Morocco protects its young people from extremism

On the instructions of King Mohammed VI 
El rey Mohamed VI de Marruecos presidiendo una sesión de trabajo - PHOTO/MAP
King Mohammed VI of Morocco presiding over a working session - PHOTO/MAP

Morocco's young people, the future of the Moroccan kingdom, must be at the centre of national policy in order to protect them from extremism and hate speeches that only generate violence and political and social instability. 

This is one of the central lines of the political and social guidelines of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, as made clear by the ambassador and permanent representative of the Moroccan kingdom to the United Nations (UN), Omar Hilale, who confirmed at the UN headquarters in New York that the Alawite monarch had given royal instructions to place the country's youth at the centre of a political and social strategy to prevent them from extremist speeches and hateful behaviour. 

The tools to steer Moroccan youth along this path can be policies focused on the principles of equal opportunities, quality education, meaningful access to culture and good career opportunities. All of this is aimed at empowering young Moroccans and providing them with the best opportunities so that they do not become frustrated and end up falling into negative and extremist options, which take advantage of any negative breeding ground to exploit anger and frustration and gain followers. It is worth noting in this case that extremism always appears in social strata affected by lack of education or lack of opportunities, scenarios that lead vulnerable people to embrace various radical discourses that offer them shelter in the face of supposed helplessness and that only lead to violence and instability.  

Omar Hilale, representante permanente del Reino de Marruecos ante las Naciones Unidas - AP/FRANK FRANKLIN
Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations - AP/FRANK FRANK FRANKLIN

Omar Hilale's intervention came during a high-level event organised by the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the United Nations and the United Nations Office for the Prevention of Genocide, on the occasion of the Third International Day against Hate Speech, on the theme "Investing in the capacity of young people to confront and combat hate speech". 

Omar Hilale explained that the involvement of Moroccan youth in the fight against hate speech and extremism in society "has proven its effectiveness" in combating all forms of social exclusion, thus highlighting the relevance of the integrated national youth strategy (2015-2030).

Jóvenes jugando al fútbol en una plaza en la ciudad de El Jadida en la costa atlántica de Marruecos - <a target="_blank"  data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Depositphotos</a>
Young people playing football in a square in the city of El Jadida on Morocco's Atlantic coast - Depositphotos

The Moroccan representative to the UN also stressed Morocco's total commitment, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, to the values of coexistence and the fight against hate speech and intolerance, while attaching the utmost importance to the fundamental role of civil society and youth associations, recalling the creation of the Advisory Council for Youth and Collective Action in July 2011. 

He also recalled King Mohammed VI's message to the 9th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, held in November 2022 in Fez, when the Alawite monarch stressed that dialogue "must be a dialogue between generations, involving young people and anticipating the future", as young people not only represent the generations that we must protect "against the scourge of war and against hate speech in its various forms, but are the very generations that are actually involved in making peace", as reported by Morocco's official news agency MAP.

For his part, on the occasion of the aforementioned Third International Day against Hate Speech, on the theme "Investing in the capacity of young people to confront and combat hate speech", UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that "young people are often the group most affected by hate speech and, therefore, they must be part of the solution", stressing that "it is the responsibility of governments, local authorities, religious leaders, business and community leaders to invest in promoting tolerance, pluralism and inclusion and to combat hate speech in all its forms". 

In this regard, international expert analyst Muhammad Boudin told Al-Arab that "the state sought to combat hatred and extremism through a series of legislative, security and human rights measures", including "projects related to human development and job creation, opportunities for youth", all focused on preventing young people from falling into extremist discourse or perversions of the religion of Islam. "Extremist thinking occurs when the factors of poverty and ignorance converge and lead to a drift towards extremism," he explained.  

According to Muhammad Boudin, "Morocco seeks to provide all conditions to protect young people by generalising social policies related to education, health and employment to overcome the threat of extremism and hate speeches". 

Jóvenes marroquíes saltando al océano Atlántico en Casablanca, Marruecos - <a target="_blank"  data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Depositphotos</a>
Moroccan youth jumping into the Atlantic Ocean in Casablanca, Morocco - Depositphotos

On the other hand, in the face of the rapid changes taking place in the digital space and social networks, the Muhammadiyah Scholars Association seeks to combat extremism and hatred by producing scientific research, revising educational curricula and educating young people on religious and social issues. 

The Association launched the e-platform "Al-Raed" among young people to protect them from extremist and hate speech, especially in its digital dimension, disseminate safe religious knowledge, contribute to protect pioneers of digital networks from extremism, deviation and stagnation speeches, and educate Moroccan youth to promote alternative discourse and enhance cooperation and exchange of experiences in combating violent extremism online, as also reported by Al-Arab.  

In addition, the Moroccan Observatory for the Rejection of Terrorism and Extremism called on civil society institutions to play their role in educating young people and protecting them against extremism and terrorism, pursuing the goal of fighting radicalisation and religious extremism linked to such dangerous areas as terrorism.