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Opposition leader calls for recognition of Amazigh Moroccans

Image of Moroccan Amazigh activists demonstrating for language recognition [Magharebia/Flickr]
Moroccan Amazigh activists demonstrating for language recognition [Magharebia/Flickr]

The secretary general of Morocco's opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) has called for the official recognition of Amazigh Moroccans and their civil rights. Elias Al-Amari made his call during a workshop organised on Tuesday — International Mother Language Day — to discuss a draft law to recognise the Amazigh language officially.

"Vigilance and readiness are needed," he warned, "in order to address everything that could blur the country's identity, including the Amazigh [language]." Moroccan education blurs Amazigh identity and sense of belonging, claimed Al-Amari. He described the draft law prepared by the caretaker government as "the title to a new stage that will be characterised by the return of those rights which signify belonging."

Read: Respect election results or lose Moroccans' support for democratisation

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the PAM team in the House of Councillors, Benazzouz Aziz, claimed that things "are not going well in the country with regard to the Amazigh language and culture." He called for the protection of Moroccans' political and social gains, "especially the right to use the Amazigh language in education departments and facilities."

The Moroccan government prepared the organisational draft law in August last year to recognise the Amazigh language as an official language and incorporate it into every aspect of public life. The government has set 15 years as the time limit for this to happen. The state Constitution stipulates that Arabic remains the official language of Morocco.

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