Moroccan, French FMs discuss economic, security ties

The foreign ministers of Morocco and France met in Rabat on October 9 to discuss means of promoting bilateral cooperation in the economic, security and cultural arenas.

“Talks focused on means of enhancing the relationship between our two countries,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said in a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who arrived in Morocco on Monday for a two-day visit.

According to Bourita, the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss a range of pressing issues, including an upcoming visit to Morocco by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Le Drian’s current visit to Morocco, Bourita said, came within the context of ongoing efforts to enhance bilateral ties — including stepped-up strategic cooperation — between Morocco and France.

“The fight against extremism and terrorism is a key component of the continued cooperation between Rabat and Paris,” the Moroccan minister asserted, pointing in particular to what he described as “exemplary cooperation” in the security field.

Morocco, he went on to note, had recently helped train dozens of French imams as part of a bilateral agreement aimed at combatting extremist rhetoric.

In September of 2015, then French President Francois Hollande and Moroccan King Mohammed VI signed an agreement to train French imams with a view to bringing their rhetoric into line with the values ​​of “moderate” Islam.

At the press conference, Le Drian described the cooperation between the two friendly countries as “important and serious”.

Monday’s talks, he added, had focused largely on economic and security cooperation, along with the issues of migration and environment.

Processes of identification among second generation ‘climbers’ in the Netherlands [PDF Download]

Why do so called second generation ‘social climbers’, identify with their ethnicity? When do these adult children of immigrants, who reached high educated

A new study illuminates the processes of identity development amongst second generation Dutch Muslims.
A new study illuminates the processes of identity development amongst second generation Dutch Muslims.

levels, identify in ethnic terms and why? How do their identifications develop over time?

Many in the Netherlands wonder why children of immigrants, especially when they are higher educated, ‘still’ identify with their ethnicity, and why some of them ‘still’ have friends with the same ethnic background. Such co-ethnic orientation is often interpreted as an expression of segregation and as unwillingness to ‘integrate’. Does his view do justice to the experiences of these individuals?

In her research, Marieke Slootman focuses on this theme of ethnic identification. Furthermore, she considers the analytical use of the terms identity and ethnicity, and explores the possibilities of Mixed Methods research. She recently finished her dissertation, titled: Soulmates. Reinvention of ethnic identification among higher educated second generation Moroccan and Turkish Dutch. (English and Dutch summary can be downloaded below).

[Download Survey Here]

Suspected of jihad, a young man from Savoie imprisoned in Morocco

French citizen Thomas Marchal was arrested by Moroccan police for suspected involvement in jihadist activities.
French citizen Thomas Marchal was arrested by Moroccan police for suspected involvement in jihadist activities.

Thomas Marchal, 22 years old, converted to Islam two years ago. Following his conversion he became increasingly zealous in his religious beliefs and left France to live in Morocco “to practice his faith in a Muslim country.” Prior to his arrest he was living in Marrakech working at a call center.

One month ago Moroccan police visited his workplace for questioning. Two days later they returned and arrested him. He was held in custody for thirteen days and was not allowed to contact a lawyer or his family, nor was he given a translator. Marchal said he signed papers written in Arabic under duress without knowing what they said. After being imprisoned for three weeks he finally reached his sister Charlotte by telephone and asked her for help. She has received help from the Collective of French Prisoners in Morocco. She says she “does not understand why her brother was not allowed to have a lawyer or translator,” and has not received word from the consulate about his condition.

 

 

SCP-research: Low Rate of Acceptance Homosexuality Among Conservative Believers [PDF Download]

A recent research executed by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) among conservative muslims and protestants shows that a majority disapproves of homosexuality. 53 percent of Muslims and 58 percent of Protestants (outside of the mainstream Dutch Protestant Church) believes homosexuality is wrong.

Both groups show little difference in views among youth and elders. The research also shows that seventy 5 percent of conservative muslims and protestants would find it problematic if their children would have a partner of the same gender.

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker has expressed the need for more investment into the acceptance of homosexuality. In the Dutch parliament the Labour Party (PvdA) – the party of which Bussemaker is a member – wants to organize a public hearing of experts and consequently hold a debate with the Dutch cabinet.

The research furthermore shows that Dutch natives are more acceptive of homosexuality than Dutch citizens with an immigrant background. 10 percent of Dutch natives see homosexuality as something thats wrong while 50 percent of Dutch citizens with Turkish or Moroccan backgrounds think this is the case.

COC – an interest group for gay rights – believes that change should come from within migrant communities. Gays with a Moroccan or Turkish background could play an important role the organization thinks. The COC did express their opinion that the government should support relevant initiatives from these groups more frequently.

[Click Here to Download Full Report]

 

 

 

Imams from Amsterdam start website for youth, against radicalism

Five imams from Amsterdam are starting a ‘peaceful jihad’, consisting of a website and meetings where youth can ask questions, to prevent them from radicalizing. They say they want to make clear what the correct meaning of jihad is. Not ‘war’, as many people in general and Muslim youth think, but: ‘striving.’

