The World Amazigh Congress (CMA) has criticized the Moroccan government for “maintaining dangerous state racism against Amazighs” – the indigenous people of North Africa.
In a recent press release from the end of last month, the CMA criticized the current government of Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, who is of Amazigh origin, for its “support for the violation of Moroccan laws and the preservation of the racism of ‘State against the Amazighs’.
The statement cited the government’s failure to include the Amazigh language on the new electronic identity card, despite official recognition of the language more than a decade ago. The statement also criticized Akhannouch for using Amazigh identity as “folk” for political purposes, while treating indigenous culture as a subculture of Arab identity.
“The anti-Amazigh policy in Morocco has been accompanied in recent years by the emergence of a new current of pseudo-nationalist ideas, which advocate “Moroccanity” or “tameghrabit”, erected into an ideology which simply aims to drown the Amazighity, land, history, civilization, language and indigenous culture of this country, in triumphant Arabism”, underlines the press release.
“It is a new strategy which aims to hide and flout the rights of the Amazighs as the indigenous people of Morocco and other Tamazgha countries and to continue the spoliations in particular of their ancestral collective lands and their wealth”.
READ: Moroccan Organization for Human Rights: the issue of the Amazigh language does not live up to expectations
The CMA also noted that “even the expected symbolic gesture of official recognition of Yennayer, the day of the Amazigh year, as a national holiday has not been made”. In January, the Minister of Culture announced that “there is a government discussion on adopting the Amazigh New Year as an official holiday, and we are awaiting the Prime Minister’s decision”.
However, Mohamed El-Simo, a parliamentary representative of the National Rally of Independents in the House of Representatives, dismissed the CMA’s claims as “false”.
The government “has attached great importance to the Amazigh language and has begun to implement its commitments on the ground in public administrations, institutions and courts”, El-Simo told Moroccan news site Hespress, adding that “in just seven months, this government has provided Amazigh what others have not done for five years.”
The government “will not go back on its commitments, despite the difficult situation in which we live”, added the head of parliament, specifying that “the Prime Minister affirms in all our meetings with him that the government gives priority to Amazigh , and emphasizes the rehabilitation of it.”
In May, it was reported that Moroccan authorities had started introducing the Amazigh language in institutions such as parliament and public administration.
READ: Moroccan parliament uses Berber simultaneous interpretation for the first time