Rabat - While Morocco pays local imams MAD 1,500-2,000 monthly, it pays imams in Ceuta and Melilla double.
Rabat – While Morocco pays local imams MAD 1,500-2,000 monthly, it pays imams in Ceuta and Melilla double.
In a press report aired on Spanish channel Telecinco, the president of the Bezu mosque in Ceuta, Mohammed Ali, said that Morocco pays about €500 monthly for each imam in Ceuta.
He said that there are 42 official mosques, and there are up to three imams in each of the mosques around the Spanish enclave.
Morocco pays €756,000 per year for imams in Ceuta.
Another report from local media outlet Red Ceuta said Morocco’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs decided to help Moroccan imams in the two enclaves because they do not receive aid from the Spanish government.
The report, which dates back to 2017, notes Ceuta “has 15 mosques and 16 prayer rooms for a population of 42,200 Muslims.”
The report complained about the management of mosques, which require financial aid.
Morocco’s Ministry Islamic Affairs intervened to fund the mosques.
According to the report, the ministry “is very organized and respected throughout the world, as it was a pioneer in establishing guidelines for imam training and is currently an imam factory for everyone, so much so that in many countries, Westerners entrust to Morocco the administration and appointment of the imams in the mosques in their territories.”
The report added that the Ministry of Islamic Affairs manages “deals with all the expenses generated by the 31 prayer points in Ceuta.”
The funds that the ministry must allocate for imams’ salaries exceed €700,000 per year, in addition to other expenses like electricity and water.
What about imams in Morocco?
In Morocco, imams receive around MAD 1,500-2,000. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs also offers housing and health coverage for imams. However, imams do not receive retirement pensions.
An imam speaking anonymously told Morocco World News today that housing and health coverage is not enough. “Once they don’t need you, you will not have the right to a retirement pension.” He explained imams do not have permanent work contracts.
“If an imam undergoes a surgery, the health coverage compensates him. However, if that person is 60-year-old, he receives no retirement pension.”
The imam, who works in a mosque in Temara, near Rabat, told MWN that the government needs to meet the demands of imams.
“Imams in Morocco should be independent; they cannot join any NGOs or a union that can defend their rights,” he said.
According to MWN’s source, the Ministry of Finance does not allocate a certain budget for imams.
In his interview with MWN, the imam also said that his colleagues across the country do not receive additional income when they have children, like others in the public sector receive.
The government, according to MWN’s interviewee, have excuses. “They said that since they are providing us with housing and that they have a monthly salary of MAD 1,500 and 2,000, that is enough and that they don’t have to increase our salaries.”
The source said that some imams choose to read the Qur’an at ceremonies and funerals for a small fee to help themselves financially. They receive MAD 100 or 200 for such events. However, he said, this remains insufficient.
We are not allowed to protest
Imams should say yes to everything from the government. Imams are not allowed to protest, the imam told MWN.
“Imams should not have any links with politics, unions or NGOs.”
He added that the government does not consider the imams’ mission a job. “They believe that the imam is doing religious rituals, and that is it.”
In contrast, the imam said that imams have important tasks. They should be mobilized; they do not have weekends. “We wake up before dawn to be ready for morning prayers. After morning prayers, we get ready for afternoon prayers (her and al asr), sunset (maghrib) and evening prayers.”
The anonymous imam called on the government to meet their demands and consider imams as employees in the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
He said everyone, including the lowest paid people in the ministry, have more rights than imams, whose job is to convey religious values.