Morocco forms council to preserve Islam

May 13, 2004 at 10:20 PM

RABAT, Morocco, May 13 (UPI) -- King Mohammed VI announced Thursday the Moroccan government's establishment of a council aimed to preserve Moroccan Islam against extremism.

Mohammed said the legislation was "a three-part plan designed to overhaul and revamp the domain of religious affairs in order to shield Morocco against the perils of extremism and terrorism. It is also meant to preserve the distinctive Moroccan identity, which is characterized by moderation and tolerance."

Mohammed VI's speech described the creation of the Ulema Council, which will oversee religious developments and teachings in Morocco. The council, the first of its kind in the Arab world, will be an open forum.

The Moroccan Government also invited women religious scholars to participate in the council, "doing justice to women and treating them on an equal footing with men."

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