King Mohammed VI and President Hollande Announce Training for French Imams

Program Will Promote "Values of Openness and Tolerance"

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - September 21, 2015) - During an official visit to Rabat held September 19 and 20, French President Francois Hollande and Morocco's King Mohammed VI signed a joint statement announcing a program of study for French Imams at Morocco's Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines and Morchidates. The Institute, which opened in March, is dedicated to preparing the next generation of Muslim religious leaders -- in Morocco, across the region, and around the world -- to counter extremist interpretations of Islam.

According to the joint statement, the training for French scholars aims to promote "an Islam with the right balance," committed to the "values of openness and tolerance." Twenty French Imams were among the Institute's inaugural class, along with scholars from Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Tunisia. Thirty additional French students are expected to begin this month, and going forward, as many as 50 could attend the Institute each year.

The latest US State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism praised Morocco's "comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that includes vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies." 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)."

"Morocco has long been recognized for its open, tolerant society, and for its experience in countering extremism through the teaching of moderate interpretation of Islam," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. "Through the training provided by the Mohammed VI Institute, Morocco is the ideal partner for friends and neighbors -- in France, Africa, and elsewhere -- in the fight against extremism."

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