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Morocco’s Model and the Global Quest for Moderate Islam

Morocco’s Model and the Global Quest for Moderate Islam \ Newslooks \ Opinion \ The recurring pattern of terrorist attacks attributed to ISIS, including significant incidents like the World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks, underscores a persistent challenge of violent extremism. This challenge is often misattribated solely to Islam, overlooking the religion’s foundational peace and non-violence teachings.
Misinterpretations of Islamic teachings are undoubtedly a tragedy fueling global unrest. Yet, dismissing the moderate Islamic experiences that strive for a middle path, aligning with contemporary values without forsaking spiritual and ethical principles, would be a disservice.

Morocco’s Model

Morocco’s religious tradition offers a testament to such a balance, with over twelve centuries of harmonious coexistence among Abrahamic faiths. The country’s proactive security measures against terrorism, preempting threats while fostering an environment of religious tolerance, are commendable.
Sophie De Peyret’s study, “Nation and Religion: The Moroccan Experience,” illustrates Morocco’s endeavor to establish a moderate religious path. The King of Morocco embodies both spiritual and secular leadership, advocating for ‘Moderate Islam’ as a voice of reason and moderation. This approach has guided reforms enhancing societal balance, including gender equality, and combating extremism.

King Mohamed VI of Morocco During a Ramadan religious Lecture

The Brookings Institute’s “Morocco, Commander of the Faithful in Africa?” further explores Morocco’s unique Islamic model. The nation adheres to Sunni Maliki Islam, Al- Ashaaria doctrine, and Sufism, a blend promoting flexibility and moderation. Such a combination, enriched by Morocco’s cultural openness, sets a distinct example of Islamic practice.
The international recognition of Morocco’s religious model, especially by American officials, raises questions about the West’s reluctance to embrace and promote such a framework to counter extremism. It begs the consideration of greater investment in understanding and disseminating the principles of moderate Islam worldwide.
The nuanced nature of religious beliefs, with Christianity and Judaism also encompassing diverse interpretations, parallels the spectrum within Islam. Acknowledging and promoting this diversity is vital for fostering global coexistence and understanding.
The attribution of terrorist acts to ISIS by American officials, while necessary, has missed opportunities to clarify the distinctions between extremist factions and the broader, peaceful teachings of Islam. Adrian Watson’s comments on ISIS’s responsibility for the Moscow attacks without implicating Ukraine hint at a broader issue: the need for a deeper public understanding of Islam’s inherent peace.
Morocco’s example, amidst broader Arab and Islamic contexts including Saudi Arabia’s reforms and Egypt’s historical struggles with religious organizations, offers valuable insights. It demonstrates the possibility of aligning Islamic faith with contemporary societal values without succumbing to extremism.
The late King Hassan II of Morocco’s warnings against the misuse of Islam for violence, criticizing Khomeini’s radical stance, exemplify the wisdom and foresight in distinguishing between religious beliefs and extremist interpretations. His critiques highlight the importance of adhering to true Islamic principles of peace and consultation.
Morocco today stands as a beacon of moderate Islam, showcasing the success of an approach that marries traditional religious values with modern societal needs. This model not only challenges extremism but also fosters a secure and tolerant society, deserving of wider recognition and emulation.
The international community’s indifference to such models, underscores a missed opportunity for combating ideological conflicts and extremism. A more proactive stance in understanding and leveraging Morocco’s model could significantly impact the global fight against terrorism.
Promoting a moderate and tolerant interpretation of Islam requires overcoming media portrayals that fail to distinguish between Islam’s peaceful core and extremist misrepresentations. Addressing this challenge is crucial for bridging divides between Islamic communities and the wider world, countering the narrative that fosters division and misunderstanding.
In conclusion, Morocco’s leadership under King Mohammed VI in cultivating a moderate, inclusive version of Islam while ensuring security and combating extremism offers a blueprint for global efforts to understand and engage with the Islamic world. Such a proactive approach, emphasizing education, tolerance, and moderation, can play a pivotal role in dismantling the roots of extremism and fostering a more peaceful, understanding world.
The path Morocco has charted, affirming the compatibility of Islamic faith with values of peace, tolerance, and modernity, represents not only a national achievement but also a global asset. As the world grapples with the challenges of extremism and seeks pathways to harmony, the Moroccan model of moderate Islam shines as a guiding light, advocating for a future where faith enriches the tapestry of global diversity rather than divides.

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 Morocco’s Model and the Global Quest for Moderate Islam

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