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This new policy seems to imitate the diaspora policies employed by Turkey and Algeria and opens up the possibility for developing an on-the-ground understanding of the needs and demands of Moroccan Muslims abroad.

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In addition, it establishes an extra layer of control over the content and form of what is said in mosques abroad. Home state oversight of the religious field abroad can prove to be quite effective at times: when Moroccan authorities began to feel that their erstwhile partners, the Rally of French Muslims RMF had become too close to the Moroccan Islamist Justice and Development Party PJD in , they wasted no time in replacing them with a new national associative structure through the creation of the Union of French Mosques UMF the following year.

Towards a European Islam | J. Nielsen | Palgrave Macmillan

The Franco-Moroccan students receive full scholarships and study specially designed programmes with the goal of returning and taking up positions as religious leaders back home. The number of French students hovers between 30 and 50, which is small when compared with the Moroccan and other foreign students including hundreds from Western African countries ; however, these European-born and Moroccan-trained religious leaders nevertheless represent a significant new variable that will have an impact on the development of Islamic authorities in Western Europe.

In a similar fashion, the Qarawiyyin University of Fez, which is tied to the Habous ministry and supervises the Mohammed VI imam training institute, signed an agreement with the University of Siena in Italy in so as to participate in the training of Italian imams. Despite the many obstacles, recent Moroccan religious diaspora policy has endeavoured to adapt to the realities of Moroccan Muslims living in Western European contexts. These new policy initiatives are designed to accomplish a set of complementary goals: institutionalize a more direct and permanent presence on the ground for Moroccan religious authorities abroad; retain control over the intermediaries in the diaspora mosque associations and Islamic federations by means of financial subsidies and religious personnel; and influence the development of Islam abroad by training the next generation of religious leaders.

Yet what might be the contribution of Morocco to a European Islam that goes beyond a simple reaffirmation of Moroccan nationalism? Which authorities will it listen to when deciding the starting date for Ramadan? Of course, the most obvious answer is that there will be as much theological diversity in Europe as in any other Muslim society. Nevertheless, the development of distinct transnational religious fields in Western Europe that are fragmented along ethnic and linguistic lines, but which are within a generalized context of Muslims as minority communities, raises the question of the degree to which this diversity will simply reflect the national origins of migrants and their descendants abroad.

In the case of Morocco, state religious officials are apt to mention that the Maliki school gives special importance to local community traditions and the concept of maslaha over more rigid literal interpretations. In the best of worlds, these few cases may represent examples where Moroccan national religious traditions could plausibly make a contribution to the theological development of European Islam. However, it is important to keep in mind that when religion is tied to the state it is just as beholden to the changing contingencies of state interests as any other element of public policy.

Indeed, Morocco had no qualms about supporting Wahhabi Salafism in the past in its bid to quash leftist movements in the s and s.


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At the same time, despite the worries of Western European lawmakers, the influence of home states such as Morocco in the religious field abroad remains tenuous. True, Morocco may play a key role in establishing certain frames of reference for its diaspora communities abroad and it has the capacity to act as a source of symbolic and monetary capital.

However, this structural reality does not diminish the agency of those concerned: ultimately, European Islam will be the reflection of what millions of European Muslims make of their faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Paris: Presses de la Renaissance, Paris: Hachette, , pp. New York: Routledge, , p. Stanford: Stanford University Press, Halverson, Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam.

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New York: Palgrave, Web Agency Milano Bluedog. Paypal Carta di credito prosegui. Nevertheless, thanks to a series of reforms in the religious field, Morocco seems to have re-appropriated its image of potential model and is trying to export it to Europe as well. This article was published in Oasis Read the table of contents. Stay up to date: sign up for our newsletter I authorize the use of my data after agreeing to the privacy-policy.


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