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Asma Charif and Bouchra Berrady about Women's Empowerment and Gender-responsive Prevention in Morocco |

Asma Charif and Bouchra Berrady about Women's Empowerment and Gender-responsive Prevention in Morocco

Interview with Asma Charif and Bouchra Berrady, Institut Mohammed VI pour la formation des Imams Morchidines et Morchidates, Rabat, Morocco


This interview was conducted during the conference "Glocal Islamism 2019 - Phenomena, Interdependencies, Prevention”.
The full documentation is available under: Interner Link:

This publication does not constitute an expression of the views of the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Responsibility for the content lies with the interview partner. Please refer to our further print and online publications as well as to our event calendar. There, further reading and other supplementary materials on the subject, as well as diverging arguments and perspectives, are offered.

Conceptualisation Interview with “The Morchidats”
“Glocal Islamism 2019 – Phenomena, Interdependencies, Prevention” Conference

“I think only we women can relate to what other women are dealing with.” This one sentence uttered by Karima in Rosa Rogers’ documentary Casablanca Calling pinpoints the unique aspect that renders her daily work so important for her and her community.

Since 2009, she has been working as one of 600 female Morchidats in Morocco. Teaching a moderate Islam that focuses on kindness, fairness and tolerance is both her mission and passion. While she spends most of her time working in schools and mosques, other Morchidats visit boarding schools, orphanages, prisons and even venture out to the fields of rural regions. They tend to and counsel mainly women and girls facing a multitude of challenges ranging from family issues to bereavements and everyday problems. All Morchidats share the conviction that solutions to these problems go hand in hand with spreading a tolerant Islam that counters the cultural traditions justified for decades by religious rules.

Female Muslim scholars like the Morchidats in Morocco are a fairly new phenomenon and set the Kingdom apart from other Arab States. In 2006, the Institut Mohammed VI Pour La Formation Des Imams, Morchidines, et Morchidates, which is under the Moroccan Ministry for Islamic Affairs, opened its doors to women too. The free one-year training course for both women and men not only provides in-depth knowledge of Islam but also covers other topics like politics or psychology. Requirements for admission to the programme include a finished Bachelor’s degree, passing a test and being able to recite half of the Quran off by heart. There are approximately 250 participants in each cohort, with an even balance between female and male scholars.

Opening Islamic studies to women was part of the Kingdom’s reaction to the devastating suicide bombings in Casablanca in May 2003, which claimed the lives of 45 people. Since then, the Morchidats and others have been spreading a tolerant interpretation of Islam in order to counter other forms prone to radicalisation. Morocco consequently became the first Muslim country with women as religious leaders. This not only provided added value for the fight against radicalisation and the spreading of a balanced interpretation of Islam but also fostered equality for women in Morocco’s society. After overcoming initial challenges concerning their acceptance in society, Morocco’s women have garnered a strong voice from participating in social discussions that they still use to underline the importance of educating women and girls and to fight against child marriages. Their work strongly benefits from the decisive leadership of King Mohammed VI, who actively promoted the inclusion of female scholars. His family claims to be directly descended from the Prophet Mohammed and therefore enjoys both political and religious authority with the almost exclusively Sunni population of Morocco. In March 2019 during the visit of Pope Francis, Mohammed VI once again emphasised that “to tackle radicalism, the solution is neither military nor financial. That solution has but one name: Education”. The Morchidats combine their daily work of religious education with social work, visit deprived areas, provide active counselling tailored to national and social contexts and have therefore been a substantial part of the aforementioned solution since 2006.

Mehr Informationen

  • Cinematography and editing: Musebox Videoproduktion & Rami Hamze<br> Interview: Samy Charchira

  • Produktion: 17.10.2019

  • Spieldauer: 18 Min.

  • hrsg. von: Federal Agency for Civic Education