Morocco\'s Islamists Gaining Ground in War against Secular Government
Islamists in Morocco have been victorious in a number of battles they have fought with the socialist-led government of Abderrahmane Youssifi, in light of a margin of tolerance on the part of King Mohammad VI, according to a report by BBC.com on Friday.
After successfully aborting the government's plan for women's rights, and clamoring for the closure of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat, Morocco's Islamists are now claiming another victory - the lifting of the ban on the sale of the Islamic books, including the Quran at this year's International Book Fair in Casablanca, said the report.
In the name of modernization, the minister of information and culture, Mohammed Achaari - a member of the governing socialist party, the USFP, had stopped the sale of imported Quran.
Censors were positioned at the book fair gates - in the shadow of Casablanca's landmark Hassan II mosque - to frisk the public for books and pamphlets of an Islamic hue, said the BBC.
But MPs from the Islamist Party of Justice and Development took to the parliament floor to accuse the government of “encouraging the profane and banning the holy.”
In the face of such inquisition, the minister said he merely wanted to protect Moroccan publishers of religious literature against a deluge of cheap Beirut editions, and to uphold the Moroccan edition of the Quran - the Warsh - which differs from the Hafs rendition of the Middle East.
Quran is recited according to seven styles (or accents). Warsh, named after a famous Quran scholar in the early time of Islam, is the one adopted in Morocco, while Hafs’s “riwaya” is common in the east part of the Arab world. But the differences are minor.
Achaari also suggested Morocco's Islamist movement were trading in Qurans for fund-raising, said BBC.
RALLIES A SUCCESS
It is the latest in a series of ideological clashes between the leftist-led government of Prime minister, Abderrahmane Youssifi, and Morocco's increasingly confident Islamist lobby.
Last March, hundreds of thousands of supporters demonstrated in Casablanca against a government plan to give women equal rights of divorce, said the report.
The plan has since been handed over to a committee for revision, and the minister promoting the plan, Saad Saadi, has been sacked.
Hundreds of thousands of Islamists also outnumbered government supporters at a rally in Rabat for the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The protest was the largest of its kind in the Arab world, with more than 700,000 chanting anti-Israeli slogans and calling for jihad, or holy war to liberate Jerusalem.
The new King Mohammed VI appears to be opting for tolerance, according to the BBC.
Abdessalam Yassine, the charismatic leader of the banned Islamist movement, Adl wal Ihsan, has been released after nearly a generation of incarceration.
And after initial crackdown, the authorities allowed Islamists to take their sermons against semi-nudity to the beach and hold mass prayer meetings in some of Morocco's most popular resorts.
Nevertheless, Islamist newspapers remain banned. And as the movement begins to flex its muscles, the authorities have resorted to tactics of old.
Last month, the authorities used tear-gas to repel an unauthorized pro-Palestine march in the city journalists now dub "Gaza...blanca".
According to reports, about 30 demonstrators were injured, three seriously, in Casablanca, Morocco's commercial hub, as police broke up an unauthorized anti-Israeli demonstration by thousands of protestors.
Islamist leaders say one protester died of his wounds.
Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters, some of whom retaliated by throwing stones, injuring two police in the clashes in the city's working-class Derb Soltane district.
Members of the Islamist Justice and Development Party were seen at the demonstration, AFP said, despite a communiqué issued by the party leadership on Saturday saying that its members would not go ahead with the demonstration after failing to obtain permission – (Several sources)
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