Rabat - Even though each of the young men suspected in the Barcelona terror attacks left Morocco at a very young age and grew up in Spain, western media has labelled them simply “Moroccans,” thus implicitly suggesting that Morocco as their country of origin is the source of the terror attacks and poses a danger because of its proximity to Europe.
Rabat – Even though each of the young men suspected in the Barcelona terror attacks left Morocco at a very young age and grew up in Spain, western media has labelled them simply “Moroccans,” thus implicitly suggesting that Morocco as their country of origin is the source of the terror attacks and poses a danger because of its proximity to Europe.
The Financial Times published an article on August 22, entitled Barcelona attacks put spotlight on Moroccan militants. The Guardian also wrote “Moroccan Isis terrorists pose a threat on Europe’s doorstep as the headline of an article published on August 20.
The implication of this superficial and irresponsible journalism is that the suspects committed the terror attacks because they are of Moroccan origin. Yet, the stories omit key facts that bear on whether they are simply Moroccan, or the suspects not only grew up but were radicalized in Spain by an Imam who emigrated from Morocco to Spain 17 years ago and who himself was radicalized in Spain.
Moroccan or Spanish?
So who are these terrorist suspects? Younès Abouyaaqoub, the driver of the van that crashed in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas Avenue killing 13 people and injuring 120 people, was born in Mrit, a town located in the Middle Atlas. He emigrated to Spain, with his parents, at the age of seven.
His brother Houssain, one of the suspects killed by the Catalan police in Cambrils, emigrated along his brother to Spain when he was only fouryears old.
Media has focused also on the Moroccan nationality of the Hichamy brothers, both also terrorist attack suspects,Omar Hichamy left his native birthplace the town of Mrirt at the age of three, while his brother Mohmed left at the age of six.
Likewise with the Aalla brothers. While they were born in the town of Ksiba, Said left Morocco at the age of eight, while his brother Youssef was only 11.
Their brother, Mohamed Aalla, who was arrested by the police and released after a preliminary hearing by a judge, is the eldest of the suspects involved in terrorist attacks. He emigrated to Spain at the age of 16
The media has also associated the Oukabir brothers with the Barcelona attacks. Moussa Oukabir, one of the five men killed in Cambrils, was born in Ripoll, Spain, and holds Spanish nationality. His brother Driss was born in Aghbala and left Morocco when he was only ten years old
The last Moroccan whose name has been been linked to the attacks in Catalonia is Mohamed Houli Chemlal. Born in Farhana, near Nador, Morocco,he emigrated to Spain with his parents while still an infant only six months old.
The Land on which Terrorism Thrives
Each of the suspects in the terror attacks in Spain left Morocco at an early age. Yet, western media has erroneously linked the mere fact of being born in Morocco as the seeming catalyst for committing the terrorist acts.
Obviously, the reasons for radicalization are far more complex than merely being born in a country. The suspects here were raised and educated in Spain. Spain is where they developed their extreme beliefs.
Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty is suspected of having played a key role in the radicalization of the young menin volved in the attacks.
Originally from the town of Chefchaouen, Es Sattyleft Morocco in 2000. Imprisoned for drug trafficking, he was influenced by extremist dogmas in a Spanish correction facility.
Upon leaving prison, he became an imam in the town of Ripoll, without anyaccreditation from the Higher Council of Ulemas, which is the authority that sends Moroccan Imams abroad.