Moroccan Salafis condemn French war in Mali as Zionist crusade

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Salafist leaders in Morocco have condemned the French military intervention in Mali, calling it a “Zionist crusade” and labelling all Muslims who participate in it “ungodly.”

“No Islamic state should provide facilities, such as the use of airspace, to non-Muslims against a Muslim state. It is forbidden by Islam,” wrote Omar Haddouchi, a well-known Salafist, on his Facebook page late on Wednesday.

“Whoever has given support to non-Muslims (in the conflict) is considered ungodly,” Haddouchi added.

Another radical Islamist, Abderrazak Ajah, said Moroccans must “choose between supporting the Islamist fighters as best we can or the Zionist crusade and its agents,” also posting his comments on social media.

Morocco and Algeria have authorised overflights by French fighter planes, which began air strikes in northern Mali last Friday as part of efforts to help Malian troops contain hardline armed Islamists who have occupied the region.

Rabat has also expressed solidarity with Mali in dealing with the militants.

Sheikh Mohamed Rafiki, another Moroccan Salafist, wrote on his Facebook page that there was “no case for supporting the occupying forces in their aggression against Muslim countries.”

“No foreigner has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of a Muslim state, whatever the reason,” added prominent Salafist leader Hassan Kettani.

The four hardline Moroccan Islamists were sentenced to 10 between to 30 years in jail for inciting violence linked to the Casablanca bombings in May 2003, in which 45 people were killed, including the 12 suicide bombers.

All four were later pardoned.