Sunday, July 19, 2009

Islamists gaining ground in Morocco by Olivier Guitta

June 12 was election day in Iran. But in another Muslim country, local elections were also conducted that very day. It was in Morocco and the outcome was very little commented and when it was, the analysis was most of the time flawed.

Indeed the Western media and various experts declared that the Islamists were decimated and that they were now history. Think again! In fact, the main official Islamist party, the PJD (Parti de la Justice et du Développement), a loose offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is far from dead and one could make the case that it got its best results ever. Abdelillah Benkirane, the PJD’s General Secretary, succinctly summed up the outcome of the elections, “We’ve won” and in a way he is right.

At first sight, it is easy to see why some pundits called the PJD’s defeat: in absolute terms the party garnered only about 6% of the votes. But to put things in perspective it ran only for 8,000 seats out of the about 27,000 in play- i.e. about 29%-. The PJD smartly targeted the cities where it is quite popular and was quite successful because it finished actually first in towns with over 35,000 inhabitants. And more importantly the PJD finished first in Rabat, the kingdom’s capital and Casablanca, the economic capital. With political alliances the PJD is one way or another in the driver’s seat in Rabat, Casablanca and Kenitra. Will it be able to enforce its very strict conservative religious agenda that runs counter to what Morocco stands for? This remains to be seen. In the meantime, the PJD has joined forces with the Socialist Party, the USFP, and has defacto lost its “pariah” label. The PJD has now become a party like all the others and is likely pretty content with this newly acquired status. In fact, two years ago the West was afraid of an Islamist tsunami in Morocco and is now clearly relieved that it did not occur.

But with a flawed analysis, the West is missing the big picture that little by little the Islamists are gaining ground, controlling cities and penetrating the core of Moroccan society. Like in most countries, the Islamists are not really in a rush to seize power: the tortoise always beats the hare in the end…


Omar said...

Hello I would like to invite you to visit our website :

IKhwanweb is the Muslim Brotherhood"s only official English web site. The Main office is located in London, although Ikhwanweb has correspondents in most countries. Our staff is exclusively made of volunteers and stretched over the five continents.
The Muslim Brotherhood opinions and views can be found under the sections of MB statements and MB opinions, in addition to the Editorial Message.
Items posted under "other views" are usually different from these of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ikhwanweb does not censor any articles or comments but has the right only to remove any inappropriate words that defy public taste
Ikhwanweb is not a news website, although we report news that matter to the Muslim Brotherhood"s cause. Our main misson is to present the Muslim Brotherhood vision right from the source and rebut misonceptions about the movement in western societies. We value debate on the issues and we welcome constructive criticism.

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roy_mitsuoka said...


I invite you to read the following:

Current Trends in Islamist Ideology Vol. 6. "The Politicization of American Islam." Haqqani, Husain.

Your public relations type responce indicates lack historical knowlegde and inherit flaw of and use of revisionist perspectives.

God speed.