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History : In 1925, an assembly of ulemas chose El Khattabi as a caliph of Muslims

A PJD deputy, Abu Zaid Idrissi, has revealed in 2015 in Nador that Muslim Ulemas gathered in Cairo in 1925 had almost unanimously adopted a Palestinian proposal designating Mohamed Ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi a Caliph of Muslims. The Riffian political and military leader had subsequently declined the offer as he had refused, two decades later, the French proposal to rule Morocco.

In 1925, an assembly of ulemas chose El Khattabi as a caliph of Muslims./Ph. DR
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It is in Nador that the Justice and Development Party deputy, Abu Zaid El Idrissi, shared with an audience a forgotten chapter of Morocco’s history. In a meeting organized by the Unity and Reform movement (MUR), a Moroccan association of religious and charitable nature, Idrissi revealed an unknown historical fact about Mohamed Ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi. The lecturer, a big supporter of the Palestinian cause, said that the Riffian political and military leader had been nominated by an assembly of (Muslim Sunni) ulemas to become a Muslim caliph.

On the 7th of January, 1925, in Cairo and during a preparatory session for the first congress of religions organized by Al Azhar University, funded entirely by King Fouad, more than 800 Muslim theologians gathered in the Egyptian capital to elect a new caliph. An unoccupied position since March 1924, when Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, a Turkish army officer, revolutionary and founder of the Republic of Turkey, had abolished this regime, putting an end for the reign of the Ottoman dynasty.

Neither caliph nor king

Proposing to enthrone the Riffian king over hundreds of millions of Muslims «was suggested by the Palestinian delegation led by the Mufti of that country and also imam of Al Aksa mosque», said the PJD member. He added that the delegation had obtained the support of most scholars expect the Egyptians who had another candidate. Choosing El Khattabi was a logical option for these ulemas.

In 1925, news about his victory in the Anoual battle has spread to reach the Arab world. The candidate elected by Egypt was lacking legitimacy since he was receiving orders from the British and even though the country was proclaimed independent three years before (British protectorate from 1882 to 1922).

A congress that ended on a negative note for the organizers. But although the assembly rejected the offer of the management of Al Azhar University, El Khattabi on his side was not enthusiastic to endorse the title of caliph. With great diplomacy, he declined the offer of the assembly of Sunni Muslim ulemas.

A quarter of a century later, the Riffian, then exiled in Egypt, refused a proposal this time from the French to induct him King of Morocco replacing king Mohammed V.

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