SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 24, 2019

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Abdelmalek Essaadi University

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Morocco

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 24, 2019, a group of students reportedly attacked the president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ahmed Raissouni, while he was giving a lecture at Abdelmalek Essaadi University.

Raissouni, a renowned scholar in Morocco, was invited to campus by a group called the Student Renewal to speak at an event titled “Moroccan choices in religiosity and doctrine.” Roughly 23 minutes into his lecture, a group of students carrying knives reportedly attacked Raissouni, forcing him to flee the event. A few members of the Student Renewal group were reportedly injured.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparent targeted attack of a scholar in an apparent effort to prevent the exercise of free expression on campus. While students have a right to freedom of expression, they must exercise this peacefully and responsibly, including refraining from violence. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally. State and university authorities must also take reasonably available measures to ensure the security of higher education communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators accountable.