By Karima Rhanem
Several Moroccan teenagers were raised in an indifferent family environment, where the “laisser-faire” principle is part of their daily life. Satanism among Moroccan youth, however, is more likely an imitation of beliefs coming from western countries than a religious conviction. Several socio-psychologists stressed the importance of education in both home and school to protect children and teenagers from joining such extremists’ movements.
Any loving Moroccan parent would be horrified and shocked to learn that his son or his daughter is eagerly listening to satanic music. In 2004, 14 supposed “devil worshipers” received jail sentences ranging from three months to one year for “undermining the Muslim faith” and possessing objects contrary to good morals.
Nine of them, aged between 21 and 36, belonged to a heavy metal band and the others were fans. Since then, membership in satanic sects, the participation in their rituals or the evocation of demonic entities have assumed an unexpected dimension in Moroccan society.
Dr. Shaabani, sociologist, said that Satanism is a new trend in both European and Moroccan society, and that its roots dates back to the 1960’s and 1970’s, when some rebel movements emerged such as “the black shirts” and other movements like the “Hippies” and the “Punks”.
“However”, he added, “there’s a difference between those movements of the past and the present ones. In the 60’s and 70’s, these groups emerged in opposition to the political and economical conditions in Europe in that decade.
Therefore, they were expressing their opinions and their own philosophy through their appearance, dress or behaviour. They were also expressing their rage against society and religion through music and songs”.
According to Dr. Shaabani, “the word Satanist, or “Satan worshipers”, means that the behaviour and practices of members of this sect are related to evil. Satan is well known for his disobedience and rebellion against God’s will.
Individuals who reject religion or openly express their attraction to all that is immoral are therefore called Satanists.” He also stressed that the main objective of satanic sects is to demolish the cultural and historical specificities of the other civilizations, and that the economic situation in Morocco makes youth vulnerable to the influence of these movements.
People who have problems dealing with the world and suffer from psychological dissociation are more likely to get involved in satanic circles.
Mohamed Darif, socio-political expert, said that both the lack of an appropriate social, political and religious education and the personal tendency to rebellion are the main causes that drive some Moroccan teenagers to join these satanic movements.
“However, Moroccan youth are strongly tied to their identity,” he added. “They still have faith in God. Satanism is not really a phenomenon in our country; it is rather a merely individual behaviour and practice that does not reach a higher level of evil. Satanic movement in Morocco is more likely an imitation of beliefs coming from Western countries than a religious conviction.”
Dr. Taj Eddin Al Husseini, sociological and political analyst, mentioned that children who did not receive much love and attention from their parents and were given total freedom are the most vulnerable. He added that children today have more access to computers, TV programs, magazines and video games that show scary and violent scenes.
In addition, the absence of parents’ control in the child’s daily life makes him/her a target of his/her friends’ violence and torture in school. Children today spend their whole day playing with war games, blowing things up and torturing animals. Therefore, they grow up to be self-indulgent and obsessed with power, hate and vengeance.
These children are more likely to convert to satanic beliefs and rituals than others. “Educators have to play a prominent role in the orientation of children in terms of values, teaching them how to acknowledge and respect their freedom and how to be responsible for their own acts,” he concluded.
On the other hand, Dr. Laila Gharbi, Moroccan psychologist, said that the main causes that drive young Moroccans to become Satanists is, first, the intellectual or religious vacuum; second, parents today are indifferent towards their kids. Children, without any adult guidance, resort to their peers and to destructive media.
She added that “parents should raise their children within a friendly atmosphere characterized by love and respect. Raised in this way, children grow up in security and develop a well balanced personality and self-confidence.”
The third factor the doctor mentioned is that students who successively fail in their studies because of their parents’ inability to support them tend to feel more self-deprived. Thus, they show an extreme hatred towards school, the educational system and even their family and society.
Dr. Gharbi stressed the school’s vital role in building children’s personality, and added that educators must be positive in dealing with troubled students who resorted to Satanism to solve their overwhelming problems.
