Rabat - Party of Justice and Development’s Announcement of a Salafist heading its voter list in Marrakech constituency has sparked controversy in Morocco.
Rabat – Party of Justice and Development’s Announcement of a Salafist heading its voter list in Marrakech constituency has sparked controversy in Morocco.
On August 29, Justice and Development Party (PJD) made its voter lists public in Morocco with 79 constituencies. Hammad Kabbaj, a disabled Salafist heading the list of Marrakech-Gueliz, has been the subject of investigations and attacks from both liberals and Salafists.
The statement of the PJD’s spokesman, Slimane Omrani, seems to stand between the two conflicting perspectives, the Salafist and the liberal. Omrani told Telqel that the PJD’s electoral nominee is “an illuminated and moderate Salafist who believes in institutions and moderate Islam.”
Telquel, the Moroccan French-speaking weekly, magazine finds the PJD’s statement doubtful. It says in an article published on August 31st, “the religious vision of Hammad Kabbaj is consistent with that of the Wahhabi Salafists.”
A Moroccan organization dedicated to children’s rights quoted in the same source, “Touche pas à mon enfant” (don’t touch my child). said it was surprised at the PJD’s decision to nominate Kabbadj, “We have been surprised to know that Hammad Kabbaj, a takfiri preacher, will take part on October 7th,” the organization said in a statement.
The organization’s sentiment is based on the fact that the controversial figure has worked together with Mohammad Maghraoui, a preacher who had published a religious ruling authorizing 9-year old girls to get married.
Another liberal, anti-Islamist news source, Al Alhdath Almaghribia, also expressed its discontent with the PJD’s decision. In its August 30 issue, it published an article qualifying Kabbaj as “a Marrakchi Salafist who does not believe in democracy.”
Salafists in Morocco disapprove of all political participation. Kabbaj’s engagement in political activism has stirred a wave of accusations from the Salafists.
Abu Abdallah Youssef, an active Moroccan Salafist blogger, describes the PJD nominee as “a man mesmerized by politics and media […] whose beard and disability did not prevent him from taking part and cawing in demonstrations and vigils.”