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MENA Regional Hub: Moroccan Cities’ Efforts in Preventing and Responding to Hate, Extremism and Polarisation

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— 3 minutes reading time

On 27 — 28 November, in Tangier, Morocco, the Strong Cities Network MENA Regional Hub, in partnership with the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC) and the City of Tangier, convened a two-day roundtable to discuss Moroccan cities’ efforts in preventing and responding to hate, extremism and polarisation and to explore how to strengthen the role of cities and national-local cooperation (NLC) more broadly in preventing hate and extremist-motivated violence and related threats. The event marked the Strong Cities’ first engagement focused on local governments in Morocco, made possible by generous support from the European Union’s STRIVE Cities Initiative.

The roundtable brought together more than 25 participants, including mayors and local government representatives from nine cities across Morocco. Participants included representatives from Morocco’s Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives from the Moroccan Observatory on Extremism and Violence (OMEV), the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among other organisations.

In his opening remarks, Mounir Lymouri, Mayor of Tangier, emphasised the city’s cosmopolitan legacy as a bridge between East and West, the history of openness and diversity, as well as Tangier’s newly forged partnership with the Strong Cities Network. Further, the Mayor shared the city’s focus on citizen engagement to enhance social cohesion.

Asmaa Rhlalou, Mayor of Rabat and Co-Chair of the Strong Cities International Steering Committee, described the event as an opportunity to exchange experiences and good practices, as well as to learn how cities can support prevention initiatives and programmes in their communities. She also highlighted the importance of using the workshop as an opportunity to explore how cities can prevent hate, extremism and polarisation among their residents amid rising manifestations of these threats globally.

Over the two days, participants addressed challenges facing cities across a range of interconnected issues, such as hate speech, climate change, migration, the rehabilitation and reintegration (R&R) of returnees from conflict zones and the role of cities in maintaining social cohesion in the face of these challenges.  They also explored the importance of enhanced national-local cooperation (NLC) to effectively navigate these issues and were introduced to the new Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) NLC toolkit, developed by the Strong Cities Network, and its relevance to the Moroccan context. Discussions culminated with recommendations on how Strong Cities and other partners could best support efforts of Moroccan cities to become more involved in hate and extremism prevention work.  

Key findings from the roundtable included:


Event Report