Algeria: Women ‘Imams’ Battle Islamist Radicalisation

From Yahoo News

One of the hundreds of female religious guides knows as Mourshidates appointed by the religious affairs ministry to spread the good word of Islam and a message of tolerance, reads the Koran, at the Ennidal mosque in Algiers, on February 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Farouk Batiche)


Hundreds of female religious guides have been at the forefront of Algeria’s battle against Islamic radicalisation since the civil war that devastated the North African country in the 1990s.

Their aim is to steer women away from false preachers promoting radical forms of Islam.

The surge of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, and even in Libya next door, as well as the growing influence of Al-Qaeda-linked militants and Salafists, has them working around the clock.

Known as “mourshidates,” their goal is to spread the good word of Islam and a message of tolerance, helping those who have strayed from it.

“Killing is a capital sin, so how is it that people can kill innocent ones in the name of Islam,” asks Fatma Zohra, who is in her mid-40s, her hair and neck concealed under a matching purple veil and a hijab.

Like the other 300 mourshidates appointed by the religious affairs ministry, Zohra holds a degree in Islam and has learned the Koran by heart.

She said she was “motivated to know Islam better in order to teach the religion” following the traditionally moderate Muslim country’s civil war in the 1990s, which killed at least 200,000 people.

The war erupted after authorities cancelled the 1991 elections, Algeria’s first democratic vote, which the Islamic Action Front was poised to win.

Zohra, who was a student at the time, recalled bitterly as she met a group of women in a mosque, that “Algerians killed Algerians in the name of Islam.”

For the past 17 years she has been “listening to women, advising them and referring them to specialists” when their problems are not directly linked to religion.

The mourshidates use skills borrowed from psychology and sociology, working in mosques, prisons, youth centres, hospitals and schools. Unlike imams, who are men, they are not allowed to lead prayers.

– ‘Vigilance’ needed –

When the first mourshida was licensed in 1993 to teach and guide women, only housewives showed up, but the audience has grown over the years to include university students and professionals.

“Imams are good but it is much better to confide in a woman,” says Aisha, in her 60s.

Meriem, a high school mathematics teacher, said the rise of “fake prophets,” who seek to indoctrinate young people, persuaded her to attend meetings with the likes of Zohra only a few months ago.

“I wanted to learn the true Islam,” she said.

Samia, another mourshida who decline to give her surname, says she has been working for the past 15 years in a region of Algeria where youths, both boys and girls, have been increasingly radicalised.

“Their mothers suffer to see them become radicalised and confide in me so that together, and with the help of others, we can de-radicalise them,” she said.

Samia warns that Algerians must be alert.

“Even if very few Algerians have joined the ranks of the Islamic State group, vigilance is necessary because radicalisation takes many forms,” she said.

“Pseudo-imams, who know nothing about the teachings of the Koran,” are trying to indoctrinate people through television programmes and the Internet, she said.

“Adolescents in particular must be monitored because they are impressionable and can easily be swayed.”

She recalls how she worked hard to help save a 17-year-old girl after her parents complained that she had begun adopting radical Islamist behaviour.

The girl’s mother told Samia her daughter “had been indoctrinated and had begun wearing the full Islamic veil” and would admonish the family about attending weddings or watching television.

“For months we counselled the girl and listened to what she had to say. Finally she went back to school and resumed her normal life,” Samia said.

Like Samia, many mourshidates say they are proud to have contributed to help youths from falling into the grips of radical Islamists.

“It is the biggest reward of our work,” one of them said.

(H/T Grouchy)


As we have seen before…. it is the women of Islam that are working to keep their children safe from the brainwashing of the Imams who are teaching the false version of islam.  The women will lead to the change that is needed, whether it be with protests, teaching or violence.

They have their false prophets also. Not all the sects of islam teach the same doctrine.

~Blessed B~

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10 Responses to Algeria: Women ‘Imams’ Battle Islamist Radicalisation

  1. Hardnox says:

    I read a piece a while back claiming there are at least 25 different flavors of islam.

    • Crawfish says:

      But only 1 unholy quran. Each is just a different form of the worship, and philosophy of life. The main division is Shia and Sunni, which are divided by who shall lead islam, the lineage of the false prophet, or learned imams (or ayatollahs, or mullahs, whichever one it is).
      We can compare this to the different forms of Christianity, which also break down by who shall lead, what form the worship takes, and philosophy of life. Christianity also breaks down by how strictly do they follow the Bible. Radical Christians allow homosexual marriage and homosexuals to be priests/priestesses/pastors/preachers.
      Real radical islam allows women to be human, and does not engage in jihad.

    • Blessed B. says:

      “A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad validates this perspective: “This umma [Islamic nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell.” When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, “al-jama’a,” that is, the group which most literally follows the example or “sunna” of Muhammad.”

      In other words….. which ever muslim group is left standing at the end of it all, will then be the ones who get to say they are the true muslims.

  2. Crawfish says:

    It is funny how islam in accordance with the quran and conservatism in accordance with the Constitution are both considered “radical” by the people who wish to pick and choose which laws they will follow.

  3. Kathy says:

    It’s good that they’re turning young people around, but in their interpretation of the Quran aren’t they just ignoring the parts of it that say to kill the infidels?

    If they’ve studied it well, they know it’s part of islam. I’d be curious to see what they say about that.

    • Blessed B. says:

      It depends on which Quran they are using perhaps or on how they are interpreting it.

  4. Grouchy says:

    I have long said that the women will lead the change in islam. This is only a small, tiny step forward out of the depths of darkness. BUT, under the oppressive regime women have lived under islam for over a millennia, it is actually a ground-breaking step.
    In this case, it seems there can be no limit to the brutality of the men. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is to another muslim who is not muslim enough, or to their womenfolk, children or other family, or to the so-called “infidel”, the non-muslim.
    These women are, literally, laying their lives on the line.