answers to some of the most complex problems facing the contemporary Muslim world, where youth comprise the majority of the population.

Most Moroccans, young or old, practice one form of Sufism or another. Deep component of the Moroccan identity, Sufism absorbs all members of society, regardless of their age, sex, social status or political orientation.

In addition, focusing on the universal values ​​that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism (as the pursuit of happiness, the love of the family, tolerance of racial and religious differences and the promotion of peace) Sufi gatherings inspire young people to engage in interfaith dialogue.Sufi orders exist throughout Morocco. They organize regular gatherings to pray, chant and debate timely topics of social and political, from the protection of the environment and social charity to the fight against drugs and the threat of terrorism.

Taken together, Sufi seminars, chants and spiritual gatherings provide a social medium where millions of Moroccans mix the sacred and the secular, the soul and the body, the local and the universal. Every aspect that is both possible and enjoyable.

Sufis distance themselves from fundamentalists (who see Islam strict and Utopian emulation of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions), with particular emphasis on the adaptation of community concerns and priorities of the modern time. Sufis neither condemn unveiled women nor do they censor the distractions of our time. For them, the difference between virtue and vice is the intent, not appearances.

Sufism is so diffuse in Moroccan culture that its role can not be properly understood if reduced to a sect or a sacred place. People get together to sing Sufi poetry, the primordial essence of the human being, the virtues of simplicity and the healing gifts of Sufi saints such as Sidi Abderrahman Majdub, Sidi Ahmed Tijani, and Sidi Bouabid Charki, the spiritual masters revered by peers and disciples for having attained spiritual union with God during their earthly lives..

It is this fusion of Sufism and modernity that produces a unique aesthetic experience, which is attractive to Moroccan youth who reject extremism and uphold values ​​of a shared humanity.

It is not a secret that terrorism has had a negative impact in our society, especially in recent times. Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11th took place, humanity has witnessed numerous of awful terrorist attacks that had never taken place before. It is definitely an issue that has gone overboard. Thankfully, countries such as Morocco and France are uniting in order to combat this matter much more efficiently. France and Morocco are two countries that have decided to vow to fight terrorism together. Morocco’s intelligence services have proved their efficiency on many occasions. They have foiled several attacks and dismantled several terrorist cells at home and helped many friendly countries to thwart terror plots.

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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