Wednesday, 17 October 2018 04:05

The Council of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad (CCME) participates this year in the 24th edition of the International Exhibition of Books and Publishing (SIEL) of Casablanca which is held from 8 to 18 February 2018. The CCME, as at of its previous participations, brings together Moroccan writers living abroad, questions the concerns of Moroccan migration and the challenges facing the Moroccan community abroad through round tables and conferences aimed to give adequate answers.

With the political and social changes experienced by the countries hosting the Moroccan community in the last three years, particularly with the rise of extreme right-wing currents, the activism of extremist religious groups and the rise of racist speeches and acts in general and against Islam in particular, issues of identity, religion and culture are fundamental for the members of the Moroccan community living abroad. More than ever, they require a deep and serious thinking to develop a model able to protect the Moroccans living abroad from the consequences of these changes and help their integration into plural societies.

Through our participation this year at the Casablanca Book Fair, which has become an essential cultural event on an international extent, we have the ambition to debate and analyze the criteria of living together in a plural society with the presence of thinkers, intellectuals academics, political, cultural and associative actors from the host countries of the Moroccan diaspora; to highlight the values ​​of pluralism and openness rooted in the Moroccan identity and the wealth of its branch. In fact, values ​​that can lead to adequate answers to the daily lives of Moroccans around the world in the host countries.

We will also have the opportunity to expose aspects of the history of travel and migration of the Moroccan identity in front of a young audience through a special program that combines educational and cultural activities.

Like it’s previous participations to this cultural event, the Council will share it’s scientific experience on Moroccan migration with national institutions and the public. The CCME’s stand will expose the latest scientific publications on different issues of Moroccan migration. As well as the latest literary works of the writers and poets of the diaspora.

Culture, Islam, publications of works on migration in Europe in all its aspects, meetings with youths in host countries and in Morocco, conferences in Europe but also in Morocco involving academics and Moroccan universities on Moroccan migratory questions, but also  the African ones, followed by proposals and books. This has been the year 2017 for the Council of  the Moroccan Community Living Abroad (CCME).

The culture and religion of our fellow citizens living abroad has become a key issue since more than a decade in their host countries. Particularly, considering  the birth of the gruesome  beast of terrorism which trivializes racist and xenophobic speeches designing  Muslims as the scapegoats in the western world.  With the rise of nationalisms in a part of European countries emphasized  since the so-called crisis of refugees  mainly from Muslim countries devastated by civil wars, settled immigrants  in Europe for decades have suffered the consequences of policies of religious, identity and cultural exclusion.

Terrorist attacks in Europe by individuals claiming perpetrating their  appalling acts in the name of their vision of islam during the last decade,  have all of a sudden  been labeled "Muslim immigrants" by the most extreme movements in Europe. But also the all-news channels and virtual media, which by their lack of hindsight and enslaved by a a disastrous policy of urgency » commit errors from which there is no coming back.

There are moments in History where hesitancy is not allowed. And HM the King's speech at the 2016 Throne Day was  historic and courageous in a world where words seem to have lost their sense. In his address to the Nation HM the King deconstructed the speeches and the foolishness of these criminal gangs claiming themselves muslims. The King called the Moroccans living abroad not to forget the essence of their identity and their religion which is an Islam of peace and openness..

The CCME has since, this Royal speech, which  will last in History, made of the  issues identity-religion-culture one of its main axes of engagement  through including fundamental meetings in Morocco and Europe and partnerships for the indispensable training of Ulema in Europe. A vital didactic work for our fellow citizens abroad living mainly in Europe.

« Islam, identity, culture » this is the triptych to which the CCME « devoted itself » in 2017. Especially in Spain, France, Belgium and Germany, where one of the most important meetings of nearly 150 Ulema has been held. Active  in European countries  but as well in  Morocco particularly through cultural events that tell the story of Migrant Travelers; Leila Alaoui, a young photographer who traveled the world seizing moments of humanity killed in a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou; the pioneers settled in Europe since the post-war period; students from all over the world, for their part, were able to travel to Morocco to better understand their European comrads of Moroccan origin; groups from Europe and Africa also came to the Council to share their experiences on the migration issue.

