Morocco Struggles with Wahhabi Legacy

(Asia Times-Hong Kong) Ilhem Rachidi - The Madrid terror attacks have attracted world attention to the district of Beni Makada, a fertile Islamist area south of Tangiers in the northern tip of Morocco, just a few miles of sea from Spain. In the neighborhood's mosque, Jamel Zougam, one of the main suspects in the March Madrid attacks, used to regularly attend the sermons of Mohamed Fizazi, considered by Moroccan authorities as the ideologist of the extremist organization, Salafiya Jihadia. The jihadist imam also once preached at the al-Qods mosque in Hamburg, where September 11 terrorist Mohamed Atta attended prayers. The Wahhabi doctrine preached by Fizazi, at odds with Morocco's more open Malekite rite, has been tolerated, even encouraged by the state for about two decades, analysts say. The imported Saudi doctrine was key in preventing the spread of two other forms of Islamism: rising political Islam, on one side, and the Iranian Shi'ite revolution, on the other.

2004-04-19 00:00:00

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