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Moroccan cheikhs reflect on Tunisia deportation

By Mohamed Saadouni for Magharebia in Casablanca – 12/06/12 ‬

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Two Moroccan salafist preachers denied entry into Tunisia in May are speaking out about their treatment.

Hassan Kettani and Omar Hadouchi were detained at Tunis-Carthage International Airport on May 15th, when they arrived to present a series of lectures on behalf of Dar as-Salam Association for Charity and Sharia Sciences in Bizerte.

Hundreds of salafists awaiting their arrival protested the move, causing a scene at the airport.

Kettani and Hadouchi were imprisoned in Morocco on charges of inciting the 2003 Casablanca attacks before a royal pardon in February.

"The Tunisian authorities initially allowed me to enter and prevented Omar," Kettani told Magharebia on June 4th, after his return to Morocco.

"I was waiting for him in the lobby leading to the arrival hall when a security officer came to me and asked for my passport again, claiming error in the procedures. He also asked me to bring medicine for Omar, who suffers from diabetes. I was carrying his medication in my bag."

Despite the inconvenience, Kettani had good words for the Tunisian authorities.

"Frankly, the security services treated us well," he told Magharebia. "They gave us dinner and asked us to come out to calm the hundreds of angry people in the reception hall."

"Truth be told, the airport authorities treated us tactfully, and an official from the Islamist Ennahda Party came and apologised," he said.

Kettani said that the security services had identified them on a list of those barred from entering Tunisia in the era of Ben Ali, and that the list had not yet been updated.

In a joint statement, Kettani and Hadouchi said that they were "surprised" by their deportation and pained by its having come from the state that started the Arab spring.

In the statement, obtained from the Joint Committee for the Defence of Islamist Detainees, they explained that in Morocco they were tried "unjustly and out of aggression" and that the rulings were "political and not legal".

"We rejoiced with overwhelming joy at the Tunisian revolution and issued a statement from inside prison in which we supported it. We thank the Tunisian people who stood with us," it continued.

"We hope the Tunisian government, for which we have respect and esteem, will set about rectifying this error," the statement read.

In a sermon at Al-Fath Mosque, Saif Ben Hussein – leader of Salafia Jihadia in Tunisia – took a different tone.

He denounced the Tunisian Interior Ministry’s decision to deport the Moroccans, saying that it showed a "lack of respect" for the salafists in Tunisia who sent them the invitation.

He told his audience of salafist supporters, some waving black flags, that they should "not look to these provocations", but should "look to the future".

Moroccan Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid on June 5th declined the opportunity to elaborate on the issue, telling Magharebia that he was aware of the issue but did not have adequate information to make an official statement.

"I will speak officially on the arrival when I get the details and background on the prohibition," he said.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    Anonymous 2012-7-4

    To على خطى السلف- My brother, without heavy financing and a well-crafted plan, these crazies would have disappeared in a few seconds like the sun melts the snow. If you want to treat an affliction, it is best to make the correct diagnosis. This movement, which extends beyond borders, has the blessing of the powerful and has nothing to do with Islam, which is the designated target. They are “Caesar’s legions” sent to maintain the empire. These cavemen are godless, lawless, country-less and people-less. They wage war for the highest bidder. Yesterday, it was in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya, the Sahel, Africa and so on. And it is always and forever for the same hegemonic interests disguises as the “saviours of humanity”!!! Humanity asked nothing of them and is subjected to their tyranny. He who holds the cash and the power is the perpetrator of this planned disaster. The Islamists are only cannon fodder here for the few people in the North who extort indecent, unreasonable and suicidal fortunes. They are sawing off the branch they are sitting on.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    marocaine libre 2012-6-19

    These two clowns should get treated at Berrechid Hospital in Casablanca. Both of them are surely convinced of having made a trip through time on the Star Trek flying saucer. My God, what horror! Better yet, they need to go for an indefinite stay at Guantanamo. This would do them some good.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    على خطى السلف 2012-6-18

    Peace and mercy of God be upon you. It is the right of any country in the world, be it Muslim or disbeliever to preserve its security and stability, to preserve the ideas of its young people from obscurant, barbarous disbelieving ideas. Kettani and Hadouchi are known for these polar ideas which consider all Islamic countries and even all societies disbelieving. They also ban prayer in mosques of Muslims under the pretext that are mosques causing harm. It was also confirmed to us with conviction and evidence that they accuse of disbelieve rulers without evidence or proof. It is also known that they support demagogic revolutions and considering them Jihad. Exalted be God, from whence were protests and strikes Jihad?? Who are the scholars who have preceded you in this?? In other words, were Salaf protesting and rising up against the Muslim ruler?? The most important thing is that I and every Salafi warn of such Takfirists who have filled the world with their false calls and lying howls because they are a threat to all societies. It is the duty of governments to counter them with sharia science.


  4. Anonymous thumb

    anonymous 2012-6-13

    Magharebia is now specialising in Salafi buffoonery. These clowns do not concern us. Pease get on with other things. There are so many real issues!