Alert: Morocco – Dozens of Islamic schools shut down

Islamic Human Rights Commission

18 November 2008

Alert: Morocco – Dozens of Islamic schools shut down

1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letters

1. Summary

Following certain statements made by a religious leader in Morocco, authorities have ordered the closure of dozens of religious schools in the country. Some reports state that more than 60 schools teaching Quran and Islam have been shut down.

2. Background

Sheikh Mohammed Ben Abderahman al-Maghraoui, a Marrakech scholar, was denounced by the highest religious authority in the country, the Council of Ulamas, when he publicised his opinion on his website stating that a 9-year-old girl can get married if she is physically fit. The Council of Ulamas is appointed by the state. The Moroccon authorities reacted by banning Sheikh Al-Maghraoui’s website and closing more than sixty Islamic schools all around the country.

Although, the Sheikh and the management board of these schools have clearly stated that they are not connected to each other, it is not understood why these schools have been shut. According to reports, this move indicates that the authorities had the intention of shutting down these schools prior to Al-Maghroaui’s announcement of his opinion on young girls’ marriage and the authorities were merely looking for an excuse.

3. Action required
IHRC requests campaigners to write to the Ambassador of Morocco to their respective country and appeal against the shut down of religious schools.

UK campaigners can write to:

HE Mr Mohammed Belmahi
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco
49 Queen’s Gate Gardens
London SW7 5NE

Fax +44 207 225 3862

4. Sample letters

Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.


1. Sample letter

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

Dear Mr Belmahi

Re: Dozens of Islamic schools shut down in Morocco

I am very concerned about the recent action taken by the Moroccan authorities to shut down dozens of Islamic schools all over the country.

According to reports, the authorities closed these schools following statements made by a religious scholar, Shiekh Al-Maghraoui, that nine-year-old girls can get married if they are physically fit. Both Al-Maghraoui and the school management boards have reportedly denied any connection to each other.

Regardless of the statements made by Mr Al-Maghroaui, I feel there is no excuse to shut down religious schools which are disseminating Islamic education in a peaceful manner. By doing so the authorities are depriving students of their right to seek knowledge and educate themselves in disciplines associated with their beliefs. I believe this move obstructs the rights of the Moroccan citizens to peacefully practice their religion.

I therefore urge you to make efforts to re-open these schools and allow citizens their right to practice their faith in peace.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]


For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below:


IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Please help IHRC by visiting and making a donation or buying an item from our on-line store.

If you want to subscribe to the IHRC list please send an email to

If you want to unsubscribe from the IHRC list please send an email from your subscribed email address to

If you are reusing this alert, please cite the source.

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

Join the Struggle for Justice. Join IHRC.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183