Nothing To Fear

Posted: 2 November 2018 in Cultural, Prisons, Understanding Others
Tags: ,

Mounir el-Motassadeq

I haven’t posted anything for a while, but The Daily Mail provoked me.  Their recent headline “Terrorist back and treated like a hero”, about a 9/11 plotter just released from a German prison and his return home, to Morocco.  We should fear Morocco?  So it’s full of zealots then?  I detected quite the reverse when I was there in recently.

The Daily Mail was outraged that his wife was pleased to see him.  That his mother thanked God for his return.  What mother wouldn’t?  Or wife?  Warmer the better I’d say.  I know from our own prisons, that offenders are less likely to commit new crimes after their release if their family connections are strong.  Mounir el-Motassadeq will be less likely to restart terrorist-jihad if his wife and three children really connect with him, and look to him to stick to more orthodox Islam instead.

I travelled over quite a bit of Morocco: the cities, mountains, the desert, the coast and saw a lot of people.  Sure – Morocco is overwhelmingly Muslim, Sunni Islam too.  But there’s a deep patriotic undercurrent that goes with this. They certainly don’t look to Saudi Arabia for their take on things.  They are largely not hot on Salafi type militancy, but like to worship more in the Sufi contemplative and musical way.  It is not a fearful thing.  Many look to their king as a key religious influence.


Happy chatter

On a lot of occasions I chatted to people on religious matters.  On how the practices of Islam, Christianity and Judaism compared. On faith, on the spiritual world.  Yes, everyone was “polite”, but it was a cordiality that came easily.  And they knew more about bits of Christianity than many of the Europeans I was with.

It is not as if the history of relations between Morocco and the West has always been sweet.  There have been 1300 years of jihad, piracy, invasion, colonialisms!  But its left little bitterness.  Perhaps a certain edge in Moroccan-French relations (but there’s plenty of that here too, eh?).

The food and mint tea is interesting, beaches nice, mountains and desert great to see, the old cities fascinating.  Yes, you can get grief in the old markets from the haggling.  But compared to the leach like intensity that you can get elsewhere, it is

Dancing in the desert.JPG

Dancing in The Sahara

not that bad.  A surprising number of people in the cities have a small amount of English.  If you are just polite to Moroccans, I found them generous hearted, warm, welcoming.

Back to Islam – whatever your religion, you should take it seriously.  Most Moroccans did, but were nice with it.  There is nothing we should fear. Go and see for yourself.



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