Mauritanian leader championing crusade against racism, extremism

APA-Nouakchott (Mauritania) By Mohamed Moctar

The Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, has expressed his readiness to further work for the security, stability and unity of his country by protecting it against racism and extremism.

The Mauritanian leader was speaking at the end of Wednesday’s march against divisive speech, under the initiative of the ruling Union for the Republic (UPR).

Ould Abdel Aziz described hate-mongers as “a bunch of selfish people and groups”.

He said the latter (extremists) are being paid from abroad, before warning that anyone trying to destabilize the country will be prosecuted and tried by the people of Mauritania.

The Mauritanian leader said no-one should endorse those fermenting messages of hatred, stressing that proper training was the most effective way of dealing with the discourse revolving around division and hatred.

Ould Abdel Aziz also threatened to restrict access to some parts of social media that are likely to pose a threat to national security and stability.

Several ministers, leaders of the ruling majority and moderate opposition parties and civil society organizations took part in the march held in downtown Nouakchott.

During the demonstration, boycotted by the National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU) which brings together the main opposition, participants chanted slogans hostile to the discourse against hatred and violence which has become rife in recent times on social media.

“Together Against Racism and Extremism”, “United Against Hate Speech”, “A Homeland for All” and “No to Division, Discrimination, Hate and Extremism”, read some of the banners brandished by the marchers.

Anonymous trolls have resorted to social media to denounce what they called “the domination of the Moorish society over the other sections of the population, especially the descendants of former slaves”.

For their part, anti-slavery activists in Mauritania point accusing fingers at the ruling majority for allegedly maintaining and perpetuating slavery in the country, an accusation denied by the authorities.

One of the leaders of the anti-slavery activits, Biram Abeid Dah, who heads the Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolitionism (IRA), has been released after more than four months in detention following a complaint filed by a journalist who accused him of threatening him in social media.

Slavery was officially abolished in Mauritania in 1980 before being criminalized in 2007.

The practice was subsequently classified a crime against humanity and made imprescriptible by a new law in 2015.


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