The Kingdom of Morocco has armed itself with a dramatically different weapon: using the soft power of religious women to quell violence before it happens. They call it “spiritual security.”
Sanae Elmarouani, 23, already holds a Master’s degree in Islamic studies. But she’s happy being back in class at Dar al Hadith al Hassania, studying in a prestigious program to prepare her for a vocation in religious service as a spiritual guide. Her school is a small, ornately decorated building in Morocco’s capital city of Rabat where men train to become imams, Islamic priests, and now –– since 2006 –– women prepare to become their female counterparts, mourchidat.
The setting for this unique school, its high ceilings intricately carved and tiled, is rich in Moroccan tradition. The goal of the program is similar. When asked how women with religion as their only weapon can possibly expect to beat back the forces of radicalism, Sanae is confident . . .