A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Moroccan Islamist Leader Sheiikh Abdessalam Yassine, 1928-2012

Sheikh Abdessalam Yassine, Moroccan Islamist opposition leader and founder of the ‘Adl wa'l-Ihsan (Justice and Charity) movement, which has been prohibited from organizing a political party, has died at age 84.

A more moderate Islamist movement, the Party of Justice and Development, or PJD, is legal and leads the current government, but ‘Adl wa'l-Ihsan remains banned from politics.

Rather unusually for a political Islamist leader, Sheikh Yassine had roots in Morocco's Boutchichia Sufi Order. He broke with it over its avoidance of politics however, and formed a movement somewhat reminiscent of the Muslim Brotherhood (with himself referred to as the "Guide" by his followers). After he wrote a letter to the late King Hassan II, he was sent to a mental institution; he was held under house arrest until released by King Muhammad VI.  He also sent a lengthy letter to the new King.

Sheikh Yassine's Arabic website is here.  The ‘Adl wa'l-Ihsan Arabic website is here.

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