Monday, July 20, 2015

Moroccan News Briefs #129

Moroccan security creates "safe haven"

Last summer, Morocco launched "Hadar", a new security mechanism to counter security threats facing the Kingdom The focus was on most of the Morocco’s major cities and tourist destinations.
In the UK, The Times has praised Morocco's security measures, describing Morocco as a "safe haven" and commending the Moroccan authorities and their vigilance in keeping the Morocco safe and secure from the threats of Daesh, the so-called “Islamic State”. It is estimated that 500,000 British citizens visited Morocco each year.

Security in Morocco keeps the Kingdom safe for tourists

“Morocco, a tourist destination for Europeans, remained immune against the convulsions experienced by other countries in the region,” The Times said and added that intense efforts by the Moroccan security services have recently dismantled terrorist cells recruited by the so-called “Islamic State”

Thanks to “Hadar,” and the newly created Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), an FBI-like Bureau of Investigations, the Moroccan Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad said that the Kingdom had dismantled twenty-seven jihadist cells since 2013.

Mustapha El Khalfi, Minister of Communication and government spokesman, has claimed that “no terrorist network can develop in Morocco because the authorities would dismantle it before it could implement its schemes.”

Saudi's make moon sighting mistake - again!

This year, Morocco's early observation of Eid El Fitr seems to have been the most rigorous in the Muslim world and for once the kingdom was not the target of criticism from religious and scholars from the Middle East, as was the case during the celebration of the feast of the sacrifice of sheep in 2014.

The Saudi authorities confused the Shawwal crescent moon with the planet Saturn and proclaimed Eid El Fitr a day too early!

It was a costly mistake and Saudi Arabia has distributed 1.6 billion Rials (about € 393 million) to the poor as a "kaffara (atonement)." The Saudi authorities have applied the rule requiring one who breaks the Ramadan fast voluntarily to feed sixty poor people. In this case that is sixty poor people for every one of the citizens of the Kingdom.

This was revealed  by Ennejemi Mohamed,  a member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy based in Jeddah, in statements to the Al Arabiya TV channel. Later reports suggested that this may be a hoax, however, seasoned observers say that the Saudi's are trying to deflect criticism by claiming misreporting

The error is not only of concern to the Saudis but hundreds of millions of Muslims who choose for political or religious considerations to follow the example of Riyadh. In Tunisia, one of the victims of the Saudi error, the "Mufti of the republic", is at the heart of a controversy.

The Mufti apologised to the people, stressing that the exact date of Eid was Saturday, not Friday.

The case of Algeria is similar to its western neighbour and so, hoax or not it will hopefully sharpen the skills of those who watch the moon.

Arsonists Captured

The Tetouan Royal Gendarmerie have captured two arsonists responsible for two separate forest fires that ravaged about 145 hectares in the provinces of Chefchaouen and Tetouan. The first of the accused is suspected of causing the forest fire in mid-June that devastated about 50 hectares in the town of Beni Hozmar in the province of Tetouan, which firefighters managed to extinguish after for two days , said the regional commander of the Royal Gendarmerie in Tetouan.

The second man is accused of starting a fire that destroyed 95 hectares of pines and undergrowth plants at Douar Taria in the heart of Talassemtane National Park, which was brought under control last week thanks to the intervention of elements of civil protection, water and forests authority, auxiliary forces, local authorities and volunteers.

The fire was extinguished through the use of seven aircraft of the Royal Gendarmerie.

Royal Air Maroc- RAM - "I would rather ride on a mule"

Morocco World News reports yet another red-face moment for Royal Air Maroc. The airline has gathered a very bad reputation for major delays, lost luggage, total indifference, poor service, and extremely expensive prices. Now they have outdone themselves by creating chaos at JFK airport in New York.

Hundreds of Moroccans were booked to fly to Morocco to celebrate  for Eid al Fitr. But, according to Morocco World News, the plane was overbooked.

RAM flight number AT 203, scheduled to take off at 9:20 am from JFK in New York to Casablanca, was reportedly delayed for two hours, according to RAM officials. But worse was to come, when dozens of passengers were told they might to be able to fly until Thursday, thus missing the Eid celebrations completely.

“I am with my family at JFK, our flight was supposed to leave at 9:20 am, they said that it was delayed couple hours and now they said that we cannot fly today and want to rebook us for tomorrow 1pm!” one of the passengers told Morocco World News. She went on to add that attendants told passengers the Flight 203 is overbooked, only to come back two hours later to say that the plane won’t fly because of technical problems.

Witnesses told Morocco World News that the passengers were very angry and protested against the decision, especially because not all of them are based in New York. “The police officer was asking people to stop yelling,” the same source added.

Morocco World News obtained footage of some of the passengers telling the story. In the video, one of the passengers says he drove with his family from Maryland (292 km away from New York) to JFK airport after booking Flight 203.

“Once we arrived to the airport they told us the flight will be postponed for two hours, and later they told us the flight is overbooked, urging us to book for tomorrow,” he said.

The passenger, who seemed very angry, told MWN that he is not sure RAM will be able to fly tomorrow, either. “Perhaps, they will ask us to rebook for the day after tomorrow, and thus celebrate Eid Al Fitr in JFK airport,” he concluded.

RAM causes chaos at JFK

The footage also shows other passengers threatening to boycott RAM. One of them is heard saying that he would rather fly with “Air France or travel to Morocco riding a mule, than booking on RAM.”

For their part, RAM have responded, blaming "technical failure". "It is very common in air transport especially during peak periods. All companies may be subject. When it happened, we tried to repair it. But when we saw it was going to take time, we mobilised another plane," says an official at the headquarters of the company, claiming anonymity. "Of course we apologise for any inconvenience suffered by the passengers," he added, noting that the company has "taken care of all passengers: accommodation, food and other" until boarding.

Passengers flying to Morocco don’t have a choice but to fly with Morocco’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, which has monopolised flights from the US and Canada to Morocco for decades.

Passengers either have to take layovers in Europe or travel with RAM. Members of the Moroccan community living in North America started a petition, requesting the creation of direct flights on North American carriers linking the United States and Canada to Morocco.

In a letter to North American carriers, petitioners called on United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, US Airways, Air Transat, and Delta Airlines to launch direct flights between North America and Morocco.

It seems very clear, RAM's monopoly must end.

"Inzegane Girls" do police work for them

Police in Inzegane have been let off the hook by some bold detective work by the two women at the heart of the notorious "Inzegane Girls Case". The police had been criticised for charging the women, and not their attackers.

In a smart move, and before they lodge an official complaint, the two girls disguised themselves in traditional clothes and went to the souq where they had been attacked.  Unrecognised by the locals they found the names of their attackers and give them to the police. The police had little option but to accept have the testimony of two girls against four of their attackers.

The police now appear to have the whole story: the women's arrival in the souq to buy products for the hair salon where they work, their encirclement by the attackers and eventually how they fled to a cosmetic shop. The four accused are said to have assaulted them while trying to get them out of the shop to attack them further.

The police have belatedly sprung into action against the four defendants by gathering evidence in the souq and retrieving images of the store surveillance camera where the girls had found refuge.

The "Inezgane Girls Case" triggered a popular protest across the country with demonstrations in the streets and on social networks under the slogan "wearing a skirt is not a crime." Women's rights associations, Moroccan political parties and personalities came together to protest at sit-ins in several cities of the Kingdom. The Interior Ministry even had to intervene to rein in "the brigades of virtue" and emphasised that enforcement is the exclusive prerogative of the competent authorities.

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1 comment:

Boycott RAM said... has been launched.. We can no longer tolerate the way La RAM has been treating the Moroccan Community abroad.. Enough is enough ! While some folks are talking to American Airlines, we are in the process of talking to United Airlines as well. Putting our efforts together will prevail inshaAllah.. Il faut bouger !!

Salam, Team