Allal Al-Fassi was a Moroccan intellectual and anti-colonial independence leader. He contributed to clarifying many important concepts. Zainab Cheema reviews Fassi’s Al-Naqd al-Dhati (Self Critique).
The story of a Moroccan anti-colonialist struggler, Allal al-Fassi is traced in exacting detail to remind Muslims of the rich legacy of Muslim heroes.
There is immense Islamic history woven into Morocco’s social and cultural fabric. Zainab Cheema captures the essence of spirituality on her journey to Fes.
King Mohammed VI, who succeeded his father in 1999, has adopted a multi-party political system that ensures that no one party can secure a majority clear majority of seats in parliament: the result is always a government consisting of a coalition of rival parties. This coalition is much easier to control, and it is in charge of a parliament with insignificant powers. Under the current rules, the king also has the right to appoint the prime minister and four ministers with powerful portfolios, without any reference to the weight of their parties in parliament.
In the past decade, the US has been able to replace France as the most influential foreign power in former French colonies such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Given the US’s status as the “world’s sole superpower” and its ruthless determination to entrench and exploit that status, it is not strange that France lost its self-confidence as a world power and played second fiddle to Washington even in its own former colonies.
There is hardly any doubt that the majority of the people in the three Maghreb countries – Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia – believe their leaders to be autocratic, corrupt and closely allied with the West against Islamic groups in the region. Add to this belief the fact that wealth in all three countries is monopolised by rich elites, while most people are deprived and poor, and it becomes plain why there is so much popular resistance to the ruling elites and the long-serving rulers they maintain in power.
Last month’s bomb-blasts at Western targets in Saudi Arabia and Morocco followed the conclusion of the US invasion of Iraq. The bomb-explosions in Riyadh on May 12 killed 24 people and wounded dozens. Four days later another 24 people were killed in five blasts in Casablanca, Morocco...
Morocco’s “moderate” Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP) was the major gainer in the country’s elections last month, when results were finally announced on October 1, four days after the polling on September 27.
During a conversation with a friend whose father had served in the US Foreign Service in Morocco during the 1960s, she mentioned how easy life in Morocco had been for her mother compared to life in the United States. This ease she attributed to the domestic service one could purchase in Morocco for very little money. She told me that the first thing the wives of foreign diplomats would do, on arrival in Morocco, was inquire about “Fatmas,”...
The recent parliamentary report on corruption under the late King Hassan II, the appointment of a judicial commission to examine it, and the limited political reforms introduced since his death in 1999 have given rise to widespread speculation that the new king, Muhammad V, is determined to distance himself from his father’s murky legacy.
The trial of some 300 members of the outlawed Moroccan Islamic Justice and Charity Group (Jama’at al-’Adl wal-Ihsan) started on December 11. They are among some 800 people arrested for taking part in rallies marking the United Nations Human Rights Day held on December 10 by human rights and Islamic groups.
The two Moroccan enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, occupied by Spain for more than five centuries, are unlikely to be returned to their rightful owners in the forseeable future, if Madrid’s reaction to a recent Moroccan call for a ‘bilateral rethink’ on the issue, and Rabat’s anxiety to avoid a confrontation, are anything to go by.
With a new king in Morocco, and a recently elected president in Algeria, relations between the two North African neighbours - frosty at the best of times, over the western Saharan issue - have suddenly thawed.
It should come as no surprise that the west’s favourite clients in the Muslim world have adopted some of the double standards so prevalent in the ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ west.
Anyone harbouring illusions about the new set-up in Morocco following cosmetic changes to the constitution were quickly brought back to reality.