Rabat – In the wake of the horrific stampede in the town of Sidi Boulalalm in the Essaouira province, which resulted in the death of 15 people and the injury of 40 others, Moroccans have begun asking who runs the charity that was distributing food at the site of the incident.
The owner of the charity, named Abdelkebir Hadidi, is one of Casablanca’s most renowned imams. He was born in 1963 in Douar Ighissi in Sidi Boulalalm, where the stampede occurred.
Hadidi, who is also the head of the Ighissi Association for Quran Learning and Social Activities, has reportedly followed his father’s path, who was a faqih (preacher) in the region.
Hadidi joined the Koranic school of his douar at an early age, learning the Quran by heart by the time he was 10. He then left Essaouira to join an Islamic training institute in Casablanca before heading to Saudi Arabia to pursue his studies, reported Moroccan media.
During his journey in Saudi Arabia, Hadidi built ties with donors from the Gulf countries, including in United Arab Emirates.
After returning to Morocco in the mid-1990s, Hadidi was assigned to the Hay Mohammadi mosque as an imam. He then moved to Settat, where he preached in different mosques across the city.
The imam then moved back to Casablanca to take care of Assabil mosque in the city’s ”California” neighborhood, where he became so famous that Ain Chock inhabitants started calling the mosque the “Hadidi mosque,” according to Moroccan magazine Telquel.
In 1991, Hadidi won the Hassan II Prize for the psalmody of the Quran. He was also honored six years ago by a delegation of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
In the aftermath of the horrific incident, Hadidi was called by the Moroccan authorities for investigations. The imam then told investigators that he had informed the authorities of the operation, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday in the weekly souk of Sidi Boulalam. He explained that “the operation was in accordance with the law under the supervision of the authorities.”
Investigations are still ongoing in order to determine the circumstances of the incident and establish who was responsible. The remains of 15 people killed were handed over to their families on Monday for burial.
Moroccan authorities have deployed 21 vehicles to transfer the victims from the morgue to the cemeteries chosen by the families of the victims.