Shias all around
The New York Times on what "has long been viewed as a rare liberalizing, modernizing Islamic state" "in a region dominated by uncompromising examples of state control, like Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt."
Since a major bombing of downtown hotels and shopping areas by Islamic radicals in 2003, and a thwarted attempt at another bombing campaign in 2007, there has been a major and continuing crackdown on those suspected of being extremists here.
In 2003, anyone with a long beard was likely to be arrested. Even now, nearly 1,000 prisoners considered to be Islamic radicals remain in Moroccan jails. Six Islamist politicians (and a reporter from the Hezbollah television station, Al Manar) were jailed recently, accused of complicity in a major terrorist plot. The case was full of irregularities and based mainly on circumstantial evidence, according to a defense lawyer, Abelaziz Nouaydi, and Human Rights Watch.
In a rare interview, Yassine Mansouri, Morocco’s chief of intelligence, said that the arrested politicians “used their political activities as a cover for terrorist activities.”
“It was not our aim to stop a political party,” he said. “There is a law to be followed.”
Morocco is threatened, Mr. Mansouri said, by two extremes — the conservative Wahhabism spread by Saudi Arabia and the Shiism spread by Iran. “We consider them both aggressive,” Mr. Mansouri said. “Radical Islam has the wind in its sail, and it remains a threat.”
Source: The New York Times
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