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Morocco's King Mohammed VI attends Friday prayers at the Malik ibn Anas mosque, Carthage, Tunis, June 6, 2014 (AP photo by Aimen Zine).

Maghreb, Sahel Struggle With Religion as Anti-Terror Policy Tool

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016

MARRAKECH, Morocco—There is a strong consensus among counterterrorism experts in the Maghreb and the Sahel that comprehensive and integrated approaches are needed to confront the threat from al-Qaida, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and their regional affiliates and rivals. Military force is necessary but not sufficient to deal a significant blow to this all-consuming threat: Everything from educational reform to inclusive economic growth is on the policy table. One of the trickiest components of such a comprehensive approach is what governments can do to nurture peaceful practices in Islam, and tolerance between Muslims and followers of other faiths.

Morocco has some ideas. Though still not a member of the African Union due to the Western Sahara dispute, Morocco sees itself as a major player in the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa. As part of an effort to facilitate information-sharing and promote coordination in the fight against terror, a Moroccan nongovernmental organization, the Moroccan Center for Strategic Studies, convenes an Arab-African conference each year. Last week’s Marrakech Security Forum was the seventh of these annual events. ...

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