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By Mr. Abdellah Boussouf, Secretary General of the Council of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad (CCME)

 Beyond figures and legal articles, the Moroccans living abroad are an immense part of the essential capital of Morocco in every part of the world.

Moroccans of the third and fourth generation have given in several European countries  rise to a highly qualified and supervised elite. An elite which commands the languages ​​of the host countries, is anchored in the traditions and civilizations of these countries and has been able to occupy fields of influence in politics, economics and finance, society and in scientific and academic training.

Every step made and success achieved by the Moroccans of the world in their host country is positive for Morocco’s image in the world. It is our duty to imagine the added value of all these achievements realized every day by the Moroccans living abroad.

Scientists in research centers ; professors in the most prestigious universities in the world ; physicians with diverse professions ; eminent lawyers, writer ; filmmakers, musicians, artists, sportsmen ; Journalists, Facebook influencers…

It is on this elite of Moroccans living abroad, that Morocco needs to strengthen its image in the world. This is the reason for which sociology researchers claim that Moroccans living away from their homeland, are the blueprint of their country abroad ; in the capacity to represent the history, geography and an exceptional country named Morocco.

The stars of the Kingdom shine in the heavens of tourism and investment ; the names of young Moroccans working in the centers and agencies of aeronautics and space in the United States, Japan and France : such as Kamal Oudrhiri at the NASA, Rachid Amrousse at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Jaxa, Ahmed Bachar at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, Nacer Ben Abdeljalil who carried the Moroccan flag at the top of the " Everest in the mountains of the Himalayas, or Merieme Chadid, astronomer and first woman from the arab world to set foot on the Antarctic during a scientific mission and exploration, Asmae Boujibar, the first Arab woman to integrate NASA ... And of course, the leader of the Moroccan scientists of the world, researcher Rachid Yazami, founder of the graphite anode for lithium-ion batteries.

As well of course, Khalid Rahilou, Badr Hari, Mustapha Lakhsem and many other martial arts champions, have all printed their names on an international level. Their victories were followed by the moroccan national anthem. As for Abdeslam Radi, race champion, and, Larbi Ben Barek, the outstanding footballer nicknamed « the black pearl ».

Moroccan names in various sports that gave victory to European, American and Asian teams, like Abdellatif Benazzi, captain of the national Rugby team of France.

Gad El Maleh, Jamel Debbouze, Said Taghmaoui and Red One are shining stars in the heavens of the seventh art, music and humor.

Rachida Dati, Najat Vallaud Belkacem, Myriam El Khomri, Ahmed Boutaleb, Samira El Aouni, Fatima Houda-Pépin, Mounir El Mahjoubi and all these deputies, advisers to ministers, mayors of European cities, international institutions, think tanks and survey institutes…

All these skills, these Moroccan numerous brains in the world are the vivid image of Morocco abroad. We must also pay tribute to two children of Moroccan origin : two brilliant skills victims of terrorism and hatred. The architect Mohamed Amine Benmbarek, who died in the Paris bombings in 2015 and the artist-photographer Leila Alaoui, killed in Ouagadougou in 2016.

An huge and major wealth that Morocco has, through media figures and distinguished writers who contribute to the development and evolution of the world and spread the values ​​of living together. They are emblematic figures who speak for Morocco abroad and its image in the world.

In the case of defending "complicated national issues" such as the national sovereignty within the framework of "parallel diplomacy", they are able to claim territorial unity and a new vision of Morocco's associative network, since many of them are activists in non-governmental organizations and bodies.

This makes of the Moroccan diaspora "the strong and winning link" to the modus operandi of promoting the image of the Kingdom abroad.

