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Africa

2003-05-22

AFRICA/MOROCCO - ARCHBISHOP VINCENT LANDEL OF RABAT OFFER FIDES A PERSONAL REFLECTION ON THE EXTREMIST ATTACKS: “NOT CLOSED DOORS BUT MORE INVESTMENT IN OUR COUNTRY MUST BE EUROPE’S REACTION, OTHERWISE THE INFERNAL CYCLE WILL NEVER END

Rabat (Fides Service) – After the May 16 terrorist attack in Casablanca the whole kingdom is in a state of shock. No one imagined that such a thing could ever happen in this country. But what is even more concerning is that the suicide bombers were all Moroccan, very young men, all from one of the poorest districts in Casablanca. Although some would say that the target was one or another sector of the population, only 6 of the 41 persons killed were European, which is too many anyway, and all residents well known locally. This excludes any connection with tourism.
The Christian community is also deeply shocked. One of our parish buildings is next to the Casa de Espagna and the explosion broke all the windows and caused the floors to collapse. But it is above all the psychological impact which is difficult to address. On Sunday we celebrated a mass for the Spanish victims and on Monday, in a crowded church with the presence of many Moroccan friends, funerals were held for the other two. It was a moment of intense communion, in which everyone felt deeply involved.
Now that the investigation is making progress, life is returning to normality; in front of the bomb sites people are staging demonstrations against the ideology of hatred and savagery. In schools of all grades pupils are being sensitised about the danger of hatred and terrorism.
You must know that the message sent by the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, was greatly appreciated. It is at times like this that Christians show solidarity to hosting countries.
This is only my personal reflection but sadly these events are the tangible manifestation of youth without a future (Sidi Moumen district is one of the poorest in Casablanca). More than half of the young people there dream only of moving elsewhere to escape a chronic situation of poverty. Faced with these events, Europe’s reaction must be not to close its doors, but rather to invest in our country; otherwise the infernal cycle will never end. (Vincent Landel Archbishop of Rabat. (Fides Service 22/5/2003 EM lines 29 Words: 374)


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