The holy city of Kairouan, in Tunisia, hosted a Maghreb seminar on the Maliki rite on the 16th and 17th of March 2010.
This conference is the second event dedicated to the main theological school in the Maghreb, after the one that took place in Fez, in Morocco, in June of last year, and in which Tunisian and Moroccan theologians met to discuss the creation of a Union of Arab Maghreb Ulemas, in order to mark the cultural territory of the Maliki rite and protect it against the intrusion of foreign rites.
It should be noted that this had already started in 2006 when Maghreb theologians had severely criticized the intrusion of the famous Egyptian theologian Sheik Youssef al Karadhawi in matters regarding the Maliki rite.
Maghreb theologians have finally sounded the alarm that was much awaited since the 90s.
In fact, the Maghreb’s Islamic culture and customs are seriously threatened by values coming from other schools, which are Islamic, yet very different and sometimes even dangerous.
This started with the Afghan dress, ending with the Burqaa that snuck in the Maghreb through TV and satellite channels. The symbolism of these trends should not be underestimated, since they are only the visible part of the huge load of imported values that are not necessarily positive.
Polygamy, for example, has never been a fact of life in the Maghreb. In Mauritania, polygamy is practically obsolete due to local customs. In Tunisia, the famous Kairouan marriage contract enables women to prevent their husbands from getting a second wife; besides, polygamy was legally abolished 54 years ago. In Morocco, the first Islamic University was founded in Fez by a woman. Today, however, young people, including women, claim polygamy or adopt marriage contracts that do not guarantee any rights to wives, and whose Islamic foundation is even doubtful. This is also another trend that came from the Gulf countries.
If the decisions emanating from the meeting in Fez and the proposals issued from that of Kairouan were to be realized, Maghreb people would at least be able to choose their rite knowingly, as many still believe that the propaganda and proselytism coming from Eastern satellite channels are divine words, and not a theological school whose teaching has been established over centuries based on the characteristics and customs of countries that are culturally different from the Maghreb.
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