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A moroccan perspective

Reader comment on item: Berbers as Anti-Islamists and Anti-Arab Nationalists

Submitted by Farid H. (Germany), Mar 25, 2009 at 05:01

As a Moroccan (of Arab ethnicity), I'd like to add a few points:

1. In Morocco, Kind Mohammed VI created IRCAM (Institut Royal de la Culture Amazigh, www.ircam.ma) in 2001, which itself promotes the original Berber alphabet Tifinagh. This alone can be considered a substantial success of Amazigh activism. In the other North African countries, Amazighs still have a long uphill battle to get this level of official recognition.

2. What Moroccan Amazighs are still fighting for, is the right to use their own first names. Right now, the list of allowed first names is still heavily in favor of Arabic (or rather: Islamic) names, which irks many Amazighs a lot (quite rightfully, IMHO). They are also still lobbying for a TV station in their own tongue (though it would be probably more user-friendly to simultaneously broadcast two audio-channels on the same program...). Those demands are legitimate, there's no doubt about it.

3. With respect to Berber Anti-Islamism, I'm rather skeptical and I don't think that it holds much water, and you can't count on it. There is a small minority within the Amazigh movement that is anti-Islamic and a very, very small fraction that is even openly pro-Israel. But this is statistically totally insignificant. Considering that most hardened Islamists are actually MREs (marocains résidents à l'étranger), and that this group consists of many, many more Amazighs than Arabs (proportionally, when compared to the ethnic make-up in Morocco itself), it is quite evident that Islamism is more prevalent amongst Amazighs (at least outside Morocco).

And while this is objectively verifiable with statistics, my own subjective non-verifiable impression is that when talking about the M.E. conflict, the most radical anti-Israeli comments are more often made by Amazighs than by Arabs. On this point, I may have the wrong (or biased?) impression, but it strikes me as being very visible.

4. About factoring Amazighs into US foreign policy, I'd urge caution, at least w.r.t. Morocco, not to try the divide et impera strategy. The Treaty of Friendship (1789) between our countries was signed by the Monarchy, which is itself of Arabic origin, and it is this very same monarchy that is up to day maintaining those excellent bilateral relations. Taking into account the Berber factor is important, but perhaps not in the sense that this article may be implying. 5. I'm only commenting on Morocco. The situation in the other North African countries can be totally different, and warrants a different analysis, which may also come to slightly different conclusions.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (27) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Iranians-Better anti Arab nationalists [424 words]ShishirMar 20, 2010 16:55170444
2The Amazigh View: Let my people in [933 words]Atlas KahenaMar 27, 2009 03:26152835
2A moroccan perspective [418 words]Farid H.Mar 25, 2009 05:01152736
I doubt it. [174 words]Peter HerzMar 19, 2009 15:21152503
Thanks to Daniel Pipes [12 words]AkselMar 7, 2009 17:42151828
Old civilizations are not conjured away [344 words]dhimmi no moreMar 7, 2009 08:46151814
Please see this debate between an Amazigh spokesman and an Arab sent to me by an Amazigh friend [7 words]Gerald A. HonigmanMar 5, 2009 22:21151728
Thanks for directing us to that debate. [84 words]M.D'SouzaMar 9, 2009 08:57151728
Ancient Berber alphabet [51 words]paul reissMar 5, 2009 19:01151718
1The "original" Phonician alphabet [191 words]Stan GoodmanJul 15, 2009 06:15151718
Changing the name of Barbers to Amazighs does not change their history. [163 words]M.D'SouzaMar 5, 2009 13:37151697
Barbary coast and turkish pirates [32 words]AkselMar 7, 2009 17:32151697
The logic of D'Souza [137 words]HamMar 7, 2009 21:00151697
For those wondering about where the Berbers live [9 words]Abu NudnikMar 5, 2009 11:46151686
2The So-Called Arabs Who Built The Pyramids ?? [537 words]RebeccaMar 4, 2009 11:21151620
Arab Semitic Whites of North Africa [13 words]CNJun 9, 2009 11:18151620
Berbers [30 words]CNJun 13, 2009 04:30151620
one day, arabs will claim they built the moon [58 words]berberAug 18, 2010 13:17151620
Amazighs [200 words]Mohamed EljahmiMar 3, 2009 16:47151561
Berbers in History [52 words]Anglo-AmericanMar 2, 2009 23:01151493
About moroccan Amzigh [55 words]Esther spinozaJul 10, 2009 06:21151493
The Amazigh which means "free humans" [177 words]YnnatchkahMar 2, 2009 03:11151430
Berber [12 words]Jon PurizhanskyMar 1, 2009 16:01151406
The only solution [110 words]Jurist Benedictos Mohamad AliMar 1, 2009 14:02151399
Factoring Out, Not In. [85 words]DavodMar 1, 2009 06:47151385
I also read that Berber-related MEMRI thing yesterday, and was intrigued by this: [72 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Charles MartelFeb 27, 2009 10:34151288
Islam & Arab Colonialization go hand in hand [80 words]ASMar 4, 2009 01:03151288

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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