Morocco to bring Islamic imams up to date



RABAT- Morocco's Islamic affairs ministry on Thursday launched a nationwide programme to train Muslim imams, or community leaders, as part of a reform campaign announced by King Mohammed VI in 2008.
"Imams are an essential part of the reform of the religious sphere," Minister of Islamic Affairs Ahmed Tawfiq told a news conference. "They are responsible for taking care of believers and work in the towns and in the remote countryside.



Morocco to bring Islamic imams up to date
"We have 45,000 imams and statistics from 2006 show that 82 percent of them have no basic training. They only know the Koran by heart."
The minister said the educational operation would extend across the north African country at a cost of about 200 million dirhams (18 million euros or 25 million dollars) and with 1,432 training centres.
"It's a large-scale operation, unequalled in the world. The programme is aimed at giving Moroccan society a religious foundation in tune with the times and with attention to preserving our national identity," Tawfiq said.
Since 2006, the religious authorities have been training 150 imams each year chosen among university graduates.
Training includes spiritual education, with an understanding of the role of mosques as a place of worship and part of the social fabric, and teaching in the Maliki doctrine which is the official rite of Morocco's Sunni Muslim tradition.
Mohamed VI, the commander of the faithful, in September launched a reform programme that would extend to the high council of the ulema (Muslim scholars) and the imams, as well as the Moroccan community living abroad.
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Friday, June 26th 2009
AFP
           


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