Morocco is often invoked as a model “moderate” Islamic state. But it looks as if the jihadists have been able to gain a foothold there as well, the same way they have been able to do so everywhere: through intimidation and appeals to the Qur’an and Sunnah. “Arrests spark fears of armed Islamist takeover,” from the Washington Times, with thanks to Twostellas:
RABAT, Morocco — Police have arrested more than 500 Islamist activists since late May on accusations that they were planning a coup to replace Morocco’s pro-U.S. monarchy with an Islamic state.
Most were released swiftly, but the arrests revived fears that the country’s largest Islamic movement, Al Adl wa al Ihsane, or Justice and Charity, is preparing to take up arms to fulfill predictions from the group’s own Sufi mystics that Morocco’s monarchy will fall this year.
The group, which already has Islamized higher education in Morocco, wants to replace the monarchy with an Islamic state and cut all political, cultural and economic relations with the West — moves that it argues will end poverty and corruption in Morocco.
So far, its hundreds of thousands of followers have been content to patiently wait for an Islamic state to emerge. However, as the group’s mystics churn out religiously inspired visions at an ever-faster rate, analysts fear the group will have to take action or risk losing credibility….
Sheik Yassine added that, for 14 centuries, “politics and spirituality have been kept apart by the Arab elites. And we have been able to reconnect these two aspects of Islam — and that is why people fear us.”
George Joffe, a North Africa specialist at the Center of International Studies at Cambridge University, said Al Adl wa al Ihsane “may not be directly threatening violence, but their subtext is that the government is creating conditions which might cause violence to erupt.”…
“They have changed the universities into places of intolerance — against girls, against gays, Jews, alcohol — against almost everything,” said Jamal Berraoui, editor of Voice of the People, a Casablanca newspaper. “They hold the universities hostage. They have created a climate of intellectual terrorism.”
The Al Adl wa al Ihsane-run student union has forced the government to remove secular subjects such as philosophy from university curriculums. The group also has campaigned successfully for new university mosques, which it then staffs with radical Islamic preachers.
“When we talk with the Ministry of Education, we insist that our education conform to Islamic standards,” said Mohamed Belkasmi, an economics student and head of the student union at Casablanca University. “We insist that our country’s laws and teachings consist only of the Koran.”