A group of Moroccan intellectuals have called for the cancellation of famous Egyptian preacher Omar Abdelkafi’s planned visit to Morocco.
Rabat – Fifteen Moroccan intellectuals, including academic professors, authors and human rights activists, signed a petition on Thursday opposing Abdelkafi’s visit to Rabat.
Sheikh Abdelkafi “is known for his extremist sermons that incite hatred towards the followers of the two religions,” said the group’s statement, referring to Judaism and Christianity.
The 67-year-old preacher is expected to give two religious lectures on November 24-25 at the Mohammed V theater in Rabat. Al Joud Islamic association invited the preacher and organized the lectures.
Titled “No to hatred and extremism,” the petition said that “nothing justifies the arrival of this controversial preacher to Morocco,” calling on organizers to “cancel the visit.”
The signatories also stressed Ablelkafi’s “admiration for the Nazi criminal Adolf Hitler.” The Egyption, the petition elaborated, is a “misogynist preacher, known for his many sermons discriminating against the Muslim woman”.
According to the group, Sheikh Abdelkafi’s visit constitutes an “insult to our non-Muslim fellow citizens, an affront to Moroccan women and a categorical denial of open and tolerant Islam.”
Other intellectuals have called for restraint, declining to sign the petition.
Renowned Moroccan author Mohammed Ennaji, who opposed the petition, argued that the controversial Egyptian Sheikh should be granted his right to exercise his freedom of speech.
We should respond to the preacher “with analysis and criticism, not with prohibition, unless he calls for violence,” Ennaji wrote on his Facebook page.
An official of Al Joud association told AFP that the invitation is programed. There is “nothing hateful in the preaching of Sheikh Abdelkafi.”
The intellectuals also called on the Moroccan Ministry of Culture to “ensure that institutions under its supervision do not serve as a platform for events and stakeholders advocating extremism, hatred, racial or religious supremacy, exclusion, and violence “.
The signatories included Moroccan authors and human right activists such as Ahmed Assid, Abderrahim El Jamai, Fouad Abdelmoumni, Abderrahim Jamai, and Driss Ksikes.
Sheikh Abdelkafi has a large audience in the Arab and Muslim world.