By Karima Rhanem
Morocco World News
Rabat, August 12, 2o12
Several young Moroccans are raised in an indifferent family environment, where the “laisser-faire” principle is part of their daily life. These youth, like M. Tarek, are an easy target for extremist ideologies or subject to unusual social practices and delinquencies.
Tarek, 24 year-old Moroccan university student, grew up in a family torn by problems. He has always thought that no one cared for him nor 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 at the age of 13.
It all started with a simple misunderstanding that changed his life completely. 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 prejudiced that only bad students sit there. After making trouble, the male students were forbidden to attend the class and Tarek, though innocent, was among them. Due to the seriousness of the trouble made, he and his classmates were expelled from school for 15 days.
Tarek thought that he was an exceptional case in this world. However, his expelled classmates had the same problems. He felt that at last he had found the “spiritual shelter” that he missed at home. The group had what they called “black chat”, and used to isolate themselves in deserted places and tried to solve their problems by themselves. They had a very dark lifestyle: they put on black T-shirts, played hard music, violated the laws and norms of their school, and sexually harassed girls. Needless to say that many of them were under the effect of hallucination drugs. They called themselves “High-School Nazis”, “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 formed their own Black Metal group.
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, took drugs and had group sex. Tarek always came back home late drunk, and got into trouble with his parents.
“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”, Tarek told Morocco World News while counting his story.
He and his friends started deeply practicing some satanic rituals including killing black cats and dogs. 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 explained.
“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,” he added. Tarek was looking for happiness by throwing himself in demonic practices. Months later, he discovered that he was doing nothing except gradually destroying his own life, and that was not what he was looking for.
Tarek was luckier than his friends, because some of his relatives and neighbors 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.
Morocco World News had also 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 worshipers in Morocco.
In 2003, 14 supposed “devil worshipers” received jail sentences in Casablanca 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.
Morocco World News interviewed several socio-psychologists who stressed the importance of education in both home and school to protect children and teenagers from joining such extremists’ movements.
Dr. Shaabani, sociologist, said that Satanism is a new trend in both European and Moroccan society, and that its roots came from 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 behavior.
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 behavior 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.”
For his part, 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.
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.