Social Media Users Denounce Saudi Cleric Mohamed al-Arifi’s Lecture in Morocco
Rabat – The lecture of Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Arifi on October 25, in Rabat is stirring controversy in Morocco.Moroccan social media users denounce the event, which will be organized by the Movement for Unification and Reform on October 25, in Rabat under the theme “The Role of the Quran in Shaping the Human Being.”Opponents of the lecture claim that the preacher condones terrorism and supports al-Qaeda in Syria. Accusation against Al Arifi flared up after his statement on Al Jazeera channel in February 2013 when he said that Oussama Bin Laden “was a victim of wide-level character assassination.”During the same interview, the Saudi cleric, who has over 18 million followers on Facebook and almost 13 millions on Twitter, claimed that the terrorist organization “does not tolerate bloodshed.”“These beliefs in fact are not correct. Al-Qaeda members do not tolerate accusing other Muslims of apostasy and they do not tolerate bloodshed. I am not part of al-Qaeda and I do not adopt their thinking, but Allah says: ‘And when you testify, be just,’” Arifi said.“Even al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Oussama Bin Laden, may his soul rest in peace, did not adopt many of the thoughts that are attributed to him today,” he added.After A serious critical backlash from his followers on social media, the religious scholar backtracked and said he was not defending Al Qaeda.“I am not in a position to defend them; I am not one of them, but again ‘when you testify, be just.”Al Arifi made also headlines when called on parents to prevent their daughters from revealing clothes in their presence.The 45-year-old Muslim cleric is known for his constant opposition and condemnation towards inhumane behaviors of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad’s regime.The Unification and Reform (or in Arabic, “Attawhid Wal Isslah”) is a religious movement established in 1996 by Ahmad Raissouni. It is the advocacy part of the current ruling party in Morocco (PJD).