« Racism is not an opinion, it’s an offense». However, there is not a single election campaign in the world’s most prosperous countries where speeches are not openly racist against a portion of their population. Immigration, and more particularly Muslim immigration has become a matter of « political survival ».  

The vast majority of candidates who have a good chance of coming into power in Europe are pointing a finger towards these Muslim migrants whose presence could constitute a real danger to « Western culture ».

The US have already taken a clear position by electing a President who is at war against migrants and more specifically Muslims. 

In 2017, numerous countries in the EU zone have once again liberated racist speech, in spite of having gone through a hideous war fed by fascism and Nazism which caused irreparable damage.  This targets millions of Muslims, often Europeans, who are suddenly considered as the main cause for a wide array of failures: political, economic, social, cultural, educational and security. The lack of an insightful thought process or political reason, causes them to « cry wolf », which is now defined as the Muslim migrant and refugee.

These speeches constitute a flagrant Human Rights infringement in a part of the world where the latter are society fundamentals. This just illustrates the failure of political thinking, which choses the easy way out and deflects its inability to rule upon a minority whose only crime is being Muslim.  Condemned of being “guilty” for all the terror crimes commitment in the name of this religion whilst in fact they are the ones predominantly impacted by these crimes.  

Post-war, Europe has lived through very tough times linked to religiously motivated terrorism Ireland with the IRA or political in Germany with the Baader-Meinhof gang without trampling the core values of Human Rights.

The political demagogy we are witnessing in Europe and the US are the turning-point in political History. With racism, which seems a better term than islamophobia (fear of Islam), against Muslims, part of the western world is pulling the world into a very risky adventure. 

CCME

Africa, our continent has been living during a long time without great leaders like Mohammed V, Nelson Mandela or Jamal Abdel Nasser.

And now here is Africa receiving His Majesty Mohammed VI as a new leader full of promises for the future of African citizens. In defense of the african people in an era where Africa is about to resign, because of the impact of civil wars, climate change, mass exoduses and departures of the continent to the north to escape from thirst, hunger, violence and terrorism. 

A leader who had the confidence of the African citizens even before their own governments. Concerned during his visits in the Continent about the African development, its cities, villages and jungles. This is why the speech of the 41st anniversary of the Green March, delivered from Dakar, capital of Senegal is a historical precedent for the Kings of Morocco as it reflects friendship and brotherhood in Senegal. 

The speech from Dakar should be considered through the historical position of Senegal vis-à-vis of Morocco, the unwavering support for  just causes, including the question of the sovereignty of the Kingdom.  When Morocco left the African Union in 1984, former President Abdou Diouf had even stated that "it is not possible to imagine the organization without Morocco ...".

If the speech of the 40th anniversary last year took place in Laayoune, capital of the moroccan southern provinces, illustrates the foundations of stability, the attachment of the children to their moroccan roots  and political system, it is meant to become a center of economic cooperation connecting Morocco to its African roots.

The discourse of the Green March of 2016, for its part, was delivered from a friendly country, historically and spiritually linked to the Kingdom and considered among the democratic nations of Africa. A country that respects the constitutional institutions and the election results. Which also enjoys an exceptional political and social stability in the region and moreover it is not a country of "coups". His Excellency President Macky Sall considers the speech from Dakar as a historical event, because His Majesty the King wanted to be in Africa to talk to the Africans.

The King’s speech of November 6, 2016, was explicit and unhindered. For this reason, the African aspect can be easily assimilated. This justifies the mention of the African map, which carries several messages: Morocco is part of the Africa ;  the future is Morocco in Africa and the future of Africa in Morocco. It is in this spirit that the Kingdom targets its economic and political bound south, as part of a South-South cooperation. Hence enacting the preamble to the 2011 Moroccan Constitution "to consolidate relations cooperation and solidarity with the peoples and countries of Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa and Sahel ", which in itself is a quiet revolution that His Majesty conducted through its numerous visits to western and eastern African countries. The speech explained that the relations with these nations, were not sufficient, " not through negligence or omission, but for objective reasons such as language, geographical distance and differences in historical heritage". 

