Morocco’s Contribution to Countering Violent Extremism in Africa and the Middle East

Keynote remarks by:
 H.E. Mbarka Bouaida
Minister-Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Kingdom of Morocco

Panel Discussion on the Religious Approach to Deradicalization:
Ahmed Abbadi
Secretary-General
Rabita Muhammadia of ‘Ulamas

Responses by:
Geneive Abdo
Fellow, Middle East Program
Stimson Center

Stephen Grand
Executive Director, Middle East Strategy Task Force
Atlantic Council

Moderated by: 
J. Peter Pham
Director, Africa Center
Atlantic Council

The recent terrorist attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis underscores the growing danger extremist ideologies and violence pose to the North African region and beyond. Countries still unsettled by the tumult of the Arab Spring are now confronting the radicalizing influence of ISIS and other extremist organizations as thousands of North Africans flock to join the militants. 

The Kingdom of Morocco has not been spared the challenge of radicalization as more than one thousand of its citizens have joined terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria in recent years. However, Morocco's innovative counter-radicalization program, launched after terrorist attacks in the early 2000s, continues to expand and offers hope to the entire region. Its comprehensive approach provides social services and economic opportunities specifically targeted at young people. It also focuses on combatting radical ideologies on the religious level by training students and imams in the moderate Maliki rite of Sunni Islam and Sufi traditions for service in Morocco as well as elsewhere in Africa and even in Europe.

H.E. Mbarka Bouaida will provide insights into the political context that led to Morocco's creation and continuing commitment to its program of combatting violent extremism at home and abroad, including the US-Morocco Framework for Cooperation on counterterrorism, which was signed at the margins of the historic US-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014. Bouaida will also discuss the US-Moroccan Strategic Dialogue, which will be taking place during her visit to Washington. Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary-General of the Rabita Muhammadia of ‘Ulamas, has been at the forefront of Morocco’s effort to promote moderate Islam and will speak about the progress made as well as the remaining challenges to countering extremist interpretations of Islam. 

DATE:              Wednesday, April 8, 2015
TIME:                10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
LOCATION:        Atlantic Council
                        1030 15th St. NW, 12th Floor
                        Washington, DC 20005

This event is on-the-record and open for press coverage; members of the media should contact [email protected] to register.