Project

Morocco as a Moderate Islamic Hub

In 2014, Morocco became one of the first countries in the region to develop a legal path for migrants to become residents, opening its doors to people from sub-saharan Africa who increasingly find themselves barred from other destinations because of the enormous strain of refugees from Syria and the rest of the Middle East.

Morocco welcomed its African neighbors because the country needs workers and cooperation from the rest of the continent to achieve its goal of being a center for trade and investment. The new immigration policy--along with other overtures, have paid off. In 2017, Morocco was admitted back into the African Union after a 33-year absence. The reunion is part of a political (and business) shift led by the king of Morocco to embrace the rest of Africa, including its migrants, and to become a global leader on issues that have divided other parts of the world. The country has undertaken an ambitious energy policy to produce 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030, remarkable given the recent retreat by the United States from the Paris climate accord.

Journalist Jackie Spinner, a former correspondent with The Washington Post, explores the various ways in which Morocco is repositioning itself as a financial center and politically stable country in the chaotic Middle East and North African region. A key part of the strategy is Morocco's desire to be a hub for moderate Islam and to promote more moderate government policy in general. All of these changes are happening as society grapples with what opportunities could come as a result and what may be lost.

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