Morocco’s king vetoes Islamist cultural reforms to preserve image of tolerant Muslim state (WORLD TRIBUNE) CAIRO, EGYPT 05/15/12)
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CAIRO — King Mohammed has begun vetoing decisions by Morocco’s new
The king has taken measures to restrict the authority of the Islamist
government of Prime Minister Abdul Ilah Benkirane.
In the latest move, Mohammed fired the president of the nation’s
broadcast authority, which sought to ban advertisements for gambling
supported by Communications Minister Mustapha El Khalfi, an Islamist.
“He [El Khalfi] is the minister of communication and not a mufti who
bans and authorizes,” Sports Minister Mohammed Ouzzine, a non-
Islamist minister in the coalition Cabinet, said.
On May 11, the king fired Mohammed Ghazali, the Islamist president of
the Superior Council for Audiovisual Communication. Instead, Amina
Lamrini El Ouahabi was appointed to head the authority, which
Officials said the royal court was alarmed by the rapid changes
ordered by El Khalifi and other Islamists. The authority, most of
whose members are Islamists, directed Morocco’s two public television
stations to ban
advertising for gambling, reducing French programming as well as
broadcasting the five daily Islamic calls to prayer.
“These [television] channels are performing a public service, and so
they must submit to certain minimum requirements,” El Khalifi said.
The Islamist revisions were scheduled to begin on May 1. But the royal
court pressed for an indefinite postponement and ordered the
half of the members of the broadcast authority.
Officials said the royal court was determined not to allow the
Islamist-led government to harm the Western image of Morocco as a
Muslim state. Over the last few weeks, Moroccan diplomats, including
Minister Saad Eddin El Otmani, have assured Western governments as
Jewish communities that the North African kingdom remained stable
reports of Al Qaida-aligned gangs that have assaulted women and
The king has also appointed more than a dozen governors and senior
officials at the Interior Ministry. Although under the authority of
Islamic government, the powerful Interior Ministry was seen as
controlled by the royal court.
“These royal appointments are part of the strengthening of good
territorial governance and nearby administration aiming to enable
bodies to carry out their missions with efficiency and competence in
to support projects that the different Moroccan regions are seeing,” a
government statement said. (Copyright © 2012 East West Services, Inc.
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