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Morocco announces pay hikes for imams

By Hassan Benmehdi for Magharebia in Casablanca – 07/10/11

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Forty-six thousand imams across Morocco will receive a pay boost starting the beginning of next year, the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs announced last week.

An estimated 541 million dirhams will be allocated to benefit imams. In addition, the monthly supplement paid to religious preachers will be up by 300 dirhams.

The government will continue to work to improve the financial, professional and social standing of imams to reflect their important role in society and the work they do in the mosques, the religious affairs ministry said in a statement.

The reactions to the announcement ranged from applause to scepticism to outright criticism.

The decision will motivate imams to "become more involved in reforming religious life, and fighting the wave of extremist ideologies flooding in from abroad and undermining Morocco’s spiritual and religious unity", a member of the Religious Council of Ulema in Casablanca said on the condition of anonymity.

According to journalist Hassan Mennani, it is important to understand that extremism lingers in the background of the Moroccan religious scene. The state always demonstrates that succumbing to fundamentalist disorder is not an option, he added.

"The announcement of the pay review for imams, who are the main actors in religious reforms and the guarantors of spiritual stability, fits perfectly into that context," said Mennani, who specialises in religious affairs.

Some preachers think that the measure is long overdue.

"They should have started off with this, or restored the mosques which are falling down, rather than providing televisions for the mosques, for example," said preacher Si Hassan, whose monthly salary is 4,000 dirhams (360 euros). Si Hassan went on to say that most imams ran a small business alongside their religious activities to provide for their needs and relied on patronage.

"We are going to continue campaigning for a real re-structuring of our profession," vowed Si Abdellah, an imam in the old medina of Casablanca. "We also want to see the Ministry of Habous become a democratic department. We are determined to keep up our efforts until that happens, but in the meantime we hope the Ministry of Habous will manage to engage in a responsible dialogue with the imams."

The harshest reaction came from the League of Imams of Amir Al Mouminine. The body, which represents Moroccan imams, on Monday (October 3rd) released a statement, describing the move as pointless and ridiculous. The increase will do nothing to improve imams' daily lives, they said.

The league criticised what they described as the unilateral way in which the ministry deals with the imams' demands and suggested that imams be integrated into civil service on a minimum monthly wage of 3,000 dirhams.

Nevertheless, they insisted a dialogue should take place between the religious affairs ministry and imams, and that their grievances and demands be dealt with through a modern and democratic institutional framework.

Imams in the mosques run by the ministry receive a minimum monthly allowance of 1,100 dirhams, in addition to a supplementary allowance of 500 dirhams for any imam who also works as a khatib.

In their first-ever protest, imams last June staged a sit-in in Rabat to air their discontent and complain about a lack of respect towards them.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    khayi 2014-5-26

    The imams are people who play a very important role in the Islamic sector.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    jamal 2014-4-15

    This is impossible, Imams need 4000.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    hassan zoher (Libya) 2014-3-19

    This is not reasonable. This is a shame and disgrace!


  4. Anonymous thumb

    ابوالحليم براهيم (Libya) 2014-3-13

    Salam alikum. With all respect, I would like to contribute with my comment. I noticed in Zagoura that the salaries of all Imams is 1900 dirhams but in the region of Tata, it doesn't exceed 1500 dirhams.


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    abdelfattah.lachgar 2014-2-10

    Salam alikum our brothers in the profession. We ask you to increase our salaries, improve our living conditions, grant us all our rights and integrate us in public service. My dear ones, imams deserve a dignified life far from the knives of the group. O officials in charge of imams, may God reward you and protect you, have some consideration for us, have mercy on us, there are resources and our ministry is very rich. So be generous to us and God will be generous to you. The prophet of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him, spoke the truth when he said "You don't truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself".


  6. Anonymous thumb

    hassan hamo 2014-1-3

    This is a shame and disgrace!


  7. Anonymous thumb

    الغزوانى 2013-11-11

    They say what they don't do. They will be held accountable for their responsibility.


  8. Anonymous thumb

    hosain (Libya) 2013-9-11

    Praise be to God anyway!


