RealNews

Moroccans Gain Prominence in Terror Groups

In the aftermath of Morocco’s worst-ever terrorist attacks in May 2003, King Mohammed VI lifted the hopes of his most impoverished subjects last year when he toured Casablanca’s sprawling slums, home to a dozen suicide bombers who had blasted targets across the city. The monarch said he was appalled at the conditions and vowed to raze the shantytowns, promising new housing for an estimated 150,000 people. Almost 18 months later, the tin-roofed shacks and squatters’ colonies are still here. While a few families have been relocated, the most visible change is a freshly built police station that keeps a closer eye on the slums, part of an ongoing crackdown against alleged Islamic extremists that has resulted in more than 2,100 arrests across the North African nation. Moroccan government officials tout the arrests and the absence of additional attacks as evidence that they have neutralized the threat of terrorism. But officials in nearby European countries have expressed fears that Morocco, a country with a tradition of Islamic moderation, is becoming more radicalized. There are numerous signs that Moroccans — both at home and abroad — are playing a bigger role in global networks of Islamic militants. In recent months, authorities in Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands have broken up apparent terror cells composed primarily of Moroccan immigrants. Full Story

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