By Sana Elouazi
In a video shared on his Facebook account, last week, the religious preacher declared that celebrating the New Year would be an “unforgivable sin” and that all New Year’s commercial activities should be strictly prohibited.
The preacher ordained Moroccans to avoid participating or imitating any of the “Mushrikins” (Polytheists) rituals and customs, adding that they are regarded in Islam as “kuffar” (infidels).
“Buying or selling the fir tree is Haram, taking a picture next to Santa Claus is Haram, partying is Haram and even sending New Year wishes is HARAM,” he shouted while violently stumping his cane.
Annahari also claimed that celebrating any non-muslim festivity will lead to imitation of the “infidels’ creeds” in a reference to a prophet saying that describes “those who imitate the infidels as being one of them and will be crammed with them in hell on resurrection day.”
The Oujda-based cleric, who is well known for his provocative statements, went as far as describing Moroccans who exchange hugs during their celebrations as “zebras.”
In 2015, he has stirred up controversy on social media by claiming that a comedy TV series that aired on 2M TV is “offensive” to Arabic and “an act of aggression” against the language. Although he admitted in the same footage that he had not seen a single episode of the show.
The Moroccan preacher also published a video, dating back to 2012, in which he supposedly called for the “murder” of the journalist Mukhtar Laghzioui, who said during an interview on the Arabic television station Al Mayadeen that he would not object to his mother or sister having sex without being married.
His call was subsequently supported by Morocco’s most senior Salafi clerics, Omar El Heddouchi and Hassan El Kettani.