  9. Anonymous thumb

    hosain (Libya) 2013-9-11

    What can we say about those who never learn!


  10. Anonymous thumb

    عبدالفتاح لشكر 2013-7-15

    Salam alikum. We also hope and call upon the competent ministry in charge for its servants to respond to religious workers by adjusting their situation. They are people of God and His servants. Why are they neglected and reduced to begging even when it is not allowed by their position? We call upon you to increase salaries to 4000 dirhams. This is the least that can be done for them as they work around the clock.


  11. Anonymous thumb

    hamid 2013-2-15

    Salam alikum. We hope that the ministry of Awqaf protects the Imam of mosque. We hope that there is a law that protects mosque Imams because they are threatened morning and evening of expulsion and marginalization. For example, this Imam doesn’t have a private house, but he has to go out against his will, and his children study in modern schools. Problems have increased for him because of losing his mosque which is the source of his living, his stability. His children, who study, may be excluded from end of the year exams. Then he has to move around from town to town looking for another mosque. I reiterate it, there should be a law to protect Imams.


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    HASAN 2013-2-2

    Salam alikum. We hope that the ministry of Waqf (religious Endowments) would raise the salaries of Imams to at least 6000 dirhams to improve their social conditions because they work around the clock as their job includes Adhan, leading prayers, preaching, guidance, management, cleaning, guarding and organization of religious events.


  13. Anonymous thumb

    عود من حزمة 2012-3-24

    Peace be upon the followers of the right path. We faqihs are an excluded and marginalised category. We are a category lagging far behind in society. We are used for our silence. We don’t claim our rights. They use our shyness, contentedness and honour. This is a defect in us because we are taken not granted. By God, who is this employee or worker who can accept a salary of 1100 dirhams a month? I think that no one can accept this even if he is a shepherd. (this is not an offense to the shepherd, God forbids!) So just contemplate me o you who have an atom of reason in the country of eccentricities and peculiarities: the Faqih stays in the mosque for a whole month day and night. But in spite of the huge responsibility assigned to him, he gets a pay of one thousand and one hundred dirhams while a singer in Mawazine Festifal sings and dances for one hour and they gave her a billion in addition to acclaims, applauds and welcome as if they are saying excuse us we haven’t paid you as much as you deserve, this is all we have in our pocket. May God rest the soul of the woman who said “I ask God that my son becomes only a Faqih, as for an instrumentalist, I can’t even dream of that”!!!!


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    عبد القادر 2012-1-20

    Salam alikum. Concerning the salary of Imams and preachers by the state, I think that it isn’t adequate. I wonder about the number of active teachers and professors. I don’t know their number. However, when compared to Imams and preachers, there is a big difference. May be the number of Imams doesn’t exceed 2% compared to teachers and professors. Secondly, what is their monthly salary? The lowest salary is 6000 dirhams and over. Thirdly, is the work of teacher bigger than the work of Imam? No! The work of Imam is bigger. The Imam works night and day in continuous work round the clock. The question is why aren’t Imams and preachers integrated in public service with a honorable salary like the salary of the teacher. Is this not the required and the right thing to do? I ask God’s forgiveness. There is no power and no will but from God the greatest. Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.


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    مواطن 2012-1-6

    In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful. Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you. In reality, the blessed Moroccan ministry of religious affairs was in a state of administrative lethargy and latency until it was surprised by this issue. It should be eligible to assume the rock of its responsibility. Then I say, how can the mandates of the Commander of the Believers, may God protect him, have the most despicable salaries in the state? Unfortunately, this is the truth. We should offer these righteous citizens their right and more, God willing.


  16. Anonymous thumb

    محمد 2011-12-21

    The decision of the ministry is a good one because the ministry is well aware of the historical role of Imams, especially in times of crises.


  17. Anonymous thumb

    moumen 2011-10-28

    Being an imam, in today’s society, is a profession like other professions and should be framed by the law and by training as well as by vetting, defining the wages, the limits of the position and so on. The profession must necessarily respect the laws and should thus be a position that has the same obligations, the same rights and the same constraints for neutrality and reservations. The time is now over when the imam was self-proclaimed and lived off the generosity of the people like a Tibetan monk and practiced voluntary and free priesthood and was not answerable to anyone.


