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 A country with a government and a flag

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Date d'inscription : 04/09/2009
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MessageSujet: A country with a government and a flag   Lun 21 Déc - 5:14

The Al-manar interview: (anonymous article “jahl zu’ama’ al-muslimin wa-mafasid ahl al-turuq wal-shurafa’ wa kawnuhum sababan li-fashl za’im al-Rif al-maghrabi” in al-manar, pt. 8, Vol. 27, 1344-5/1926-27, pp. 630-634. The text of the article appeared in the Egyptian weekly al-Shura, according to al-manar, Shinar, 173, says that it was also reprinted in al-minhaj, muharram/safar, pp.96 ff. Shinar’s article reproduces about two thirds of the article in translation, but omits the important opening paragraphs which were not completely relevant to his examination of the religious thought of bin Abd al-karim)


“An interview with Muhammad Abd al-Karim (sic).

I wanted to make the Rif an independent country like France and Spain, and to set up there a free state with full sovereignty and not an Amirate, subject to the regulations and ordinances of the protectorate. From the first I tried to make my people understand that they could not survive unless they were as closely joined together as are the bricks of a building, and unless they worked with sincerity and loyalty to form a national unity from tribes with different inclinations and aspirations. In other words I wanted my people to know that they had a nation (watan) as well as a religion (din).

I have been greatly criticised by some people because, in the Oujda negotiations I asked with some insistence for a definition of the meaning of independence this definition was very necessary, because our aim was real independence, unmarked by any blemish.. By independence we meant that which would guarantee our complete freedom to determine our development and the independent direction of our affairs, the right to make treaties and to form alliances that we considered to the suitable. I and my brother gave our country the name of the “Republic of the Rif” (al-Jumhuriya al-Riffiya) as a sign that we were a state composed of independent tribes in an alliance, and not a representative state with an elected parliament. In fact, in our opinion, the title of “Republic” (jumhuriya) could not take on its true meaning for some time because all peoples need a period in which they can form themselves into (a state) with a resolute government, firm sovereignty, and a strong national organisation.

But unfortunately I was understood by only a few individuals who could be counted on the fingers of both hands. On the contrary, even my most faithful supporters, and those of the greatest knowledge and intelligence believed that after the victory had been won I would allow each tribe to return to complete freedom despite their realisation that this would return the country to the worst conditions of anarchy and barbarism.

Religious fanaticism was the greatest cause of my failure even if I do not say that it was the only cause. This is because the shaykhs of the orders have greater influence in the Rif than in Morocco as a whole or in the rest of the countries of the Islamic world. I was incapable of acting without them and was obliged to ask their aid at every turn. Ai first I tried to win over the masses to my point of view by argument and demonstration, but I met with great opposition from the great families with powerful influence – with the exception of the family of “khamlasha” (sic) whose head was an old friend of my father’s. the rest were all my enemies, especially after I spent money from the awqaf to buy supplies for the war. They did not understand that this money could not be spent on a more worthy object than that of the independence of the country.

I do not deny that sometimes I was obliged to make use of religious sensibility in (an attempt) to win political support. Thus, I said that after the Spanish had occupied Ajdir they compelled the evacuation of a part of the village in which there was a mosque, which they did not respect and they made into a stable. When I heard this I ordered three of the qaids who were famous for their piety and their bravery to verify the matter for themselves. This tactic of mine doubled the bravery of the fighters, and increased their devotion to myself and my cause.

The truth is that Islam is the enemy of fanaticism and superstitions (khurafat). What I know of its fundamentals is enough to make me declare publicly that Islam as I know it in morocco and Algeria is very far removed from the Islam brought by the great Prophet.

Those who truly or falsely claimed that they were descendants of that pure stock (i.e. that of the Prophet) turned their whole attention to gaining the sympathy of the people for their transitory selves, and set themselves up as idols to be served by the ignorant, and established religious brotherhoods which were transformed into a powerful army to serve their personal ends. But Islam is as far removed as may be from sanctifying individuals because it ordains brotherhood and unity in the face of the enemy and encourages self-sacrifice (lit. “death”) in the case of freedom and independence. However, the shaykhs of the orders and the leaders of religion tinkered with the Book of God and the sunna of His Prophet in order to satisfy their own longings and to gratify their greed. They took no part in the revolution under the pretext that fighting for the fatherland (watan) had no meaning for them and that they would only fight in the cause of the Faith.

I exerted myself to the utmost to free my land from the influence of the shaykhs of the orders who are an obstacle in the way of any sort of freedom and independence. The policy of Turkey pleased me greatly because I knew that the Islamic countries could not be independent unless they freed themselves from religious fanaticism and emulated the people of Europe. But the Rifis did not understand me – which was my misfortune as well as theirs. Thus the shaykhs shook with anger at me when I appeared one day in the uniform of an officer, although I did not do such a thing again.

The shaykhs of the orders were the bitterest enemies both of myself and my country as it advanced. The omitted nothing in their efforts to frustrate my policy, even spreading through the length and breadth of the land that I wanted to follow the example of Turkey, and that that would inevitably lead to giving freedom to women so that they could go around in (European) hats (al-burnita), dressed like French women and aping their customs and so on.

The machinations of these ignorant fanatics convinced me that progress is impossible in any country where they have a strong influence unless it is brought about slowly and through the use of force and violence.

I must declare here and now that I did not find in the Rif the least support for my efforts at reform and that (only) a small group of people in Fez and Algiers understood me, helped me and agreed with my policy because they are in touch with foreigners and know lies where the true good of my country.

In short I came before my time to carry out this work, but I am convinced that my desires will all be realised sooner or later through the force of events and the reversals of time
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