RABAT, Morocco – Morocco’s National Office of Tourism (ONMT) signed an agreement with religiously significant families in Senegal in order to boost religious tourism from West Africa, according to Maghreb Press Agency (MAP).
Abderrafia Zouitene, the director of the ONMT, said Fez could greatly benefit from the new agreement because it houses the shrine of Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Tijani, the founder of the “tariqa tijania,” which is widely followed in West Africa and worldwide. The northern city hosts international gatherings for followers of the “tariqa tijania” intermittently.
Zouitene traveled to Dakar for the signing of an agreement with representatives of four families associated with historically significant religious figures for the “tariqa tijania,” which is a Sufi school of Islam. The families include descendants of the Senegalese Islamic leaders El-Hadj Malick Sy, Abdoulaye Niasse, Eh Hadj Umar Tall and Maba Diakhou Bâ.
The signed Memorandum of Understanding is part of Morocco’s strategy to strengthen and promote tourism from Senegal and the area of West Africa in general, Zouitene said.
Zouitene said Fez “could become a place of pilgrimage for the brotherhood, which has more than 300 million followers around the world.”
ONMT director also met with Maimouna Ndoye Seck, the Senegalese minister of tourism and air travel, on to discuss “means to implement further bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector.”
“Morocco and Senegal maintain exemplary relations rooted in history and we share the same concept of a tolerant Islam – open and very peaceful,” Zouitene added.
Last year, Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, requested Morocco’s help with the training of imams in his country in light of growing threats of religious extremism in the region.