Morocco has appointed 50 women to be state religious preachers in an effort to promote moderate Islam in a country struggling with radical fundamentalism.
The women will teach Islam and its practice but will not be able to lead prayers in mosques, an activity reserved for men.
The government says it hopes the new religious teachers will help balance the influence of radical clerics who have been drawing support from the residents of poor slums.
Moroccan authorities have been working to curb Islamic extremism since 2003, when a suicide bombing ripped through Casablanca, killing at least 41 people.
King Mohammed has been promoting moderate Islam in the North African kingdom, which has been praised by the United States for its anti-terrorism efforts.Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters.