Rabat - Salafi turned-politician Hammad Kabbaj is raising a few more eyebrows.
Rabat – Salafi turned-politician Hammad Kabbaj is raising a few more eyebrows.
The surprise candidate of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) has become a controversial choice.
Kabbaj’s latest attention-getting statement: Don’t fear Islam, politics should embrace it.
“If the political scene was more open to religious [people] and to Salafism, that could help absorb and weaken extremism,” said Kabbaj during an interview.
Salafis are religious fundamentalist who have return to the ways of Islam during the times of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and his closet companions in dress, manner, and lifestyle.
Last year, Kabbaj was accused of hating Jewish people after he posted a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) which talked of killing Jews.
Kabbaj was quick to say that he was not fond of “Zionists” and holds them “responsible for terrorist practices against the Palestinians.”
Controversial or just outspoken, Kabbaj is well known and highly respected in the Marrakesh region in which he seeks election.
The wheelchair-bound cleric was born into a prominent and influential Marakkeshi family. He has been a quadriplegic since an accident when he was 16 years old. He is also a self-taught hafeez (memorizer) of Quran, reported Gulf News.
Kabbaj is also an author of numerous books on how religious thought can be used to oppose extremism like ISIS and others. Terrorism experts say that Morocco has already become a recruiting ground for terrorists.
“The slums of Casablanca are certainly a place where extremists recruit and train Moroccan youth to join their cause,” says Loretta Napoleoni, author of Merchants of Men: How Jihadists and ISIS Turned Kidnapping and Refugee Trafficking into a Multi-Billion Dollar Business.
“It is widespread inequality which makes poverty even more unbearable,” said Napoleoni as a reason why the poor join terrorist organizations.
Kabbaj said that Salafism offers a principled and disciplined position against all forms of extremism and hatred.
“Legitimate, moderate Salafist discourse can persuade young people to retreat” from such tendencies, said Kabbaj.