Moroccans walk by shops at a market in the old city of Rabat, Morocco, Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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Morocco is promoting its moderate version of Islam as a counterweight to the widening jihadist threat in the Sahara, training hundreds of imams from affected countries, but some question its motives.Morocco has kept a tight grip on the religious sphere, which is closely tied up with the legitimacy of the country's monarchy.King Mohammad VI, who claims descent from the Prophet Mohammad, is accorded the title "commander of the faithful" and has a religious TV and radio station named after him, has been busily burnishing Morocco's image as a model Muslim state.Other features of Morocco's Muslim culture include the important social role played by the Sufi brotherhoods, which Toufiq has encouraged since the king appointed him in 2002, and hundreds of female religious instructors have also been trained in recent years alongside the imams.Officials insist that Morocco's Islamic model helps to explain why radical ideologies have largely failed to take hold in the kingdom, which has suffered only two major terrorist attacks since 2003, and why other nations are now looking to Rabat.
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