La Yassine Is Back

From this Sunday’s Washington Post about freedom of speech in Morocco:

The monarchy in this North African country dates back 1,200 years and has survived foreign invaders, civil wars and communist plots. Now it is confronted by a new threat: a grandmother who preaches nonviolence and democracy.

The grandmother bit sounds absolutely charming until you find out that they’re actually talking about Nadia Yassine, the opportunistic public figure of the Islamist group Justice and Charity. Yassine claims she wants democracy, but she has, in fact, campaigned against legal reforms to grant women equal rights under the law. The reforms went ahead without her. Now she faces trial in Morocco for an interview she gave in which she criticized the king, knowing full well that it would get her the attention of the government and raise her profile internationally. The case has won her the support of people on the other side of the spectrum–the secular democrats, including Abdelaziz Koukas, the journalist who interviewed her. As distateful as I find her, I think she should be allowed to say whatever the hell she wants. That is the real test of a democracy. Besides, silencing her only makes her sound more interesting than she really is, i.e. someone who has absolutely no viable program for the future.

Link via The Periscope.