State Department Terrorism Report Again Recognizes Morocco's Cooperation, Policies

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - June 08, 2016) - The US Department of State's 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism released this month once again lauded Morocco's continuing cooperation with the US on regional and international counterterrorism, as well as the country's strategy for countering violent extremism.

The report noted that in 2015, Morocco established the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation as the primary law enforcement agency responsible for terrorism, "a central institution with the goal of bolstering security governance nationwide within a legal and transparent framework." It also noted that Morocco enacted significant amendments to the criminal code last year to address the foreign terrorist fighter issue -- "criminalizing joining, or attempting to join a terrorist group; receiving terrorist training; and terrorist recruiting." And it reported that Morocco maintained its longstanding participation with the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and the FBI in a broad range of counterterrorism programs, including:

  • Addressing "watchlisted or mala fide travelers";
  • Training in investigating terrorist incidents, post-blast investigations, cyber forensics, crime scene forensics, critical incident management, and executive leadership;
  • Developing counterterrorism cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel and training law enforcement officials from a Sahel partner country;
  • Training in developing and implementing chain of custody and evidence management procedures; forensic evidence collection and analysis, including DNA;
  • Improving technical investigative training for police and prosecutors; and
  • Improving capacity in intelligence analysis, facial recognition, and leadership and management.

The report acknowledged Morocco's "comprehensive strategy for countering violent extremism that prioritizes economic and human development goals in addition to tight control of the religious sphere and messaging. Morocco has accelerated its rollout of education and employment initiatives for youth -- the population identified as most vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment to violence -- and has also expanded the legal rights and political and social empowerment of women." It states that "Morocco has developed a national strategy to affirm and further institutionalize Morocco's widespread adherence to the Maliki-Ashari school of Sunni Islam," focusing on "upgrading mosques, promoting the teaching of relatively moderate Islam, and strengthening the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (MEIA)." And it notes that "[t]hroughout 2015, Morocco expanded its regional counter-radicalization efforts to include training imams from France, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, and Tunisia."

The report also noted that "the government has publicly committed itself not to use the struggle against terrorism to deprive individuals of their rights. It has emphasized adherence to human rights standards and the increased transparency of law enforcement procedures as part of its approach."

"From helping French authorities track down the Paris attackers, to cooperating with US efforts, to training Imams in the region and beyond," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel, "Morocco has once again demonstrated the strength of its counterterrorism efforts, and of its commitment to our two countries' long and mutually beneficial friendship."

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Jordana Merran