Morocco’s Islamic affairs minister also spoke about the reopening of mosques, saying that virus transmission is not a threat in prayer spaces if preventive measures are applied and respected.
Rabat – Minister of Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq said on Monday that Morocco’s renowned imam training program will resume in January 2021.
Toufiq assured the resumption of the training program will take into account the preventive measures against COVID-19.
Morocco has bilateral agreements with dozens of countries to train their imams. Morocco’s experience in the field attracts thousands of imams from various African countries, including Mali.
Morocco launched the program in 2004 at the local religious council in Rabat.
The program offers training on several topics, including Sharia (Islamic law), as well as a number of humanistic disciplines.
According to the Mohammed VI Institute for training Imams, Mourchidines, and Mourchidates, which the King established in 2014, the number of Moroccan graduates from the institution reached 2,100 as of 2019.
The institute also receives students from Mali, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Gabon, Chad, and France.
The institute also announced that it will begin hosting students from Niger and Thailand.
Reopening of mosques in Morocco
Morocco’s Islamic affairs minister said the opening of all mosques remains dependent on successfully eliminating the risks of COVID-19 contamination through the country’s upcoming vaccination campaign.
Toufiq recalled the decision of authorities to allow the opening of 1,700 additional mosques in November to ease the pressure on prayer halls in certain regions, where it was difficult to respect social distance requirements.
Regarding the spread of COVID-19, the minister affirmed that prayer at mosques does not increase the risk of transmission of the virus as long as preventive measures are applied and respected.
Morocco closed all mosques in March. The number of mosques in Morocco is estimated at over 50,000.
The Islamic Affairs ministry announced the opening of another group of mosques in November, including in Rabat and nearby regions.
Despite eased lockdown measures throughout the country, Morocco remains under a state of emergency until December 10.
The state of emergency allows authorities to take action in case of the outbreak of new COVID-19 hotspots.
Several regions remain under strict lockdown, including Casablanca. The city and nearby provinces continue to record a remarkable number of COVID-19 cases every day.
As of November 23, Morocco has confirmed 327, 528 COVID-19 cases, including 275,158 recoveries and 5,396 deaths.