The achievements of this quiet revolution are already a reality :  partnerships with countries like Rwanda and Tanzania.

The vacancy of Morocco from the African Union since 1984 has contributed to undermine the relations of cooperation and solidarity between several African countries, and gave the opportunity to the detractors of the Kingdom’s sovereignty to embitter the relations with African countries. This inclines Morocco to rebound with the African Union and be part of its African family during  the 2016 summit in Kigali,  far away from any tactical plot, because Africa is our family  and Morocco does not need permission for it’s entry. 

The poorer countries of the world are the ones that host the highest number of refugees. It is a fact reported by Amnesty International on October 6 2016 in a report stating that 10 countries with the lowest GDP (less than 2.5%), host 56% of the world's refugees.

However, it is in rich countries like France, Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, Austria and newcomers in the EU, like Poland, Hungary, and Austria, that the, anti-muslim immigration movements have seen the highest growth.  

Anti-immigration movements have reached an unprecedented scale with the refugee "crisis" from countries devastated by civil wars. The racist speech is liberated, in a European Union, which was created precisely to avoid ever being confronted again with institutionalized racism after World War II.

Democratic conservative parties are gradually giving more room to their « right wings », which have close ties to xenophobic movements. Left-winged political parties aren't left out in this matter. They perceive the Muslim immigration as a "concern", if not "a problem".

A former president of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who for over a decade professed democracy and freedom of speech for countries in democratic transition was elected mayor in the French town of Béziers. Today he plays on the fear and hatred of Muslim immigrants; creates private militias which were later dismantled by law; announces a referendum in January 2017 (election year in France) in order not to host any migrants, as illustrated by racist posters, whilst this city is only required to create 40 additional places for migrants. The latter largely come from Calais -following its dismantling- in a shelter run by an ecumenical NGO, better known as the "Cimade" ... This can only raise questions. Because this is France, the country of "liberty, equality and fraternity."

When Germany, where the far right seemed to be forever annihilated after the Second World War, is faced with Pegida -which recently celebrated its second anniversary. This movement arose after the refugee 'crisis' and uses the slogan "Muslim migrants are not welcome," it also raises questions. Notably since the awakening of the AFD, the extreme right party, not far from the neo-Nazis, which within a few months managed to defeat the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her own political bastion… This led to a crisis within the CDU (Christian Democratic Party) and the party to require a firmer policy towards refugees from the German Chancellor.

Germany is the European country hosting most refugees in Europe.

France and Germany, the two pillars of the European Union, are currently facing a new phenomenon in of post-war history:  The far right parties have nibbled their way through in such a manner that they eventually mutated into parties which European democracies can no longer ignore, because they are part of the decision-making bodies.

CCME

During his historical speech, on King and Revolution’s Day, His Majesty the King decontructed masterfully the hate speeches of obscurantists who manipulate Islam for criminal purposes

Muslim Migrants in Europe : the « link » with terrorism

HM the King introduced the subject by saying : »The entire world is talking about migration and the tragedies migrants have to endure.

The situation is further compounded by the spread of the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism, and by attempts to link it – rightly or wrongly – to migrants, especially in Europe » .

The call to Moroccan Migrants

Talking about the moroccan migrants in Europe, His Majesty the King said « In this respect, I wish to call on Moroccans living abroad to remain firmly committed to their religious values and to their time-honored traditions as they face up to this phenomenon which has nothing to do with their culture or background.

I also urge them to maintain their good reputation, to show forbearance in these trying circumstances, to close ranks and to be, as always, staunch advocates of peace, concord and co-existence in their country of residence ».The King added : »I realize how difficult the situation is for them. They suffer from the distortion of the image of Islam; they also suffer from terrorist attacks, which have already claimed the lives of many of them.

Our community abroad also suffers from the backlash of terrorist activities and from accusations levelled against them, by some, because of their faith».

