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Cablegate: Morocco: Friday Sermon Uses Islam to Blast

VZCZCXRO8796
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHGI RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
DE RUEHRB #0496 0780954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190954Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6102
INFO RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 2807

UNCLAS RABAT 000496

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KISL MO
SUBJECT: MOROCCO: FRIDAY SERMON USES ISLAM TO BLAST
TERRORISM

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please Protect Accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: The March 16 Friday sermon, heard at
mosques throughout Morocco (and broadcast nationally),
concentrated scathing criticism on the phenomenon of
terrorism in general and suicide bombing in particular,
obviously prompted by the (abortive) March 11 terrorist
incident in Casablanca. The message, prepared by the GOM's
Ministry of Islamic Affairs, appeared to be well received by
an overflowing crowd of worshippers observed at the Tour
Hassan mosque in central Rabat. Worshippers were heard to
call the terrorists "deviants" and "unbelievers." This
parallels increasing condemnation of terrorism in the media
and among political parties, including the Islamist PJD
(septel). End summary.

2. (SBU) The Friday sermon read by Imams at mosques across
Morocco on March 16 asserted that moderation and non-violence
were core elements of the Islamic religion, as conveyed by
God through his messengers. Islam will continue to be a
"comprehensive and eternal system of life," the sermon
predicted, in spite of attempts to pervert it by extremists
on the one hand and secularists on the other. The sermon
underscored the irony of some terrorists' conformity to
Islamic dress codes and outward expressions of piety even as
they carried out acts "utterly remote from the essence of
true Islam." All believers of Islam must denounce such
barbarian acts and preach within their families the values of
tolerance and coexistence, the sermon urged.

3. (SBU) The sermon warned Muslims that suicidal terrorism is
a double crime against divine law -- combining the sin of
suicide with the sin of homicide. Perpetrators of such acts
will be held to account on judgment day, the sermon warned.
"The Prophet Muhammad was physically attacked, but never
reacted violently toward his enemies. He instead preached
the word of God and forgave his enemies. We must follow the
same example if we are to be rewarded in heaven."

4. (SBU) Following the sermon and subsequent prayers, the
overflowing crowd of worshippers at the Tour Hassan mosque in
central Rabat appeared to be in strong agreement with the
Imam's message, according to Embassy FSN who attended.
Fellow worshippers were heard to express strong disdain for
the terrorists involved in the March 11 incident in
Casablanca, whom some characterized as "deviants" and
"disbelievers".

5. (SBU) The Friday sermon is prepared by scholars and vetted
by officials at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Rabat and
distributed nationally to Imams through regional councils of
Ulema (Islamic scholars). The sermon is also broadcast
nationwide on state TV and radio. Friday sermons have long
been prepared and distributed by the Ministry, but were often
disregarded by local Imams prior to the Casablanca bombings
of May 2003, which killed 45 and injured hundreds. Since
then, the Ministry has been rigidly enforcing the use of the
official weekly sermon in mosques, with broad success, at
least in major population centers.


******************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat
******************************************

Riley

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