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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Casablanca bombs: Were you there?
Rescue workers transport the bodies of victims killed in Casablanca, early 17 May 2003, after at least 24 people died and over 60 were injured in a string of suicide attacks in Morocco

Five explosions in Morocco's largest city, Casablanca, have killed 41 people and injured dozens more.

The blasts went off within 30 minutes of each other late on Friday night.

Ten of those killed were suicide bombers and witnesses say they saw attackers with grenades and explosives attached to their belts.

Five separate targets were bombed, including a Spanish cultural centre and restaurant, a Jewish community centre, a Jewish cemetery, the Belgian consulate and a hotel.

Are you in Casablanca? Do the bombings affect you? Will it put you off travelling to North Africa? E-mail us with your experiences.

Thank you for your e-mails. This debate is now closed. A selection of your comments is published below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

I am an American living in Casablanca just a stones throw from several of the blasts. I witnessed a lot of the hysteria and wanted to comment on how impressed I was with the way the citizens of this city handled this atrocity.
Anonymous, Morocco

I have lived and worked in both Saudi Arabia and Morocco. On the surface, they represent the opposite ends of the spectrum of Islam: tolerant Morocco with its mysticism and saint worship, and intolerant Saudi Arabia with its Wahhabism and muttawain. Yet even at the end of the '70s when I lived in Morocco, surreptitious audio tapes were beginning to circulate, and my university friends all shaved their beards for fear of being rounded up with the incipient fundamentalists. And, while in Jeddah years later, I drummed "jinn" music with Saudi peasants and played in a rock band with some magnificent Saudi musicians. We in the West err greatly in trying to generalize about our Muslim neighbours in the world, as do these fanatics who demonize us for our governments' consistent failures at more comprehensible foreign policy.

Having said that, my heart goes out to the Moroccan people, the most hospitable and generous folk I have ever had the honour to meet and live with.
Steve L., USA

Terrorists will never make us change our lifestyle
Saoussane Rifai, Morocco

I am a Moroccan female citizen of 27 years old. I woke up this morning on the scene of the terrorist killing of innocent Moroccan nationals. I had only one feeling when seeing the blood of those innocents on TV: anger. I can't imagine how criminal, intolerant, and detesting were those terrorists when they killed innocent Moroccan civilians. I am really sad about this event that not only shook our lovely Casablanca city but also devastated our soul as we Moroccans were always true lovers of peace, tolerance, cooperation, and human interaction. I am feeling today like the Americans who lost their beloved in the 11th of September. I am inspired by their courage in facing the terrorist attacks. Terrorists will never make us change our lifestyle, our modernism, our true understanding of Islam, and our commitment towards democracy and human development around the world. Terrorists will certainly fail in their mission of terrorizing human beings.
Saoussane Rifai, Morocco

I was very surprised when I heard of the bombing in Casablanca. You expect this sort of thing in Saudi Arabia where radical elements have infiltrated high levels of their security apparatus, but the Moroccans practice a particularly moderate form of Islam. They have been extremely successful in keeping radical elements out of their society and pride themselves on protecting all of their citizens, Muslim, Christian and Jewish alike. They have been and will remain a staunch ally in the war against terrorism.
Jason, Boston, USA

If the goal is to keep Westerners out of affected areas, it is working. We have family working in Saudi Arabia. They contribute vast knowledge and expertise to that country. A planned vacation to Morocco will most likely be cancelled and we will not be travelling to Saudi in the near future either. What will end this campaign? Will a settlement to the Palestine-Israel issue really bring a lasting peace?
A Young, Canada

What happened in Morocco is a reflection of the attack on Iraq. I don't agree with them, not in that way should we show our anger.
Mohamed Salah, Egypt

I do not believe our leaders are committed to a just settlement for all peoples
S Malik, UK

I feel so despondent. I am Muslim, a parent and I too feel anxiety about the state of the world. I fear travelling with my children because of this increase in violence. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be a victim of terrorism and I am so sorry for these innocent, ordinary souls. I wish that Muslims and non-Muslims could find peace. But I fear the inequality and injustice that we in the West are not effectively confronting is causing such violence. I do not believe that our leaders (Blair - for whom I passionately voted in 1997) are committed to working for a just settlement for all peoples and that is why bloodshed is taking precedence over diplomacy.
S Malik, UK

Having recently travelled to Casablanca on business and stayed in the Safir Hotel, I find today's atrocities cowardly and urge fellow travellers to continue to visit North Africa. This is not about religion - these are extremists once again looking for the easy targets. I have found Moroccans some of the most hospitable people and offer my thoughts and prayers all those affected by this horrific turn of events in such a beautiful country.
Gregory, UK

If we know who is gaining later on, we will know the real murderer. For sure they are not the Moroccans, nor the Arabs and nor are the Muslims... so who?
Firdaus, Egypt

These terrorist attacks achieve nothing more than destroying the local tourist industry which in turn affects the economy causing hardship. They are victims of their own doing.
Ronan O'Dwyer, South Africa

I don't understand how intelligence alerts the world about a terrorist attack but can't stop it.
Idnan Mahmood, England

We have in Morocco a tradition of peace, tolerance and hospitality
Ali, Canada

We have in Morocco a tradition of peace, tolerance and hospitality, for which our predecessors sacrificed their lives, and our people should not let a handful of criminals, who neither know Allah nor fear Him, destroy our present and the hope of our future generations. I hope our police will bring to justice the ignorant criminals behind the atrocities that shook beautiful Casablanca. We
Ali, Canada

I don't understand why if this attack was to target Westerners it was done the way it was. It seems more like that this was a job that was done to strengthen foreign interference, unfortunately. It destroys the feelings of our loyal visitors who love Morocco for what it is. It a cheap trick by people who want to use this attack to position themselves better and destroy the image of Islam.
M Ajan, Morocco

I just called my mum. She lives in Casablanca where she works as a nurse. She is angry at what happened and angry at the way Arabs are portrayed after such events. My mum is ashamed of being an Arab. Let us all not forget that mainly poor Moroccans have been killed. These terrorists will quickly get caught because you cannot hide in Morocco. And trust me, they will talk...
Zak, UK/France

Inevitably, the reactionary will link this terrorism with Islam and Arab people. The way the news is quick to show Arabs dancing in the streets after these outrages is a disgrace. Everyone should remember the people that did this are equitable to the Christian militia in the Deep South of the US. The Timothy McVeighs. These atrocities are not Islamic.
Simon Soaper, England

Simon Soaper: All the press are doing is reporting what is happening. Why not ask the "dancers" about their motives?
Paul B, UK

I don't understand why every ideology or religion must be cleared of guilt
Andrea, United Kingdom

"These atrocities are not Islamic" - I don't understand why every ideology or religion must be cleared of its guilt by definition. So real communism is not a dictatorship, real Islam is so tolerant. If degenerations like these happen, maybe the ideology does lend itself to them - or do we want to deny problems, reassure Islam it does not need to change and say all is well till we all kill each other?
Andrea, United Kingdom

I see here a lot of concern for the way the perpetrators of this act will be perceived. Does no one find it abhorrent that one of the world's smallest minorities (Jews) have been singled out worldwide for violent attacks? Let's have the courage to call these acts what they are: Racism.
Carlos, Costa Rica

It seems that the Belgian consulate was not the target but the Jewish restaurant beside it. I'm completely against the politics of the Sharon government but the Jewish settlements outside Palestine (communities in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco) should not be targeted otherwise they'll all go to Israel which won't help the Palestinians.
Eric, Belgium

Terror blasts rock Casablanca
17 May 03  |  Africa


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