Washington DC - Egyptian fixation on Morocco has reached a “hysterical” level. With an economy tumbling and a security situation worsening, Egyptians still find the time to interfere in Morocco’s internal affairs.
Washington DC – Egyptian fixation on Morocco has reached a “hysterical” level. With an economy tumbling and a security situation worsening, Egyptians still find the time to interfere in Morocco’s internal affairs.
This weeks’ comments made by Youssef Eid, Secretary General of the Fatwa at Al-Azhar Mosque, the highest religious authority in Egypt, nullifying King Mohammed’s celebration of the aid-Al-Adha is the latest in an Egyptian campaign of misinformation and insults targeting the Kingdom. If Egyptians are “used to” elaborate conspiracy theories as a part of their public discourse, Moroccans find such grotesque accusations offensive and tasteless.
Before this incident, an Egyptian female television presenter flew into a rage stating that Morocco ranks among the highest countries with HIV infections. She went on to say that the Kingdom has “an economy based on prostitution revenues.” And more recently, an Egyptian actor threw racist slurs at Moroccans targeting the Moroccan Jewish community in particular.
Such bigot and ignorant rhetoric coming from President Abdel Fattah Sisi supporters will not solve Egypt’s political and security woes. Attacks on Morocco and other nations are not the answer to Cairo’s worries about Islamism, terrorism, and economic volatility. These concerns can only be addressed through sound policies and not by way of insults and smears.
Since Gen. Sisi overthrew the elected government of President Morsi in the 2013 military coup, Egypt has followed a divisive line that has galvanized its relations with several nations in the Muslim world. In some cases, as with Morocco, pro-government elements in the press and sympathizers of the Sisi regime launched smear campaigns targeting specific nations that they perceive as friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).
Unhappy with King Mohammed VI “success” in coexisting with an “Islamist” government, pro-Sisi elements went in a rampage to discredit the Moroccan experience. From Television presenters to clerics and passing by actors, some in Egypt inexplicably view the Moroccan example as a threat to their regime.
While there is a certain support for the MB in Morocco, officials in Rabat are wary of the “Brothers” and their domestic sympathizers. In fact, Rabat is aligned with anti-Brotherhood positions of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which support the Sisi regime. Unfortunately, all these details are lost on the ignorance of many “intellectuals” in Egypt.
Bashing Moroccans will not bring Egyptians “Bread, freedom, and social justice”. These slogans that were at the heart of the Egyptian Spring are still a mirage for many. Such mindless attacks will hurt Egypt’s international credibility and further diminish its regional status.
Under Sisi, Egypt’s obsession with governments, political organizations and civic groups remotely associated with any religious group in the Middle East and North Africa has created unnecessary enemies. Without grasping its particularities and domestic political scene, some in Cairo rush to view Morocco as a “threat” just because it has an “Islamist” government.
Years of friendship and close political and economic cooperation between the two countries are going up in smoke as Egyptian paranoia with “Muslim Brotherhood supporters” turns to anti-Moroccan libel. However, some in Cairo came to the defense of Morocco.
As the Arab world’s most populous country with a rich history and an influential cultural presence, Egypt was widely admired in Morocco. So, it came as a surprise to many Moroccans who admire the likes of Taha Hussein, Oum-Kaltoum and Adel Imam to hear Egyptians assaulting the Kingdom.
For the majority of Moroccans, the debate over the future of Egypt is an internal matter that should be debated and decided domestically. While some in Moroccans champion the Muslim Brotherhood, there is no official support for the Movement. In their blind hunt for MB supporters, Egyptians are losing respect around the world. They should step back and review these destructive campaigns.
Sisi antipathy of Islamist groups is dangerous as it continues to push moderate elements within Egypt and overseas into the arms of more extreme groups.
Egyptians should focus on their country’s political future and debate ways to improve their sagging economy; and not worry about Moroccans way of life. With high unemployment, absence of foreign investment and rising energy bills, Egypt needs a sound economic plan to revive its crumbling economy. It can’t rely on Gulf Sheikhdom’s donations forever.
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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