Wire Service: AFP
On April 28, 2006 Agence France-Presse reported, "Morocco has just graduated its first team of women preachers to be deployed as a vanguard in its fight against any slide towards Islamic extremism. 'This is a rare experiment in the Muslim world,' proudly stated Muhammad Mahfudh, director of the centre attached to the Islamic affairs ministry that trained this first class of 50 women. Ministry spokesman Hamid Rono said it was the 'first (of its kind) in the Islamic world'. This pioneer group of Murshidat, or guides, who finished a 12-month course in early April, were trained to 'accompany and orient' Muslim faithful, notably in prisons, hospitals and schools, said Mahfudh. They will earn a salary of 5,000 dirhams ($560) a month. Samira Marzouk, in her 30s like most of the others, exclaims how 'proud' she is to be part of this first group. She sees their mission as one to 'fill in the gaps that prevent a solid framework for religion'. 'We are going to teach a tolerant Islam by focusing on the underprivileged classes,' [Marzouk said]. They will notably work with women and children in poor ghettoes seen as fertile ground for extremist recruiters."