Skip to main content

Moroccan Islamist sentenced over criticism of Israel normalization

1 min

In a recent ruling that has sparked controversy, Abderrahmane Zankad, a Moroccan Islamist activist, has been sentenced to five years in prison for "offending the king" after criticizing Morocco's normalization of relations with Israel on social media.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco © MNS

In a recent ruling that has sparked controversy, Abderrahmane Zankad, a Moroccan Islamist activist, has been sentenced to five years in prison for "offending the king" after criticizing Morocco's normalization of relations with Israel on social media.

Zankad, a member of the Al Adl Wal Ihssane group, which is banned but tolerated in Morocco, made headlines with his Facebook posts that condemned the normalization process with Israel and critiqued Arab leaders' stance on the Gaza war.

Notably, one of his posts referenced the title "Commander of the Faithful" of King Mohammed VI, leading to his conviction.

This case has ignited a fierce debate, with Al Adl Wal Ihssane, known for organizing pro-Palestinian protests weekly since the outset of the Gaza war, denouncing the verdict as "unjust" in a strong statement.

The backdrop to this situation is the war in Gaza, triggered by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7, which has intensified opposition in Morocco to the normalization process with Israel that began in late 2020.

Human rights organizations frequently criticize the Moroccan authorities for penalizing online expressions deemed offensive to the king, Islam, or the nation's constitutional institutions, citing concerns over freedom of speech rights.

Moroccan diplomacy is particularly clear-cut. Maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel does not negate its long-standing support for the Palestinian cause. 

Rabat condemned the massacre committed in Israel on October 7 while providing humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza. 

Having diplomatic relations with Israel allows for playing a significant role in attempting to find a resolution to the conflict and, more broadly, in the search for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. 

Both the King and his Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, spare no effort to achieve this.

By Loubna El Mekki

Related

Subscribe to our newsletter

Mena banner 4

To make this website run properly and to improve your experience, we use cookies. For more detailed information, please check our Cookie Policy.

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.