January 17, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11080

Moroccan Journalist: Hamas Has Become Sacred In Morocco; The Silencing Of Its Critics In This Country Is Oppression Of Thought

January 17, 2024
Palestinians, North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 11080

In an article he published on December 2, 2023 in the online daily, Zouhir Louassini, a Moroccan journalist living in Italy, condemned the "brutal attack" waged by Moroccan supporters of political Islam against anyone in the country who dares to criticize Hamas and its methods of fighting Israel. Louassini referred specifically to the fierce attacks and slander, and even accusations of treason and heresy, that were recently directed in public discourse, in demonstrations and on social media at Moroccan journalists Ahmed Charai and Ridouane Erramdani,[1] and against Moroccan intellectual and author Tahar ben Jelloun,[2] for condemning Hamas' October 7 attack.

Louassini stated that supporting the Palestinians and their cause should not entail silencing other voices, since the Palestinian issue is complex and requires an open debate; moreover, Palestine will not be liberated by means of protests and curses. He implicitly criticized the fact that the role of mediator between Israel and Hamas has been given to Qatar, which "brainwashes" people with its Al-Jazeera channel, and stated that Morocco could have served as mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict had it not been for the violent opposition of the supporters of Hamas and political Islam in the country.

Zouhir Louassini (Image:

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[3]

"Now that Hamas has achieved a 'blatant victory' by forcing Netanyahu and his gang to negotiate and exchange [Palestinian] prisoners [held] in Israel's jails for [Israeli] civilian hostages, can we take a moment to speak calmly and seriously about the brutal attack faced in the recent weeks by anyone in Morocco who allowed himself to argue with the Palestinian resistance [i.e., Hamas] about its methods of struggle or tried to criticize the conduct of its leaders?

"To tell the truth, I never knew that Hamas had become sacred here, and that anyone who criticizes it is immediately placed on the list of those who have sold their conscience and have become traitors and infidels or [deserve] other derogatory labels. [This attitude] is typical mainly of political Islam, which specializes in hurling curses and invective and in inventing slogans that envision the end of Israel and specify the exact date on which it will come. 

"I did not realize that the ideological influence of the Muslim Brotherhood had intensified to this extent until I saw a protest in Tangier in which people attacked two journalists just because of their position, which is opposed to that of Hamas. Whether you agree or disagree with them, their positions are ultimately just positions, which can be right or wrong, just like any other views that express a particular opinion. Therefore, we cannot accept the reactions of those who decided to adopt this kind of old-new oppression of thought. Palestine will not be liberated by cursing those who disagree with us, or by shouting loudest and calling out the fairest slogans! If we agree on this, we can advance towards realizing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more complicated than we think, and that its solution will certainly not be found on the streets of Rabat, Casablanca or any other Moroccan city.   

"Supporting the Palestinian people and defending their rights is one thing, and recruiting the masses to silence any dissenting voice is another. A fundamental principle of democracy is respecting everyone's freedom to express an opinion. All Moroccans support the Palestinians' right to establish their state, but there is disagreement about the methods used [to achieve this]… Why do some of those who 'fight' by attending demonstrations or by using their keyboard think that their [opinion] is the absolute truth? Does anyone really think that the liberation of Palestine depends on the throats [of the protesters] and on how loud they can shout?

"It is saddening to see a well-known and respected writer like Tahar ben Jelloun facing accusations [just] for writing an article about Hamas' [October 7] operation, which he regards as barbaric. Whether you agree or disagree with him, the response should be couched in more appropriate language than the language that was used, for example, by a certain political leader  who is known for his bombastic style. Misconstruing things and [failing to] put them in their overall context – which has to do with the discourse aimed at Western audiences – means that one is exploiting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to settle scores with anyone who has a different opinion on this matter. Tahar ben Jelloun has courageous positions and views, and he uses them to defend the Palestinian cause in the European media. This fact should motivate any decent commentator to be more tolerant towards positions like those expressed by [ben Jelloun] in the French magazine Le Point. Dialogue with the West is not as easy as some people think. In this context, [the supporters of] political Islam are the last people who know how to address Western reasoning. In fact, without being aware of this, they are the greatest allies [of  the West], at least when it comes to distorting the Arab positions.

"We should avoid firing up the masses [in our country] and creating an atmosphere that pressures anyone who tries to spare the country futile arguments that benefit only those who wish our country ill. It is inconceivable that supporting the Palestinian cause should make us forget to defend our own interests…

"Morocco could have been an superb mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, thanks to its excellent relations with all the sides. But the vast armies of heroic [protest and keyboard] fighters managed to diminish this role and eliminate it, in favor of the 'Qatari empire' that has empowered its Al-Jazeera channel to brainwash many of our people. This is something that needs to be said."



[1] Journalist Ahmed Charai is the owner and publisher of the Moroccan daily Al-Ahdath Al-Maghrebiya and of several other media outlets in the country, as well as of the Jerusalem Strategic Tribune  journal. He also serves as a Middle East adviser and is known for his pro-Israel positions. On October 7, 2023 he published a harsh article titled "We Are All Israelis," lambasting Hamas and its terror attack (, October 7, 2023). Ridouane Erramdani is a prominent Moroccan journalist known for his support of normalization with Israel, who reiterated this support after the October 7 attack and the outbreak of the Gaza war. At a November 5, 2023 mass protest in Tangier, harsh calls and invective were voiced against these two journalists. Erramdani said in response that he was facing an incitement campaign, and added that he was receiving death threats and was considering filing a complaint with the police.   

[2] Tahar ben Jelloun is a Moroccan intellectual and author who resides in France. After the October 7 attack he wrote in the French weekly Le Point that "the Palestinian cause died on October 7. It was murdered by fanatics, contaminated by the worst kind of Islamist ideology" (, October 13, 2023).

[3], December 2, 2023.

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