“Salafist enters the Moroccan national team”… AbouKhlal defamation angers supporters

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The Moroccan Football Federation entered the line of controversy that arose about the “Atlas Lions” player, Zakaria AbouKhlal, a professional in the French ranks of Toulouse, after a Moroccan electronic newspaper published an article describing him as “a Salafist who adopts extremist ideology and has infiltrated the Moroccan national team,” a report that sparked Angry reactions from a wide range of Moroccans, and discussions on social media.

Today, Sunday, the federation issued a statement condemning what was published by this newspaper, stressing that it stood by AbouKhlal as one of the makers of the World Cup achievement in Qatar, and decided to sue the newspaper.

AbouKhlal defamation: The Football Association denounces and vows

Since the electronic newspaper “Ashcaine” published, last Friday, a report entitled “AbouKhlal Salafi in the Moroccan National Team,” and there is no topic that tops the discussions on the communication sites in the Kingdom except for condemnation and denunciation of the accusations and incitement against the player.

With the expansion of the controversy, the Moroccan Federation decided to enter the line and issued a statement denouncing the contents of this report.

The federation’s statement said, “Following the publication of an article by a website that affects the person and behavior of the Moroccan international player, Zakaria AbouKhlal, during his participation with the national elite in the Qatar World Cup 2022, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation categorically denies the false accusations against him.” In this article.

The statement emphasized that AbouKhlal “expressed exemplary behavior alongside his colleagues in order to achieve honorable results for the national elite in this global forum.”

Likewise, the federation strongly condemned “the abuse of this website with the person and behavior of player Zakaria AbouKhlal, and through him, the image of the national team with all its activities.”

The federation stressed that it would resort to the judiciary to protect the members of the national team and refute any false allegations affecting their behavior or personal lives while exercising their national duties.

AbouKhlal defamation :What is the report of the site “Achkayen”?

The report described the AbouKhlal player as “the Salafist who penetrates the national team” because of his strong commitment and keenness to perform prayers.

The “Achkayen” website said that AbouKhlal’s behavior “carries a strict religious character, especially after he resorted to prostration after scoring the second goal against Belgium, which, according to the Moroccan platform, is considered an imported Levantine culture.”

AbouKhlal defamation : Title of the Moroccan newspaper report

The “Achkayen” website claimed that AbouKhlal “took advantage of the opportunity of the World Cup in Qatar, in order to influence his teammates, and try to attract them to his Salafist movement, which was achieved with Abdel Hamid Sabiri and Elias Al Shaer.”

In addition, the site described the unification movement carried out by AbouKhlal, along with the players of the Moroccan national team, by raising his index finger upward as the “ISIS movement.”

The site also attacked the player after appearing in the stands with a veiled woman, who later revealed that she was his European wife, in addition to his appearance with the famous Indian preacher Zakir Naik.

AbouKhlal defamation : Widespread anger on social media

Activists considered that what the French star of Toulouse did was behavior followed by any observant Muslim, noting that this is not a charge or a crime that requires criticism of him or insulting his faith.

On communication platforms, the hashtag “We are all AbouKhlal” spread widely in Arabic and English, in a campaign in which politicians, thinkers and academics, as well as Moroccan athletes, were involved.

Likewise, Saad Eddine El Otmani, the former head of the Moroccan government, condemned what the newspaper went to, praising the reaction of the Moroccan Federation, which defended the player.

El Otmani restored the campaign to support AbouKhlal by hashing “#Weareaboukhlal” in response to “the yellow press, which did not like the condemnation of the national player AbouKhlal.”

He also noted the “strict position” of the Moroccan Federation for the game.

For his part, academic Omar Al-Sharqawi believes that it is unreasonable to describe a player as extremist or Salafist only because he prostrates after victory and drinks water while sitting on his knees and reciting the Quran.

While others called on the newspaper and other Moroccan media to “focus on what has become known as the scandal of distributing World Cup tickets,” which resonated in parliament, and the authorities decided to open an investigation into it, instead of directing accusations against one of the makers of the best achievement in the history of Moroccan and Arab football.

AbouKhlal defamation :Aboukhlal “The Committed”

Hours before the release of this report, the pioneers of the communication sites circulated videos of AbouKhlal praying with people after his wedding last Friday.

The former player of Dutch Alkmaar (his mother is Moroccan and his father is Libyan) is known for his religious commitment and memorization of the Holy Qur’an, in addition to his leading prayers in a mosque in the Netherlands.

During the last World Cup in Qatar, Abu published a picture of him with the famous Indian preacher “Zakir Naik” on his account on “Instagram” and expressed his great happiness at meeting him.

Last summer, he delivered a Friday sermon to his team mates and prayed with them, during the training camp of the “Atlas Lions”.

Similar to AbouKhlal, the Moroccan national team players are accustomed to celebrating prostration, after winning all their matches in the 2022 World Cup hosted by Qatar.

AbouKhlal defamation : Toulouse condemns the accusations made by this site

The French club where he plays Aboukhlal entered the case and condemned the accusations made by this site.

The Club condemns the accusations made by this site, false, unfounded and degrading, which damage the image of our player, and reserves the right to use all the remedies available to defend the image and the integrity of Zakaria.


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