In her perspective, young Moroccans converted to Satanism are suffering from psychological problems and need to be cured by a psychologist. She added that children need more attention and help from their parents and their surroundings. “These people are looking for the truth, and we have to show them the right way to it,” she concluded.
In contradiction to what Dr. Gharbi said, Dr. Didouh Abderrahman, psychoanalyst, claimed that satanic behaviour does not necessarily stem from psychological troubles or personality disorder, but it is rather due to the breakdown of society in terms of political, social and economic conditions. “That’s what makes people more rebellious against society and religion,” he said.
He added that violence is an innate impulse in all human beings; therefore, a normal person can show violent behaviour from time to time. However, “regular rituals that encourage criminal acts and human or animal torture should be punished.”
Most socio-psychologists interviewed stressed that parents, schools and media should pay more attention to children’s lives and try to figure out their troubles before it became too late. However, parents are not born professional psychologists, as Alvin Poussaint, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical school, has said.
Kids, for Poussaint, “have a mind of their own; they are also influenced by the outside world and by their friends.” Therefore, “youngsters are tremendously affected by a whole world outside their homes.”
“Even those coming from a loving family may develop a secret life, and be pulled by their peers or Internet information into strange practices and convictions. But this is very difficult for parents to handle.”
Educators, on the other hand, should be expert in communication, and be able to detect students in trouble and solve their problems. Teenagers can get a hold of anything from violent video games to directions on the Internet on how to build your bomb.
The extreme amount of exposure to these elements provides young Moroccans with ready-made information about extremist groups that intensify shaky interests.
A real case!
Tarek, 24 year-old university student, grew up in a family torn by problems. No one cared for him or loved him. As a teenager, many things have changed in his life.
Family problems have had dramatic impact on his psychic to the point that his faith in God was shaken. He lost faith in God at the age of 13. He was desperate and gloomy. He once told himself: “Even God the Almighty doesn’t care for me. Where is he? He doesn’t answer my prayers”.
Tarek thought that he was an exceptional case in this world. He thought that all children had good parents who cared for them. However, he met a group of teenagers who had the same problems. He then discovered that they shared the same ideas.
He felt that at last he had found the “spiritual shelter” that he missed at home. The group used to have what they called “black chat”, and used to isolate themselves in deserted places and tried to solve their problems by themselves.
At high-school, Tarek was an industrious student. He never missed any course. Everything was very normal until one day he came late to the class. He found that one of his classmates was already sitting in his place. Tarek was upset and searched for a vacant seat. Unfortunately he found one but at the rear of the class.
It is notorious that only bad students sit there. After being very noisy, the male students were forbidden to attend the class. Tarek was among them. He swore before the headmaster that he was innocent and that his classmates were responsible.
However, the headmaster did not believe him. As a result, the students, including Tarek, were expelled from school for 15 days. Since then, Tarek was considered as a troublemaker by the school’s officials and by his classmates.
He later decided to join the group of troublemakers. The group put on black T-shirts, played hard music, violated the laws and norms of their school, and sexually harassed girls. They called themselves “High-School Nazis”. They were also known as “skinheads” or “black shirts” band.
At the beginning, they had no idea what Satanism was about. All they knew was that its philosophy was against Islamic principles. They used to play Hard Rock and Black Metal music, and were influenced by nazi ideas.
One of the band’s members used to go to Germany and bring back video tapes of their favorite music bands that they imitated. He also brought nazi literature, including stories about “skinheads”, Hitler and Hard Music bands.
Tarek and his friends started to learn German in order to understand and be able to read books about Nazis and German Black Metal bands. The more they read the more they became attached to their ideas. They later became atheists and Nazis, and formed their own Black Metal group.
“I started to think that God doesn’t exist when I found it hard to get over my depression. I had problems with my parents, and I was all the time warned by the school administration. I wasn’t a bad guy whatever they may think.
Many times I felt weak but no one helped me. I prayed many times and each time it got worse. So I told myself that God doesn’t exist. Where is he? Why he did not respond to my requests?”
