RABAT, Morocco — Morocco’s king on Saturday appealed for “a united front against extremism” and urged members of the North African country’s diaspora, many of them in Europe, to defend a tolerant form of Islam.
Mohammed VI called on the five million Moroccans living abroad to “defend peace, harmony and unity in their respective countries of residence.”
“We strongly condemn the murder of innocents,” the king said, adding that the killing in France last month of a priest was “unforgivable.”
Europe, and France in particular, has suffered a spate of recent terrorist attacks and European citizens of Moroccan origin as well as dual nationals have been implicated in a number of assaults in France and Belgium.
Preaching a form of tolerant and moderate Islam, Morocco has positioned itself in Africa and the Muslim world as a key voice in the fight against jihadism.
The king regularly calls on his citizens to practice an Islam “of peace” but Saturday was the first time he directly addressed the Moroccan diaspora.
“Terrorists who kill in the name of Islam … are condemned to eternal hell,” he said.
“They are exploiting some young Muslims, particularly in Europe, exploiting their ignorance of Arabic and true Islam to relay their messages and false promises,” he added.