Islamism, Moroccan-Style: The Ideas of Sheikh Yassine (Middle East Quarterly)

MDC Principal Research Fellow Dr. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman examines Moroccan Islamism.

Is Morocco's monarchy vulnerable to Islamist challenge? For now, the answer would appear to be "no." The Moroccan monarchy, unlike the classic "revolutionary" Arab republics (Algeria, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt), explicitly invokes religion as part of its legitimizing formula. The Alawite dynasty, which has ruled the country since the late 1600s, claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad; according to the Moroccan constitution the king is "commander of the faithful" (amir al-mu'minin), conferring upon him supreme spiritual as well as temporal power. This claim to religious legitimacy, personified in the monarch himself, is even more far-reaching than that of other Arab monarchies where Islam is also invoked to legitimize kingly rule (e.g., Saudi Arabia and Jordan).