Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


The purpose of this paper is to analyze if the Moroccan state’s efforts to promote Sufism have effected the youth perceptions of and engagement with Sufism. The study first contextualizes Sufism in Morocco and then addresses why and how the state has reformed the religious sphere since the 2003 Casablanca bombings. The King in a 2004 speech announced Sufism as of the cornerstones of Moroccan Islam and has since heavily promoted it through media, financial support of zawias, and the appointment of Ahmed Toufiq to Minister of Islamic Affairs. The state views Sufism as a tolerant, peaceful, and depoliticized way of practicing Islam that can counter the growing influence of extremist Salafi and Islamist ideologies. By conducting surveys and interviews with a variety of Moroccan youth on Sufism, through the analysis of the academic discourse on Sufism in Morocco, and by using the results of a 2010 national survey on youth engagement with Sufism the paper provides a picture of how Moroccan youth are engaging with Sufism and its influence at the local level. While the state has actively promoted Sufism in the public sphere this paper shows Sufism, while viewed positively, is not a critical aspect of Islam in lives of young local Moroccans.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Islamic Studies | Politics and Social Change | Religion | Sociology of Religion


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