  18. Anonymous thumb

    Yidir 2011-10-14

    What a joke.....Being an Imaam/Fqih/Taleb is not being a civil servant that should be payed by the state!!!!!


  19. Anonymous thumb

    محمد أيت لحساين بومالن 2011-10-14

    We thank all the free media which follow up on the issues and activities of imams.


  20. Anonymous thumb

    امام مسجد 2011-10-13

    All this is a media fuss and repeats the same figures of 2009! Imams are more conscious and hold on tightly to their demands.


  21. Anonymous thumb

    BEN 2011-10-11

    This pay raise barely compensates for the inflation rate thanks to an unprecedented increase in the overall salaries. Normally, the IMF should be at the meeting, but this time – and this is even worse – the government is pulling no punches to prepare for the death knell of bankruptcy. The only thing is if these imams have the role to demand a good rainfall to come to the rescue of the innocent citizens. We will see if they will be granted their prayers because all things taken into consideration, this is vital and better than a simple, harmful monetary increase in the budget and finances here on earth.


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    محمد تارودانت 2011-10-10

    We Imams don’t want a bonus or alimony from the ministry. We want our rights. We want to be integrated in public service and receive our monthly salaries, not alimonies. All Moroccans know the minimum salary approved internationally. Salam.


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    Yidir 2011-10-9

    Here we see clearly what kind of state Morocco is. It is a religious state like Iran and Saudi Arabia . The government pays and sponsors imaams and mousques.The way we did it and how all societies do it is keeping places of worship out of the spheres,support and manipulations of the state and politics. From India to Brazil China end France places of worship are independent clubs and unions that depend on themselfs and the support of their members and followers to florish....Because the one who pays decides!!!!...Imaams and mosques themselfs must not want this....This is a dangerous new development ...this means that the state is going on the Wahabi fundamentalist path of mixing politics with religion. This is the result of fighting religious fanatics but what is happening is the state becaming fanatic it self!!!!...imaams were always supported by them selfs and their comunity......and i didn't know that being an imaam/talib/feqih...call it what u want...is a proper profession in Islam...where i come from we have a Talb who inherited the position from his father and he has his work, he runs an electronics repairshop.The village give him some support but he refuses it mostly and gives it to other families who are more in need....we like it to stay this way and we want the state to stay far away otherways they will spoil our imaams make them corrupt, dum, greedy and lazy.


  24. Anonymous thumb

    rafik 2011-10-8

    Increasing the imams pay will not prevent the spread of Islamist fundamentalist ideology. It is like putting a bandage on a wooden leg. Worse yet, this will be perceived like a further injustice and will send a very bad message to the social classes that are worse off. This money would be best used for making good on the countless injustices in the system: the unemployed persons, the young people without an education, the disabled people, the retirees, the single women with children and so on. The list is quite long. Increasing the pay of public sanitation workers, dock workers, bakers, nurses, police officers, bus drivers, rail workers and so on would be justified since it would fix the blatant injustices. These workers offer society a visible service in spite of their ultra-difficult living conditions and the lack of recognition, which they suffer in silence. Who hears them? If ever there was a socio-professional category that has fed into the controversy of these recent decades in Muslim societies for lack of a just debate, it is the imams! Their failure in accomplishing this noble mission as “spiritual guides” demands our rethinking their function more than any other. It is well-known that we need to start by reviewing their training and recruitment of these state servants, who should be in the service of the public good and not in the service of lobbies and obscurantist ideologies. The evil is so deep that the treatment must be vigorous, transparent and sincere. But first the diagnosis of the evil is required, especially since it is transnational and virulent. Things need to start from the beginning with their training. An imam must be a theologian or must not be at all. It is not permissible that public funds should finance charlatans who are harmful …


  25. Anonymous thumb

    mohamad 2011-10-7

    You will keep on teasing Moroccans until you make them mad or call them disbelievers in God.


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