This year, they will be some 700 imams, preachers and preachers to rally the Old Continent to preach a “middle Islam” dear to Morocco to the community of Moroccans living abroad (MRE) during the month of Ramadan.
A practice more than two decades old, where the sending of religious personnel, especially in Europe, comes “to meet the spiritual needs of this holy month,” says Si Mohamed Rifki, responsible for the supervision of 422 imams and “morchidates” (Preacher) sent by the Ministry of Habous. “We ask imams to respect the laws of the host country during the Ramadan period,” says Mohamed Rifki. They must feel invited, carry out their spiritual mission and have nothing to interfere in matters that are not part of their special mission. In other words, the prohibition to bend to any political commentary or to preach an Islam, contrary to the dominant Maliki rite in Morocco.
The Moroccan Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs has announced the sending this year of 422 imams, preachers and preachers to lead prayers, give lectures and animate religious vigils in mosques during the month of Ramadan. A delegation that will also see the sending of 253 additional preachers and preachers, mobilized by the Hassan II foundation, to supervise the Moroccan community based in Europe.
A careful selection initiated by the High Council of Ulemas, chaired by Mohammed VI, and remains the only recognized authority in charge of all eighty-two regional councils spread over the entire territory. While in each province there is a local council, it is the latter who propose to the General Secretariat of the high council of ulema the imams ready to send as part of this specific mission in the month of Ramadan. “We are talking about official institutions that have our full confidence,” says our interlocutor.
Thus, the psalmoders, whose ministry requires as a test, to memorize the totality of the Koran and to provide a theological reflection of the sacred texts, but also of preachers and preachers. The religious personnel sent “will have to direct prayers, animate conferences and religious vigils in mosques and places of worship,” said the Ministry of Habous in a statement. “It is almost 95% to exercise during night prayers, much requested by our community abroad,” said Mohamed Rifki. Thus, these psalmoders and preachers have the essential mission of informing the faithful about the practice of fasting and answering questions that may emanate from it. Missions in addition to those “to unify the ranks of the Moroccan community and strengthening the links of its members”, but also aim to “ensure the religious guidance of Moroccan nationals in Europe in accordance with national constants”.
In remarks, the president of the gathering of the Muslims of Belgium Salah Echellaoui, after having welcomed 81 imams and preachers coming from the ministry and the Hassan II Foundation, sees in this delegation a way to “enlighten the members of the community and correct some interpretations that may hinder the understanding of religion and the practice of worship”. “The Moroccan model,” he added, “offers concrete answers to the religious and spiritual needs of the sons of the community, which requires support from them during the month of Ramadan in various aspects, in the form of useful advice in family life, social and religious practice.”
Paid 30,000 dirhams
This religious framework is done in concert with chancelleries, but also religious associations established in countries where the Moroccan diaspora lives. In France, for example, it is the Union des mosques de France, which submits requests for specific assignments to Moroccan authorities. “The choice responds to the real need of representative entities of Moroccan mosques established in Europe,” says Mohamed Rifki, also Secretary General of the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Ulemas. And to add: It is very difficult to answer each mosque individually. That is why Morocco encourages these mosques to regroup in order to unify their activities”.
The imams will be affected and distributed in the different mosques that have made the request. The members of the delegation are divided according to the geographical importance of the members of the Moroccan community between France (164 sent members), Spain (56), the Netherlands (24), Sweden (6), Denmark (9), Germany (26), Italy (62) and Belgium (49) for those sent by the Ministry of Habous. Countries whose month of fasting officially began this Monday, May 6th.
Note that this shipment concerns other countries, outside the European Union, since Canada will benefit from twenty-five members while Gabon, the only African country concerned this year, will host a single Moroccan religious. The ministry also said that “the countries that do not have official organizations representing the Moroccan religious field were not included for lack of real guarantees for the reception of the Moroccan delegation (Portugal, Switzerland, Romania …)”.
Religious personnel sent receive a remuneration of 1000 dirhams per day, or 30,000 dirhams per month, knowing that the care depends on the entities that host them. Conditions to which the ministry is attached, both on one side and the other. “We also ask for the guarantee that the imams we send are well received from the beginning to the end of their stay,” said our interlocutor in charge of sending imams dependent on the Ministry of Habous. In return, chanting and preaching sign a charter of good conduct. Preachers are called not to discuss political issues, polemics, and to act in accordance with the laws of the host country, under penalty of receiving sanctions. So is the reputation of the spiritual training of imams in Morocco, “cited as an example” by the various chancelleries concerned, concludes Mohamed Rifki.