Rabat - The head of Morocco’santi-terrorism bureau, Abdelhak El Khiam, has pointed to Europe’s failure to “integrate” Moroccan youth as one cause of the radicalization of terrorists of Moroccan descent.
Rabat – The head of Morocco’santi-terrorism bureau, Abdelhak El Khiam, has pointed to Europe’s failure to “integrate” Moroccan youth as one cause of the radicalization of terrorists of Moroccan descent.
The Central Bureau of Judiciary Investigations (BCIJ) chief explainedin an interview with the Arabic-language daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribia that these youth are suffering from notable marginalization, even on the religious level.
“Spain did not understand the religious evolution of the Muslim community, which has its own traditions and rituals thatit needs to follow through the building of mosques to allow its members to practice their faith,” said El Khiam.
The BCIJ chief stressed the importance of religion in the fight against terrorism, saying that this fight cannot be won by tightened security alone.
El Khiam highlighted Morocco’s experience in countering terrorism by pointing out that the kingdom, since it was targeted in 2003, has set up a strategy to uproot terrorism based on three approaches:enhancing security measures, dealing with the social causes of terrorism,and spreading a moderate Islam based on the Maliki school of jurisdiction.
While some countries, such as France, understood the importance of religion in countering terrorism and sought Morocco’s experience to train their local imams on how to fight extremist ideology with a moderate discourse, El Khiam explained that Spain failed to do so.
The recent attacks however on August 17 in Barcelona and Cambrils seem to be a turning point.
The suspects of the terrorist cell that planned and carried out the attacks were all young men of Moroccan descent. Following the attacks, a high Spanish security delegation, headed by Minister of Interior Juan Igancio Zoido, visited Morocco in late August.
During the visit, the head of Morocco’s domestic intelligence and national security, Abdellatif Hammouchi met the heads of Spanish intelligence. BCIJ’s director also took part in the meeting.
El Khiam revealed to Al Ahdath that “coordination on the religious level is going to be at the heart of a series of future meetings” between Moroccan and Spanish officials.
“This coordination will go hand in hand with the cooperation on the security level,” explained El Khiam.