Category: Morocco

Ann Wainscott on Morocco’s Religious Foreign Policy

During the past two years, the Moroccan government has begun exporting various religious education programs as part of its foreign policy strategy in the North and West African region. Prof. Ann Wainscott explains how this new development is both an outgrowth if its domestic religious strategy, and a response by other nations to adopt some of the policies implemented in Morocco. The success of this foreign policy, as witnessed by its embrace by nations such as Mali and Senegal, is in part a function of Morocco’s cultural-historical legitimacy in the region, the existence of pre-existing educational institutions, and the ability to link religious education to great economic integration. Prof. Wainscott also explains the unique flavor of Moroccan and West African Islam.

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Ann Wainscott on the Politics of Islam in Morocco

What explains the emergence of political Islam, particularly a Salafi variant of this movement, in Morocco? Ann Wainscott, a graduate student at the University of Florida, advances a novel explanation relating to educational reform. In an attempt to forestall advancing leftist influence in society during the 1960s and ’70s, the regime of King Hasan II promoted greater Islamic education within the country’s public school system that had the unintended consequence of creating new space for Islamists. While this is not the only reason for the emergence of an Islamist movement in Morocco, it represents an often-overlooked piece of the puzzle.

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