Kuwaiti-Syrian broadcast angers Moroccans over ‘inaccuracy’

The decision of Muhammad Sami Al-Anzi, the director, to keep the background of the show’s protagonist, Tariq Ibn Ziyad, has drawn vague ire from Moroccans who consider Ibn Ziyad one of the most important historical heroes. important Amazighs.

“It is humiliating to see this story broadcast on our national television,” said a Moroccan Amazigh. [Getty]

A Kuwaiti-Syrian Ramadan TV series called “Fath-Al-Andalous” has sparked a backlash among Moroccans, who accuse the producers of erasing the Amazigh identity of the series’ main protagonist, Tariq Ibn Ziyad.

Ibn Ziyad was a key figure in Islamic history who, as an army commander, oversaw the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in AD 711 and established Al-Andalus.

Although he is considered one of the most prominent Umayyad military leaders in history, Ibn Ziyad’s origins remain unknown, with historians divided on whether he had Moroccan, Algerian Amazigh roots , Arabic or Farsi.

Due to ongoing debates, Muhammad Sami Al-Anzi, the director of the series, had decided to keep the identity of the military leader vague.

“There are a lot of stories about its origins, so we decided not to address that because what matters to us is to portray the coexistence of the Islamic army with the people of the region,” Al-Anzi said. on BBC Arabic TV.

Moroccans, especially the Amazigh community, who for decades defended Ibn Ziyad’s legacy and embraced him as one of their main heroes, felt “betrayed and humiliated” when television Moroccan State has started broadcasting the series.

“I was skeptical when they first announced the show. But when I watched the first episode, I was shocked. He speaks classical Arabic and sportswear that had nothing to do with it. with what we wear in North Africa. It is a distorted version of our national hero. . It is humbling to see this narrative on our national television,” said Soufian, an Amazigh student from Morocco. The new Arabic.

Under the Arabic hashtag “El Aaraychi get out”, Moroccan social media users called for the series to be removed from Moroccan national television and called for the suspension of the head of Moroccan state television Faissal El Aaraychi for approving its dissemination.

The series is also broadcast on various Arabic channels, including Kuwait TV and MBC1.

For its part, the Moroccan Socialist Party raised the issue in the Moroccan parliament, criticizing the government for “spending the taxes of Moroccans on a narrative that did not do justice to Moroccan history”.

“The conquest of Andalus is a Moroccan event, because the conquest took place across northern Morocco with mostly Moroccan Maghreb armies (…) But the series obscures almost all of that and makes the Maghreb just a road geographical for the Umayyad armies of the Levant, and the Moroccans are only [a side character] under the leadership of Levantine individuals,” the opposition party added in a written request to the government.

Syrian actor Suhail Jebai plays Tariq Ibn Ziyad, while Hisham Bahloul, the series’ only Moroccan actor, stars as Shaddad, Tariq Ibn Ziyad’s friend and leader of his army.

Ouissam Chahir, director of the Center for African Studies and Research at the Faculty of Arts in Oujda, northern Morocco, notes that the hypothesis of Ibn Ziad’s Amazigh Moroccan roots is probably the most plausible, given the abundance of evidence among the historical texts.

“Ibn Adhari and other historians report from the Moroccan historian, Saleh bin Abi Saleh, that Tariq Ibn Ziyad belongs to the Amazigh tribe Nafza, and that his father Ziyad had converted to Islam after the conquests of Uqba bin Nafie of the Maghreb,” Chahir said to The new Arabic.

The reaction to the Ramadan series has also sparked a fierce debate among Moroccans and Algerians, who both agree that Ibn Ziad was Amazigh but strongly disagree on whether his tribe is of Algerian or Moroccan origin.

Moroccan and Algerian historians have each pointed to contradictory sources to justify their respective stories, considering that the borders between the two neighboring countries were not defined at the time.

To date, neither the Moroccan nor Algerian governments have officially commented on the controversy.

About Wesley V. Finley

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