According to Mohammed Ercharrouti, chairman of the Board of Moroccan Mosques in North-Holland’, radicalized youth have weak theological knowledge, which makes them amenable to the ideas of radical organizations.

Update: Dutch Politician Loses Key Aide After Anti-Moroccan Chant

April 23, 2014

 

Geert Wilders’ personal policy advisor and member of Zuid Holland provincial council has left the Freedom Party (PVV). Stephan Jansen, who has been active for the party since 2006, says in a letter to party workers that his departure is due to the anti-Moroccan statements made by Wilders during and after the local election campaign.

‘The recent statements about Moroccans made by our political leader, Mr. Wilders, have ensured our party will never be taken seriously again,’ Jansen writes. ‘No other political party will work with us.’

Two MPs, one MEP and a handful of provincial councilors have quit since Geert Wilders led supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant after the local elections. At the same time, a poll conducted for the party indicated that 43% of the 2,500 respondents “would rather there were fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.”

 

Dutch News- http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/04/pvv_leader_wilders_loses_key_a.php#sthash.VZNePFEN.dpuf

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/04/de_hond_defends_poll_as_43_say.php

 

Update: Continued Reaction to Anti-Moroccan Chant by Dutch Politician

April 3, 2014

 

The impact of right wing politician Geert Wilders’ anti-Moroccan chant before local elections in the Netherlands continues. The public prosecution has released a statement after receiving more than 5,000 formal complaints about the chant. According to the prosecution, decision to prosecute will not be influenced by the volume of complaints. “We look at the contents and what Mr Wilders exactly said and in which context,” the department said in a statement. “In principle, one complaint is sufficient. We will take note that so many have been made but that will not influence what Wilders said or if he committed a crime.”

The department could not say when it will reach a decision regarding whether to prosecute.

Two MPs, one MEP and a selection of local and provincial councilors have broken ties with the PVV since the chant.

AFP via Expatica– http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/dutch-news/5000-police-complaints-against-dutch-populist-wilders_289344.html

Dutch News– http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/04/more_than_5000_make_police_com.php

Dutch Newshttp://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/04/new_poll_of_polls_shows_impact.php

A Spaniard directed a Jihadist cell

March 14, 2014

 

The Spanish and Moroccan police have dismantled the most active jihadist cell in Spain, responsible for recruiting volunteers for the ” jihad ” terrorist groups and integrated into the orbit of Al Qaeda. Seven people, including the head of the network , have been arrested in this operation , developed in Melilla ( three detainees ), Morocco ( three ) and Malaga (one).
The leader, Mustafa Maya Amaya, is of Spanish Belgian origin and resident in Melilla. Maya Amaya , considered the ” main driving force ” of the network , had previously selected  two French citizens, who he would then prepare for immediate march to Syria.
Nowadays, Maya Amaya was responsible for organizing, coordinating and sending jihadists to Syria, to assure flights, accommodation and the shipment of funds.

 

La Razon: http://www.larazon.es/detalle_normal/noticias/5839939/un-espanol-dirigia-la-celula-yihadista-hispano-marroqui-desmantelada#Ttt1kJcIk7O9J92M

A Controversial opening act at the famed Sanremo Music Festival

February 19, 2014

 

Souad Sbai, a former MP and president of the Community Association of Moroccan Women in Italy (ACMID Woman) expressed her outrage at the choice of Cat Steven to open the famed Sanremo music festival. In a note Sbai said “I’m sorry I have to note once again the inability of state television to act as a public service. I find it shameful that the Parliamentary Oversight Committee at Rai television did not intervene to avoid hosting a controversial celebrity for the opening of the Sanremo music festival” Sbai is against the British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, because in the “in the 1970s converted to Islam and now goes by the name Yusuf Islam” and “ he continues to be on the blacklist for traveling to the United States.” Sbai then points out that “in 2006, here in Italy, the pop star was the subject of a parliamentary panel led by the Minister of the Interior, Giuliano Amato, for an interview in which he spoke about Islamic propaganda.”

 

Andkronos: http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/News/Spettacolo/Sanremo-Souad-Sbai-Cat-Stevens-in-lista-nera-Usa-era-meglio-non-farlo-esibire_321244456940.html

Belgian Court of Appeals Jails Dutch Moroccan Men

January 9, 2014

 

A Belgian appeal court has found three men from Amsterdam, of Moroccan origin, guilty of membership in a terrorist organization. They were said to have collected money and recruited fighters for Chechnya, though charges of conspiring to launch a terrorist attack in Belgium were dropped.

The men deny any involvement in terrorism. One is a former youth worker in Amsterdam West and was a well respected community figure. The men were arrested in 2010 and deported to Belgium in 2011, where they were among 14 suspects involved in the appeal trial. The lower court had found the men not guilty.

 

Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/01/belgian_appeal_court_jails_ams.php