In recent years, young Moroccan people from the Diaspora, second and third generations, have been duly involved in acts of violence and terrorism in Europe to such an extent that several media have focused on this phenomenon in an attempt to understand why, bearing in mind that Morocco is one of the few countries of the MENA region that enjoys lasting political stability referred to as: the "Moroccan exception", exemplary religious tolerance and incredible hospitality and openness towards the other. Not to forget, of course, that Morocco has, for a long time, been diligently fighting terrorism, with much firmness and determination on its own soil and also helping actively friendly European countries, in this area.
Youth Abandoned and Marginalized
Following the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the magazine Jeune Afrique has devoted the cover of its paper medium of 27 August 2017 to the involvement of Moroccans of the Diaspora in acts of terrorism, with an accusing and unfair title: "Terrorism: Born in Morocco," which provoked a lot of emotion in Morocco as well as a lot of criticism and anger because the adjective "Moroccan" was misused for sensational purposes.
These young lone wolves are, of course of Moroccan origin but Morocco as a country has nothing to do with their radicalization, in the least. Their radicalization took place in Europe exclusively, so the countries of Europe are responsible for their actions, for several reasons:
- Cultural and professional marginalization;
- Incessant stigmatization;
- Latent and harmful racism;
- Islamophobia; and
- Conflicts of generations with their generally authoritarian and patriarchal parents.
For Mr. Abdellah Boussouf, Secretary General of the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME), the Moroccans of the Diaspora are outstanding ambassadors and not people of bad reputation:
"Moroccan migrations abroad have never been a bad sign or a point of weakness for Morocco, since the first migrations as explorers, travelers for the acquisition of knowledge, wayfarers for pilgrimage to the sacred places, or for diplomatic voyages , up to the economic migrations of the beginning of the last century in search of opportunities of employment abroad, especially in Europe.
Morocco has always considered Moroccans of the world as its ambassadors abroad, a fundamental pillar of sustainable development and an extension of its historical and cultural heritage ..."
Alas, today, the siblings of the Moroccan migrants are emotionally alone, psychologically bruised and totally destabilized. They do not feel to belong to their country of origin and extraction, nor to their country of adoption and birth, so, in principle, they have evolved into an easy prey for religious radicalization by brainwashing undertaken by international Islamist master terrorists.
Indeed, since the establishment of Jihad in Afghanistan in 1980s, to drive the Soviets out of this Muslim country, many religious organizations such as al-Qaeda, then, ISIS, today, and many others have taken upon themselves the recovery of such “abandoned” youth, branded by their countries of origin as "black sheep," and their formation and orientation in the sense of the so-called "Glory of Islam" by combating the Western world nicknamed "Crusader," salibiyuun, forces and their destruction, to attain and deserve paradise and be welcomed into it.
Emasculated Amazigh Youth
In the fifties of the last century, Europe, in full reconstruction thanks to the American largesse of the Marshall Plan, was in great need of strong arms for this task. Once again, after the recruitment of the Amazighs of North Africa into the European armies to defend it against Nazism, the old continent turned to this people for its reconstruction, after the end of World War II. Thus, recruiters criss-crossed the mountains of North Africa in search of young, healthy and strong Amazigh males, renowned for their stamina and seriousness. The majority of this youth were illiterate and many spoke only Amazigh language.
On arrival in Europe, they were first housed in ghettos and few years later they returned to the bled, i.e. home, on vacation, with money and gifts, and spoke generously of "the European Eldorado", while arousing the admiration and jealousy of those who remained behind, who in turn, did everything possible to immigrate to Europe, to share in its “boundless wealth and bounty.” In some clans of the Rif, like Iherassen of the Gzennaya tribe, given the difficulty of acquiring a passport minted by the corrupt officials, dozens of Rifian males, sporting the same surname used the same passport by changing the photo to immigrate to the “European paradise.” The European governments, aware of this illegal practice, closed their eyes because they greatly needed this cheap workforce for their thriving economy.
To better accommodate its immigrants, Europe had made it possible, in the 1970s, for family repatriation. Thus, young people were born on the European soil and grew up in liberal democracies. Some took the opportunity to study and become executives, but many went wrong and took the wrong path: drug-selling, pick pocketing, petty crime, fraud, organized crime, etc. after which they were arrested several times by the police and filed. In the long run, these youngsters have become black sheep and, unlike their relatives attached to their country of origin and its culture and values, they, on the contrary, have had a great problem of identity and belonging. Feeling totally isolated from their families, too traditional, and their European country of birth, racist and stigmatizing.
Thus, this culturally and psychologically traumatized youth became an easy prey to Islamist terrorist centers of Wahhabi inspiration and religious ideology, having generous access to the petrodollars of the Gulf countries. Once in the arms of these master terrorists and “sellers of violent death,” wrapped in a disfigured and violent version of Islam, they were gratified by easy money and comfortable identity sought after and desired, with, as a bonus, the tempting promise of paradise and its innumerable delights and creature comforts.
