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Madrid : Mr. Boussouf’s Interview with El Pais

Friday, 20 November 2015

Mr. Abdellah Boussouf, Secretary General of the Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME), granted an interview to the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais on November 18th, 2015.

During the interview with the Spanish newspaper, Mr. Boussouf has stressed that it is time “that the institutions and governments work together to promote a European Islam which comprises values of human rights and democracy”. Besides, he denounced the absence of control on places of worship and Imams in Europe, and argued for “the democratization of mosques and the integration of women”.

The Council’s Secretary General profusely tackled the issue of training for Imams in Europe, which requires special care because, according to him, “we have remarked that commensurably with the official educational system, another education system is being established via mosques, and this is very worrying because it is intimately linked to the transmission of culture and religion”. He added that this could bring about dire inefficiencies in “the absence of religious leaders, known to authorized Imams and ready to perform such task.”

“A place of worship necessitates trained Imams, perfectly familiar with their culture and the host country’s culture. Moreover, it is indispensable to learn the language of the country of residence, which is not always the case nowadays”, Mr. Boussouf adduced.

He underlined the necessity for the collaboration of everyone to “shun anarchy and the lack of control for places of worship”. In the same vein, he stated that “the official places of worship, ruled by institutions in collaboration with religious officials and leaders, can change into -cultural- meeting places”.

Asked about the case of Spain, Mr. Boussouf raised the issue of representativeness by stressing that it was not reflecting the reality of the community of Moroccan origin in Spain as “there are two trends or movements, which are asymmetric, mutually exclusive, and do not respond to the political and ideological questions of various religious schools in different Muslim countries”. He also pointed out that for the case of Spain, the issue is more complex because “the Council does not manage to do its work in collaboration with this host country”.

CCME’s Secretary General also gave examples of ongoing cooperation, namely with France and Germany. For France, he recalled that an agreement was signed in the presence of the French  president François Hollande and H.M. King Mohammed VI regarding the training of Imams; “We have already started training 50 French imams, who are currently studying in Rabat. At the same time, French universities participate in this traineeship by teaching them French culture, and the history of France, of religions, and of sociology”. Mr. Boussouf further cited the example of the collaboration with Germany; “We launched an experience with Goethe Institute in Germany to teach German to imams of official mosques, in order to enable them to also communicate with the German faithful”.


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