Morocco's King Launches Mohammed VI Foundation for African Oulema

Foundation Supports Scholarship to Promote Religious Moderation in Region

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 21, 2015) - In Casablanca last week, King Mohammed VI of Morocco launched the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Oulema, to support Moroccan and African theologians and scholars in promoting religious tolerance and moderation on the continent. The Foundation will also support the establishment of religious and scientific schools and cultural centers to spread the values of moderate Islam.

The launch of the Foundation follows closely on the opening in March of the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines, and Morchidates, which aims to prepare the next generation of Muslim religious leaders from across the region to counter extremist interpretations of Islam. The Institute currently hosts students from Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, and France, among other countries.

Morocco's "comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that includes vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies" was praised in the US Department of State's annual Country Reports on Terrorism released last month. The report described the country's "national strategy to affirm and further institutionalize Morocco's widespread adherence to the Maliki-Ashari school of Sunni Islam," focusing on "upgrading mosques, promoting the teaching of relatively moderate Islam, and strengthening the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (MEIA)."

The new Foundation launch also comes just one month after King Mohammed VI's three-week, four-nation tour of West and Central Africa that resulted in the signing of 35 bilateral agreements with Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d'Ivoire, and Gabon. The leader completed a similar tour in March 2014, during which the King visited Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Gabon and presided over the signing of more than 80 bilateral agreements on trade, agriculture, water, energy, and job training, among other areas. The King had also visited Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, and Gabon in March 2013.

"Morocco has strong and longstanding cultural, religious and economic relationships with its African neighbors, as well as experience in countering radicalization through the promotion of the moderate Maliki rite and Sufism," said Jordan Paul, Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy. "The Foundation and the Institute provide a clear path to strengthening those ties and promoting tolerance and peace in the region."

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Jordana Merran