Many media outlets in Western countries that have Islamophobic tendencies and driven by journalistic sensationalism have precipitately linked these young victims of terrorism and Islamism to their country of cultural origin: Morocco.
For example, a journalist named Leela Jacinto has written a misleading article entitled "Morocco's outlaw country is the heartland of global terrorism", published on 7 April 2016 by the very serious US electronic magazine: Foreign Policy and picked up the next day by the newspaper: Chicago Tribune:
“At the heart of terrorist strikes across the world over the past 15 years lies the Rif. A mountainous region in northern Morocco, stretching from the teeming cities of Tangier and Tetouan in the west to the Algerian border in the east, the Rif is an impoverished area rich in marijuana plants, hashish peddlers, smugglers, touts, and resistance heroes that has rebelled against colonial administrators, postcolonial kings, and any authority imposed from above. For the children of the Rif who have been transplanted to Europe, this background can combine with marginalization, access to criminal networks, and radicalization to make the vulnerable ones uniquely drawn to acts of terrorism.
The Rif’s links to jihadi attacks probably first came to light in 2004 following the March 11 Madrid bombings, when it was discovered that nearly all of the plotters had links to Tetouan. Three years after the Madrid attacks, when reporter Andrea Elliot, in an article for the New York Times Magazine, visited that hardscrabble city in the heart of the Rif, she found a number of Tetouan youth, inspired by the Madrid bombers, making their way to Iraq to wage jihad on U.S. troops with al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to the Islamic State.”
This so-called journalist had traveled through Morocco hastily and had literally no basic knowledge of Amazigh culture imbued with tolerance, respect for the other and a sense of cohabitation, for the last 5,000 years. She reached a hurried and an undocumented conclusion that the Moroccan Rif is undeniably the heart of global terrorism, for the simple reason that the terrorist apprentices of ISIS, in recent years in Europe, trace their origin to the Rif, but were born and raised in Europe. However, one wonders how, logically speaking, can one condemn a country of origin for the violent behavior of people whose parents are from that country but are themselves physically born and bred in European countries?
In time, I had answered this fallacious article with a documented article that I had sent to these two aforementioned media outlets, but unfortunately they have never published this work, within the framework of the "right of reply" and this proves clearly that this kind of Western press openly cultivates prejudices and stereotypes, without ambiguity and without any remorse.
“Yet again, Western journalism goes sensational and culturally insensitive when dealing with the Muslim world. One wonders whether it is out of sheer ignorance or the calculated aim to inflict pain and cause panic. Being a native son of the Rif region of northern Morocco and a cultural anthropologist and linguist, who has worked on the culture of the area for over 40 years, I was truly flabbergasted by the sensational nature of a piece of journalism entitled “Morocco’s outlaw country is the heartland of global terrorism,” written by Leela Jacinto, published first by the very serious electronic journal Foreign Policy on April 7, 2016 and picked up later on by Chicago Tribune on April 8, 2016.It is an established truth and a known fact that the press in general goes for catchy titles to attract readers and consequently sell its product. But, the truth of the matter is that the article in question goes beyond that to give false information through sensational language. The journalist unabashedly uses two wrong pieces of information:
• “Morocco’s outlaw country” in referring to the northern region known geographically and culturally as the Rif; and
• “Heartland of global terrorism” as if all known terrorism originates in this area.
These two phrases carefully chosen by the author and espoused by the editor of the FP journal open the floodgate to swamp the reader with a series of misconceptions and fallacies and encourage Islamophobic tendencies, already at their height in the West. Unfortunately, the journalist used Trump-like rhetoric to, unwillingly, perhaps, scare the readers and make them dislike Muslims further and, consequently, make the life of the latter, even more difficult in the West. The unfortunate choice of the above-mentioned phrases not only strengthens existing stereotypes about Muslims in the Western world, but also spreads untrue information about a country like Morocco, a kingdom that has always been a faithful and reliable ally of the West for centuries, not to mention, of course, that it is, probably, the only stable political entity in the Arab World, today, in the aftermath of Arab uprisings.I get the impression that the journalist whizzed through the Rif and Morocco and collected information from lay people and wrote her piece without taking the time to discuss the thorny issues she deals with, with Moroccan experts. The end result is a piece of journalism alarmist and false and, ultimately, noxious to the country, to be taken with a pinch of salt through and through.However, one wonders why on earth Foreign Policy published such a piece without making the effort of checking the veracity of its content. Has this publication been contaminated by Trump-like ideology, fashionable these days in America and Europe, intent on demonizing overtly Islam and Muslims?”
And for those who believe that the Western press is an example of righteousness and probity, such a partial behavior will give them a lot of thought.
Header Image: Jeune Afrique magazine cover of August 27, 2017