Rabat – Hezbollah’s social and religious offensive of propagating the Shiite ideology among Moroccans living in Ivory Coast has recently met with a firm Moroccan reaction, a governmental counter-offensive to keep and maintain Morocco’s religious thrall on its citizens living abroad.
According to Assabah in its March 18 and 19 issue, Hezbollah tried to capitalize on the huge number of Lebanese established in the West African country in order to infiltrate Moroccan circles in the country, with the purpose of preaching and converting Moroccans to Shiite Islam.
According to Assabah, the ideological battle was primarily fought in schools, many of which, built by powerful Lebanese businessmen, are educational hubs for Moroccans and other Muslims in the Ivorian capital.
Assabah explains in its report that while schools built by some Lebanese nationals are “good and affordable”, the unseen cost of sending kids there resides in kids’ exposure, during religious courses, to Shiite creeds and ideology.
Knowing that Hezbollah used similar tactics with Moroccans in Belgium, Assabah explains, Moroccan authorities took appropriate measures this time to thwart this religious conversion project.
Beyond the traditional economic activities that many Hezbollah-leaning Lebanese are engaged in throughout the continent, it seems, according to reports, that the global vision is to expand Shiite Islam by building cultural and spiritual channels, especially via schools.
As far as diplomacy is concerned, Assabah further noted, many of the so-called Lebanese businessmen have allegedly invested considerable funds in lobbying activities aimed at containing the success of Morocco’s Africa agenda, an indirect way of countering Morocco’s ‘moderate’ Sunni Islam.
Morocco’s counteroffensive made use of the King’s repeated visits in the continent to reinforce religious cooperation with many fellow African countries.
More practically, as affordable schools are said to be the most effective tool in Hezbollah’s traditional proselytizing missions, Moroccan authorities have offered to take in charge 50 to 70% of school fees for Moroccans in Ivory Coast. This policy should enable the government to take up to 99% of Moroccan children out of Shiite schools, according to estimates.