Moroccan Preachers Call for Journalist’s Death
Three prominent Salafi preachers in Morocco have called for journalist Mokhtar el-Ghzioui to be put to death after Ghzioui recently advocated on state television legalizing sex outside of marriage. The three preachers spoke out in support of a fourth preacher who was charged with inciting a crime after similar remarks. The controversy began several weeks ago when Khadija Riyadi, head of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, voiced her organization’s support for decriminalizing sex by unwed people. Riyadi believes that her remarks may be being used by political forces in the palace to portray Islamists as overly conservative, but is nevertheless supportive of the ongoing debate on Morocco’s traditionally conservative state TV.
Also, Ali Amar reports [French] on the Moroccan government’s online propaganda campaign to boost support for Moroccan sovereignty of Western Sahara. Amar writes that Morocco has quietly invested a great deal of time in flooding the internet with blogs and websites, posing as independent sources, with supposed “exclusive documents,” and “unedited photos” aiming to discredit the Polisario Front. The sites try to portray Moroccan sovereignty of Western Sahara as the “pragmatic” choice and the preferred solution of the United Nations. Amar also finds that these sites fill the top search results on searches of Western Sahara terms, and often appear as advertisements.
Additionally, in a piece entitled “How Morocco Dodged the Arab Spring, “ Nicolas Pelham discusses how King Mohammed VI co-opted Islamists in parliament to restore the monarch’s legitimacy last year, and why the government now feels secure enough to crack down on protesters once again. Pelham also sheds light on recent government initiatives aimed more at attracting tourists and supporting Morocco’s elite than tackling the country’s marginalized poor.