Morocco to train Bahraini preachers under moderate Islam agreement

February 7, 2010
By

Hassan II Mosque - Morocco

Morocco will soon start training men and women preachers from Bahrain under an accord reached by the two countries.

The preachers will attend workshops on using “moderate and balanced” sermons and speeches in reaching out to people, Manama and Rabat have said.

“They will also be trained on adapting their speeches to the latest developments and changes impacting the region in order to ensure that they are not out of tune with the world,” Fareed Al Meftah, the justice and Islamic affairs undersecretary, said in a statement on Sunday.

Bahraini Sunni religious scholars and Friday preachers, like most of their Arabian Gulf counterparts, are traditionally trained or educated in Egypt, home to Al Azhar, considered as the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam in modern times. Shiites often go to Iran or Iraq to further their studies with senior religious authorities.

Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa have been promoting moderate Islam to confront challenges from radical Islamists, often exposed to influences from the East and to mushrooming television channels.

Tunisian authorities have in recent years shown increased interest in religious media and held seminars and workshops aimed at distancing youth from religious “nonsense”, including fatwas “impregnated with backwardness and ridiculousness”.

In 2008, the Northern African country launched media stations to “offer viewer-friendly style and truth, voicing the values of Islam that stress tolerance, humility, good manners and denouncing violence.”

Rabat, wary of the growth of extremism, has launched programmes to promote moderate Islam and has been regularly sending moderate Muslim preachers to Europe during the holy month of Ramadan to help fight extremism in the Moroccan community abroad.

According to the Moroccan religious affairs ministry, the preachers, men and women, are instructed to “answer the religious needs of the Moroccan community abroad, to protect it from any speeches of extremism or irregular nature, and to shelter it from extremism and fanaticism.”

 

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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