Rabat – “Those killers belong to no country,” writes famous Moroccan author Tahar Benjelloun of terrorists of Moroccan-origin in a recent article.
The author of “Harouda” and several other successful French-language works responded in an article published by Moroccan news outlet le360 to the recent controversy over terrorist attacks committed on European soil by people of Moroccan descent.
Benjelloun writes that he was asked to explain the alleged link between Morocco and terrorism in a conference in Rome on Thursday.
“How can you explain that terrorists who are acting in Europe recently are often Moroccans, born in Morocco or in Europe to Moroccan parents,” a woman at the conference asked Benjelloun.
The Prix Goncourt-winning writer says that he responded by telling his interlocutor that he himself, and many other Moroccans, are asking the same questions.
Benjelloun affirmed he could not help wondering what could have happened inside Moroccan families, understand neither how they had been infiltrated by such “criminal propaganda,” nor what what was going in the minds of those terrorists. What cause do they pretend to defend and what “explanations do they would give their parents if they survive?”
“No logical explanation is satisfactory,” writes Benjelloun, before listing a number of possibilities. “We can cite the collapse of national education, the failure of traditional political parties which did not know how to talk to the the people or take care of the youth. We can mention the role of the media, the violence complacently displayed on TV screens, satellite stations belonging to some Gulf countries which are tools of propaganda and dumbing down people in the name of an Islam that is not understood.”
The author argues that the young people who carried out attacks in Catalonia and Finland were prepared for violence, just needing someone to incite them. He says they lacked knowledge and morality to resist such a call.
However, Benjelloun deplores the “racist” explanation that linked the perpetrators’ crimes to their country of origin, stressing that this is rejected by Moroccans.
“We do not believe that Morocco produces only what is excellent,” admits the writer. Yet, he noted that history bears witness to how Moroccan society had spread an image of a moderate, tolerant, and peaceful Islam.
Rather, he blamed the 1979 Iranian Revolution for what he called “the politicization of Islam.” While extremist ideology had been spread by TV satellite channels, the web is now making matters worse.
“We are besieged and we do not know how to protect our youth from this poison, which is spreading with disconcerting ease,” Benjelloun warns.
As young people turn into terrorists, they cease to belong to their homeland, Benjelloun argue.
“Those killers belong to Daech and have no country. They claim belonging to a promised land in a mythical and improbable hereafter,” says the writer.
Benjelloun concludes that those terrorists have no “sentimental, moral or political” attachment to Morocco. “Their country is imaginary, it is wherever they could spread terror and death.”