The New Islamists

March 2012. Rachid Ait Yahi, a 28-year-old Casablanca resident, is unemployed and whiles away his time skateboarding with his friends at the Park de la Ligue Arabe in the city center in Casablanca. Photo by Yuri Kozyrev

March 2012. Rachid Ait Yahi, a 28-year-old Casablanca resident, is unemployed and whiles away his time skateboarding with his friends at the Park de la Ligue Arabe in the city center in Casablanca. Photo by Yuri Kozyrev

Last month TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev and I went to Rabat and Casablanca to report on a story about the rise of Political Islam in the countries of the Arab Spring. As with Tunisia and Egypt, free elections in Morocco have brought to power an Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD). But these, as we discovered, are not your father’s Islamists. They defy the Western stereotype of bushy-bearded, wild-eyed religious fanatics: Morocco’s Islamists are not seeking to take their country back to some ancient golden age, they are trying to figure how to bring it to the 21st century without losing its religious moorings. In this, they are similar to Islamists now heading governments in Tunis and Cairo. The pursuit and attainment of political power have forced these parties to abandon radical ideas and distance themselves from their lunatic fringes. Instead, they are moving to the political center.

Morocco has drawn tourists for centuries, and to most visitors cities like Rabat and Casablanca are a pleasant combination of the modern and the ancient. In this set of images, Yuri captures both aspects of the country.

See Full Photo Essay

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s