Islam shapes many cultural features typical of the region. North Africans are generally proud to be Muslim, though they often do not practice consistently. Islam is often nominal and the people secular in outlook.
People do not separate their national identity from their identity as Muslims. Mainstream Sunni Islam predominates. Governments in the region often try to shape Islamic expressions for their own purposes. For example, in his efforts to battle radical Muslims in Morocco, King Muhammad VI is seeking to revive the Sufi brotherhoods that were once influential.
He hopes that mystical devotion to Allah will be less of a threat to his rule than militant zeal. This attempt to manipulate people’s thinking is often deeply resented. Many unemployed and disaffected youth are dissatisfied with the status quo. While some turn to radical Islamist groups, many are increasingly frustrated with Islam itself and search elsewhere for answers.
Republished from Prayercast