Tarek and the band met regularly in their favorite and deserted place. They used to discuss their problems, console each other’s sorrows, and share their experiences and their feelings of hatred towards their families. While they were in the school of music, Tarek and his band met a group of young satanic musicians.
They were fascinated by their evil ideas. “I remember one of them told us that all monotheist religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) claim that certain people are chosen by God and that all other religious books are forged and false,” Tarek said.
He added: “We have no proof that there were prophets sent by God or just leaders of movements. Religion is, therefore, a creation of human beings themselves. At first, human beings worshipped nature, but they were not satisfied. So they created an invisible God. You are your own master. No God will ever be able to make your life better than yourself.”
At last, Tarek and his friends had found the religion that would suit their expectations. They were fascinated by satanic philosophy that would liberate them and in which they would find refuge. Hence, the satanic rituals became part of their daily life.
“We were ready to do anything because, at that time, we were convinced that there is no life after death and that we could do whatever we wanted without taking into consideration the law or respecting the norms and values of our society,” he said.
The band became very famous among young teenagers. Its members, including Tarek, resorted to Internet, looking for Satanism signs, idols like Marilyn Manson, and the Bible of Satan.
The band then organized their own parties where they hysterically danced, had fun, and took drugs and had group sex. Tarek always came back home late drunk, and got into trouble with his parents.
The shy and calm teenager became a violent person who did not care about anything apart from quenching his own desires. “I always had the feeling that I lived just with my body. My soul was elsewhere, it no longer belonged to me. The spiritual vacuum was killing me,” he said.
Tarek and his friends started practicing some satanic rituals including killing black cats and dogs in order to drink their blood, and doing all kinds of black magic. One of the precepts of Satanism is that the adherents of this doctrine cut their veins and mix their blood with each other. “This is a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness to the sect and the Satan doctrine,” Tarek said.
“We used to stroll around the city at night looking for black cats and dogs. Once we’d caught them, we would kill them and drink some of their blood to get the evil’s power. It has been said that bad spirits are imprisoned inside the body of black pets.
Afterwards, we would draw the pentagram on the ground in our secret room in my house. The pentagram represents sorrow, sadness, injustice and obscurity. Each one of us would stand on the extreme of each pentagram. I used to stand by the one that represents injustice, because I have always been treated unjustly,” Tarek said.
“While practicing this ritual, I felt I was in a strange, obscure world, and that I was next to Satan. I was in a vicious circle of sadness and hell that I much enjoyed.”
Tarek was very nervous while telling his unbelievable experience. It was clear that he’d had an unstable and poor childhood. His parents preferred his brother.
“I was totally ignored by my father; he didn’t care about me,” he said. He was physically and psychologically tortured at home, and by his peers and neighbours in the street and at school.
Tarek found refuge in Satanism. “I got power, I found a place, I had a sense of belonging, I found new friends with whom I shared everything,” Tarek said. Tarek and his band went to parties every night. They invited their girlfriends, took drugs, alcohol and had group sex. While dancing and playing Heavy Metal music, they pronounced words of hatred against God, humanity and civilization.
“We did everything bad and immoral except killing,” he said. He was looking for happiness by throwing himself in demonic practices.
Months later, Tarek discovered that he was doing nothing except gradually destroying his own life, and that was not what he was looking for. The trial of the 14 musicians last year made him rethink about leaving this sect.
Tarek was luckier than his friends, because some of his relatives and neighbours advised him to quit the Satanist group. They convinced him of the existence of God, who is willing to forgive him if he seriously wants to become a good person.
Fearful, Tarek decided to return to his normal life, but with some hesitation and confusion about certain concepts of life. He revealed to us that he is afraid he might go back to this evil and dark world.
I have talked with some of Tarek’s current friends. Some of them said that he is suffering from serious psychological problems; others seemed to believe in his story, but denied the existence of well organized Satanist worshippers in Morocco.