With thanks: Michelle
Morocco is not immune to the anti-US demonstrations sweeping the Arab world in the wake of the anti-Islam video clip released on Youtube. A Moroccan-Israeli living in Essaouira, Noam Nir, who blogs at The King and I, was 'verbally abused' in an increasingly antisemitic atmosphere.
A Salafist demonstration in Agadir. The media and Jewish leadership are playing down their presence in Morocco
Noam Nir writes:
"Earlier this evening I was verbally assaulted by a 15-16 years old boy just
in front of the Atia synagogue in the Medina (old city) of Essaouira. While standing at the door after visiting Haim Aizenkot (Pinto) - who lives in terrible conditions - one of the boys playing football cursed the Jews ("F**K les juifs").
One thing led to another and before long 20 people surrounded us. I engaged
with him. Things calmed down and I left.
Apparently the youngster followed me 200 m, and asked me for forgiveness. Maybe
someone told him something and that is why he followed me, who knows. I looked at him straight into his regretful eyes, smiled, and said: "Musamikha, hiya li kayna" ("Forgiveness is what we have" a local saying for reconciliation after a
quarrel). I tapped him on the shoulder and
shook his hand. Then the boy and his friends turned back to
"This local incident could happen only in an antisemitic atmosphere, exactly the kind that followed the video (mistakenly attributed to Jews) that according to Muslims
offended their prophet.
"A wave of antisemitism is sweeping the kingdom. This wave has risen with the help of couple of hundred Salafists who in the past expressed their antisemitic agenda."
Noam Nir goes on to criticise the Moroccan media for failing to correct the impression that a Jew made the anti-Islam video which sparked protests and unrest across the Arab world.
He also criticises the Jewish community leader, Serge Berdugo, for playing down the importance of the resurgent Salafists, who are now leading the Morccan government with the king's blessing. Failing to condemn Salafist antisemitism will only sow the seeds of hatred in future generations.
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*Tunisian Salafists threaten imams who visited Tunisian synagogue: Speaking of Salafists, some 7,000 returned to Tunisia from exile in France. 'Moderate' French-based imam Hassen Chalghoumi told MEMRI: "On January 25 this year, I was at the synagogue in Tunis, along with 40 imams of different origins: from Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. The Jewish community in Tunis was terrified. They said that it was the first time since the revolution that non-Jews had entered the synagogue. We, as imams, were in peril [because of our visit] there. This was not easy for us. Fortunately, we had police protection."