By Said Temsamani
By Said Temsamani
Morocco World News
Rabat, February 14, 2012
Morocco can play a significant role in brokering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. A progressive Muslim country with both African and European influences, it is strategically located to be the center of a Western-Muslim dialogue.
King Mohammed VI represents the kind of moderate and progressive world views on which the Western world should capitalize and promote as a formidable and open-minded new brand of Islam. Under Mohammed VI, Morocco has become increasingly more democratic, and the rule of law and human rights have been reinforced. It is a haven for moderate Islam: both men and women preachers have a role in promoting an Islam based on tolerance and respect of other religions.
The King has significantly advanced the causes of women’s rights, freedom of the press, and the rule of law. In Morocco, women can vote, drive, obtain a divorce, and hold senior positions, thanks largely to a new family code which was initiated by the King. The Mourchidat are the Islamic world’s only female clerics, a program started by the King in 2004. The Mourchidat are a rare experiment in the Muslim world.
But most importantly, the King holds unique authority among both Israelis and Palestinians as a credible and honest broker, capable of facilitating a dialogue between the two. As a direct descendant of the Prophet, he possesses an authenticity within the Muslim world that sets him apart as a conduit of Islam.
Because of this lineage, Palestinians trust and respect him, despite his efforts to promote a more liberal Muslim democracy, which has earned him the condemnation of more radical Islamic fundamentalists. And as an advocate for security and coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, he’s earned the favor of many Jewish leaders who see him as perhaps one of the only moderate Arab leaders who recognize Israel’s legitimacy.
As King, he is Commander of the Faithful, but King Mohammed VI has positioned himself as commander of all faiths, and not just Islam, which signals to Christians and Jews that he is open-minded and a natural conduit between the three faiths. His position has always been clear : security for Israel and dignity for the Palestinians. If the West focuses on these two principles, as he has, the objective has a useful clarity and direction.
Because King Mohammed VI is the literal embodiment of moderate Islam, and simultaneously promotes a Western and democratic world view, Morocco is uniquely positioned to offer the kind of insight on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that America desperately needs. While America should continue to play an integral role in establishing peace in the Middle East, the aid of a third party like Morocco would be invaluable.
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both met with Mohammed VI during their terms to gain insight into the Middle East crisis, and Bush in particular relied on Morocco to promote a more democratic and progressive brand of Islam to the rest of the Arab world. When Barack Obama took office, King Mohammed VI wrote him a letter, suggesting the ways in which the president could communicate better with the Muslim world. This seems the perfect opportunity to seek the advice of someone better qualified to navigate through the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his speech in Cairo, Obama rightly pointed out that Morocco was the first country to recognize America as an independent nation. Perhaps Obama would be wise to repay the favor, and recognize Morocco as an important delegate in advancing Middle East peace.
King Mohammed’s s inspirational words still ring in the ears of both Palestinians, Israelis, and the world community: “The world still had a long way to go before states and peoples learn to accept diversity. It was of utmost importance that the United Nations became the standard bearer of peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding and serve as a catalyst for a new form of cooperation; one based on solidarity and dedicated to achieving the dignity and well-being of all people.”
Editing by Jasmine Davey
Consultant and Political Analyst, Said Tamsamani is a freelance editorialist for Foxnews.com. He is a former senior political adviser at the US Embassy in Rabat, Morocco. He holds a Master’s degree in political and diplomatic studies.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved