Islamist media is reporting that the Moroccan Prime Minister has once again denied that his Justice and Development Party “belongs” to the Muslim Brotherhood. According to a Middle East Monitor report:
Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on Saturday denied accusations that Morocco’s government coalition, which is led by his Justice and Development Party had sought to ‘Islamise’ the Moroccan society.
Speaking during a meeting of the National Council of his party, Benkirane said that true the Justice and Development Party belonged to the Islamic movement, yet it had its own philosophy.
‘The political reform model set by the party has nothing to do with unknown parties either inside or outside Morocco,’ Benkirane said.
He added that the philosophy of the party was the fruit of efforts made by youths who believed in reform.
Benkirane said his party had adopted democratic principles, but preserved its Islamist background.
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In February 2013 Benkirane also denied that his party belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite these denials,, in December 2011 Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi was among the first of the Islamic scholars to congratulate the Justice and Development Party (JDP) on its parliamentary victory in June of that year. In March 2011, a JDP leader was one of the participants at conference that brought together an unusual and significant number of participants from the Global Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Brotherhood, and other Islamist movements that also included Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood. It should also be noted that the above report cites the following statement:
A party leader told Anadolu Agency earlier that the Justice and Development Party had always been independent – at the organisational level – of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as of other Islamist movements.
‘There is no organisational relationship between the party and the Brotherhood,’ Khaled Rahmouni said.
It has been the experience of the GMBDW that in every instance in which the claim of “no organisational relationship” has been made, the group in question has indeed found to be part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. As Avi M. Spiegel, an assistant professor of political science and international relations at the University of San Diego has written:
…the PJD’s efforts to claim, as one member said to me, that they have “no relationship with the Brotherhood in Egypt” face certain complications. While not formally an offshoot of the Brotherhood (like, say Islamist parties in Jordan or Kuwait), they nonetheless exhibit what Brotherhood expert Carrie Wickham has called a “family resemblance.” This applies to their histories, organization, and even ideology.
Relevant positions of the FJP include:
- In April 2012 the Moroccan Prime minister refused to speak with the female Belgian Minister of Justice during an official meeting.
- In August 2012, the Moroccan Minister of Family reportedly expressed his opposition to modifying the Moroccan Criminal Code that allows a man guilty of rape on a minor to escape his sentence by marrying his victim.
- In June 2011, Abdelilah Benkiran stridently objected to freedom of religion and tolerance of homosexuality.