Morocco Gets First Batch of Female Preachers

Morocco's first batch of female Muslim preachers (Morchidat) has just graduated with the aim of helping their male peers promote the tolerant and peaceful message of Islam and fight extremist drifts.

Morocco Gets First Batch of Female Preachers

"The Morchidat will be in charge of leading religious discussions, give courses in Islam, give moral support to people in difficulty and guide the faithful towards a tolerant Islam," Smira Marzouk, one of the newly-graduated Morchidat, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Friday, April 28.

The pioneer group of 50 Morchidat ended a 12-month course early April.

During their year-long course, they studied curricula ranging from Islamic studies to psychology, sociology, computer skills, economy, law and business management.

"This is a rare experiment in the Muslim world," proudly stated Mohamed Mahfoud, director of the center attached to the Islamic affairs ministry that trained the female team.

He said the Morchidat were trained to "accompany and orient Muslim faithful, notably in prisons, hospitals and schools."

The idea of the Morchidat was initiated following the Casablanca terrorist attacks on May 16, 2003.

At least 45 people were killed and dozens wounded when booby-trapped cars exploded simultaneously outside an international hotel, a Jewish cultural center and an Italian restaurant downtown Casablanca.

"Filling the gaps"

Marzouk said that the experience was in no way designed to replace male preachers and imams as claimed by some critics.

"The imamate in Islam is restricted solely to men who are apt at leading prayers, notably those on Friday," she noted.

Marzouk, who holds a diploma in Arab literature, said she sees her mission as one to "fill in the gaps that prevent a solid framework for religion".

"We are going to teach a tolerant Islam by focusing on the underprivileged classes," added Marzouk, who is in her 30s.

The female team will also seek to clear misconceptions associating Islam with extremism.

"We will help attenuate any drift towards Islamic extremism," said Leila Fares, another female preacher who holds a degree in Islamic studies.

Ahmad Taoufiq, the Islamic affairs minister, said the Morchidat will also "instruct women on their religious duties".

The initiative was hailed as "positive" by the Islamic-leaning Justice and Development party (PJD).

"I see nothing more to say about this initiative because in Islam, men and women are equal," PJD Member of Parliament Mustapha Ramid said.

He pointed to Egypt which has "eminent women scholars of Islam."

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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