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Morocco: Opposition figure accuses ruling party of seeking to establish caliphate - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (R) speaks with a Reuters journalist in Rabat July 29, 2013. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Moroccan prime minister Abdelilah Benkirane (R) speaks with a Reuters journalist in Rabat on July 29, 2013. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Rabat, Asharq Al-Awsat—Senior Authenticity and Modernity Party figure Aziz Benazzouz has accused Morocco’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) of being loyal to external forces and seeking to establish a caliphate.

The PDJ seeks to “control state institutions and join the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is seeking to establish a caliphate,” Benazzouz said on the Mubashar Ma’kum talk show broadcast on Morocco’s Channel 2 on Wednesday.

Morocco’s ruling party has denied claims that it is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood organization, with leader and prime minister Abdelilah Benkirane saying: “Our party does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood movement; we come from their school [of thought], but we have no organisational relationship with them. We have our own evolutionary path, our own thinking and our own institutions.”

Benazzouz’s comments marked a renewal of the confrontation between Morocco’s two traditional political rivals as the country’s political crisis continues unabated. Many have warned of attempts to enact the Egyptian scenario in the country, namely attempts to marginalize Morocco’s Islamist political forces from the political arena.

No ruling PJD figures attended the TV talk show that discussed different scenarios for the formation of the new government. PJD general secretary Abdelilah Benkirane and parliamentary bloc leader Abdellah Bwano had both been invited to appear on Mubashar Ma’kum.

Benazzouz criticized Benkirane’s “hysterical” dealings with the political crisis, accusing the prime minister of “verbally terrorizing” opponents and “antagonizing everybody.”

He said that the Islamists are not seeking to “manage the economic and public files” of the country, accusing them of “disloyalty to the homeland.”

The senior Authenticity and Modernity Party figure also directed criticism against the PJD’s religious arm, Attawhid Wal’Islah, for attempting to get involved in politics.

He slammed the organization for demonstrating loyalty to foreign organizations, claiming that PJD members attend meetings of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, PJD MP Abdelaziz Aftati strongly rejected Benazzouz’s accusations. He said that the Moroccan people will not be taken in by “the lies of the Authenticity and Modernity Party, because it is the party of the parallel government and it has been founded by well-known sides in an attempt to restrain the independent parties in Morocco, including the PJD.”