Rabat - Faced with a wave of criticism on social media over its recent cover linking Morocco with terrorism, French magazine Jeune Afrique has published an article in its online edition responding to the controversy.
Rabat – Faced with a wave of criticism on social media over its recent cover linking Morocco with terrorism, French magazine Jeune Afrique has published an article in its online edition responding to the controversy.
The controversial red-color cover, with the headline “Terrorism Born in Morocco,” features a five-pointed star in the middle representing the kingdom’s flag, showed the Moroccan-born suspects of the cell accused of carrying the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.
Scores of Moroccans expressed criticism of the cover on social media, and some shared a “counter cover” with the title “Talents Born in Morocco,” showing prominent successful Moroccan figures such as actor Gad El Maleh and writer Leila Sleimani. Their reaction prompted Jeune Afrique to respond.
“Bringing to the fore the birthplace of terrorists does not mean stigmatizing Moroccans,” said the magazine’s editor-in-chief François Soudan.
The veteran journalist said the interpretations some have given to the cover are the result “of a misunderstanding and have nothing to do with the intentions of Jeune Afrique.”
He went on to add that as is common in social media, the critics judged the cover “without taking the trouble” of reading the articles inside.
Soudan tried to establish a difference between “Born in Morocco,” which what the title said, and “Made in Morocco,” which, if it had been used, could imply the magazine was stigmatizing the kingdom.
He also explained that the three lines bellow the main title of the cover clearly indicates the young terrorist suspects were radicalized in Europe, not in Morocco, and that it was in Europe that they were recruited by the Islamic State group (ISIS).
“Our article clearly explains that, except from being their birth place, the Barcelona terrorist had cut all links with the kingdom,” he said.
Soudan also brought up the magazine’s editorial, written by himself, which he said it “clearly rejected allegations made by Spanish and British newspapers” which suggested Morocco has been getting rid of its “jihadists” by making it easier for them to immigrate to Europe, as well as the claims that Moroccans have a “genetic predisposition to extremism.”
“In any case, we would not have allowed ourselves in making the same allusions which have nothing to do with the reality of a country that we know perfectly well,” said Soudan.
The editor-in-chief stated that “Jeune Afrique has always treated the issues related to Morocco without succumbing to the siren song of sensationalism.”
As for the counter-cover of successful Moroccans shared on social media, Soudan said this is not “a new exercise” for Jeune Afrique, which had highlighted the success of Moroccans in its previous issues.