This is a story to watch. From the BBC, with thanks to Samson:
Morocco has appointed 50 women as state preachers for the first time as part of the government’s drive to promote a more tolerant version of Islam.
The Islamic guides, called Mourchidats, will be able to give basic religious instruction in mosques.
But they will not be able to lead Friday prayers, which will remain a male preserve.
Since suicide bombers struck Casablanca in 2003, there has been a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.
The country has also been attempting to modernise its human rights, especially for women, while not alienating conservative Muslims.
What’s that, BBC? You mean to say there is tension between human rights and Islamic “conservatism”? What are you, some kind of Islamophobe?
As well as teaching in mosques, the women preachers will be able to support to people in prisons, schools and hospitals.
“It is a big responsibility for me to give more to our country,” 26-year-old Karima Errejili told Reuters news agency at her graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
“We want to correct the image of Islam, the religion of tolerance and pity.”
Here again, I wish Errejili would share her Qur’anic exegesis with the world. This kind of thing is asserted hundreds of times a day, but never established — which of course makes this whole enterprise look like so much window dressing.
The ceremony was attended by Morocco’s minister of Islamic Affairs who told the graduates to remain committed to their faith and the politics of the state.
“Your duty… is to prevent intrusion by foreign agents trying to violate our values and traditions,” Ahmed Taoufiq is quoted by AP news agency as saying.
I thought that was his duty. But never mind. Generally, Morocco is indeed more moderate than many other Muslim countries. The reaction from “conservatives” to all this will be interesting.