Unprecedented  religious lecture

In reference to an assassinated priest in a church in France  HM said : « Naturally, I strongly condemn the killing of innocent people. Killing a priest is forbidden by religion; murdering him inside a church is unforgivable madness, for he is a human being and a religious man – even if he is not a Muslim. Islam commands us to take good care of the people of the Book. The Almighty says: “We make no distinction between one and another of His apostles”. He also said: “But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers.”

He strongly condemned the ignorance of those who choose terrorism and kill in the name of Islam : »Those who engage in terrorism, in the name of Islam, are not Muslims. Their only link to Islam is the pretexts they use to justify their crimes and their folly. They have strayed from the right path, and their fate is to dwell forever in hell.

They think – out of ignorance – that they are engaging in jihad. Since when has jihad been synonymous with killing innocent people? The Almighty says: “Do not transgress limits, for Allah loves not transgressors”.

Is it conceivable that God – the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate – could order someone to blow himself up or kill innocent people? Islam, as a matter of fact, does not permit any kind of suicide – whatever the reasons or circumstances. The Almighty says: “if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people”.

Islam is the religion of peace. Almighty God says: “O you who believe! Enter into peace whole-heartedly”.

Jihad and suicide

His Majesty, Amir El Mouminine added "As for jihad in Islam, it is governed by specific conditions, including the fact that it is to be resorted to only for defense purposes – not for murder or aggression. It is forbidden to kill people under the pretext of jihad.

Also, to be valid, jihad would have to be called for by the Commandership of the Faithful – and not by an individual or group of people.

Those who call for murder and aggression, those who excommunicate people without a legitimate reason, those who interpret the Quran and the Sunnah to suit their purposes, are actually lying to Allah and His Messenger.

That, in fact, is the real blasphemy, for the Almighty says: “Who, then, does more wrong than one who utters a lie concerning Allah, and rejects the Truth when it comes to him; is there not in Hell an abode for blasphemers?”. My ancestor, Prophet Muhammad – may peace and blessings be upon him – said: “Whoever tells lies about me deliberately, let him take his place in Hell”.

Terrorists take advantage of some young Muslims – particularly in Europe – and of their ignorance of the Arabic language and of true Islam, to spread their distorted messages and misleading promises.

How could anyone of sound mind believe that the reward for jihad is a number of virgins ? How could one possibly accept that anyone who listens to music will be swallowed by the depths of the earth, and other such lies?

Terrorists and extremists use all means to convince young people to join them in order to attack societies profoundly committed to the ideals of freedom, openness and tolerance.

Condemnation of some self proclaimed « islam authorities »

« Moreover, several Muslim groups and societies perceive themselves as authorities on Islam, arguing that they represent true Islam – which implies others do not. In reality, however, they could not be further from Islam and its tolerant values.

Such attitudes encourage the spread of the extremist ideology, of excommunication and terrorism, for terror advocates believe that this is the path to true Islam. These people need to take a hard look at themselves and decide to what extent they are responsible for the crimes and human tragedies perpetrated in the name of Islam ».

Muslims, jews and christians must stand together against obscurantism

King Mohammed VI concluded « All of us are targets. Whoever thinks or believes in what I have just said is a target of terrorism. That scourge hit Morocco in the past, then it struck in Europe and in many parts of the world. As ignorance spreads in the name of religion, Muslims, Christians and Jews have to close ranks in order to tackle all forms of extremism, hatred and reclusiveness.

As attested by the history of mankind, it is impossible to achieve progress in a society which is plagued by radicalism and hatred, for the latter are the main ingredients of insecurity and instability.

There are countless examples, in human civilization, of success stories which show that religious interaction and coexistence produce open societies in which love, harmony and prosperity prevail.

This was also illustrated by the Islamic civilization, especially in Baghdad and Andalusia, which were among the greatest, most open civilizations of mankind ».

The immigration from Muslim countries in Europe is at the heart of debates often nauseating in the continent that gave birth, not so long ago, to Nazism and Fascism.

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