By Mohamed Brahimi
By Mohamed Brahimi
Morocco World News
Boston, March 6, 2012
As a young lad, I looked forward with much exuberance for Friday just so I could accompany my cousin from Derb Loubila to a mosque known to the residents of Casablanca as Jamaa Wald Al Hamra in the heart of the old madina. We would walk right past where the Aquarium once stood; a sight I recall with great bitterness when I realize that it is no longer there. But that’s a topic for another occasion. We were enthralled by the rare valiance that the Imam at that mosque showed through his sermons.
He was bold, and he said things that many grown ups could only whisper to their closest confidants. He provided society with the kind of escape that gave them a temporary glimpse into the sweet taste of freedom if they would only shed their fear. He spoke truth to power. This was none other that Imam Zamzami, a man with integrity, courage and candor
He was one of only very few Imams who were jeopardizing their lives and committing career suicide every time they got on the pulpit. Zamzami lamented the state of public affairs and spoke ill of the government by singling out its big wigs. People admired him for speaking for the millions who have fallen into a state of complacency and happily accepted to acquiesce to being gagged and silenced. Fast forward many years later, Zamzami found himself on the other side of the fence. He ran for office and became in the company of those he had vociferously lambasted through his fiery scathing Friday sermons.
Sheikh Zamzami was still no stranger to controversy. Only this time he was stirring a different kind of debate and acrimony. At times, he seemed to go out of his way to make media splashes with brash pronouncements that bordered with lunacy and revealed something about the man’s obsession with the Jurisprudence of Necrophilia, and sexual fetish.
By now, most observers could tell that Imam Zamzami has lost his iconoclastic flare but was certainly not out of the limelight. He became known for his repudiation of the February 20th movement and likened its members to schism rousers. He also took on a disgruntled engineer by the name of Ahmed Benseddik who has written an earlier letter revoking his allegiance to the king. Zamzami was of course appealing to Islam’s authority by advancing that it is unbecoming of a declared Muslim to withdraw allegiance from the king as commander of the faithful and doing so is akin to apostasy. Islam is routinely used as a galvanizing or a polarizing tool to justify a stance and bolster a position. Islam is often a source that beggars, kings, and counselors rely upon for legitimacy (Combs- Schilling)
It was not until last week with the publication of the names of the beneficiaries of Commercial transportation licenses (Grimat) that Zamzami monopolized all the headlines. From the outset, it all seemed like the public was unfairly going for Zamzami’s jugular while giving others a free pass. I patently agree with those who think that Zamzami is being used as the poster child for this saga. I agree that those who benefited from “grimat” should be subjected to the same amount of scrutiny as Zamzami. But I categorically reject the claim that this is tantamount to a public relation stunt or a well produced Media circus. These are matters of public record. The public should be prevue to who owns what. It is how transparency is established in order to build a paper trail by which we could tell who is likely to be embezzling or who is likely to be building wealth through legitimate means.
As for the apparent spat between the sheikh and the engineer, I think there is enough probable cause to suggest that Zamzami was on the clock when he fired up a letter chiding Benseddik for revoking his allegiance. The Engineer has recently challenged the Imam to a public debate. The latter can choose to either reject the offer and, thus, further solidify people’s suspicions of how much pandering are these men of the cloth involved with, or else he can show a little backbone and put an end to an avalanche of commentary that has been very unflattering to the Imam character. Although the evidence is just too damning and it would be close to impossible to engage into damage control at this point.
Founder of the Muslim American Civic and Cultural Association (MACCA), Mohamed Brahimi has led efforts to increase political and civic engagement among the local Muslim community. He was the Managing Director of a bi-monthly publication that caters to Moroccans and Muslims and propagates the importance of volunteerism and participatory citizenship. He has worked in numerous research endeavors as a voice for the Muslim community with Harvard University and the Institute of Community Health. He is also a Board Director of one of Massachusetts largest non-profit organizations. He has also worked with other immigrant groups on issues of great relevance such as hunger, poverty, toxic loans, and racism. He is currently working on the topic of Bicultural Stress.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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