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Moroccan Imam Under Investigation over Paris Attacks

Taroudant – Moroccan imam Abdelilah Ziyad, who was sentenced in France to eight years in prison in 1997 for plotting a terrorist attack in Morocco, has reportedly been a mentor to Omar Ismail Mostefai, one of the suicide bombers of the Bataclan carnage in Paris.Ziyad, convicted as the mastermind of the Marrakech bombings in 1994, is once again under the spotlight of the French media.Despite his “terrorist record,” the Moroccan imam has been preaching in a small neighborhood mosque in Troyes, Aube, under a false identity for at least two years, according to witnesses. Abdelilah Ziyad, was once identified as the Emir of the Movement of the Moroccan Islamic Youth, a movement opposing the Moroccan regime.He changed his name to Abdelkrim and lived in France using a false identity, despite being banned from the French territory, according to “Le Figaro”.When asked about his relationship with Omar IsmailMostefai, Ziyad said he knows the man just like any other guy in the neighborhood, adding that he is a “100 percent calm” man, but he was probably radicalized “through the internet.”According to his lawyer, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse, Abdelilah Ziyad “totally belied to be the mentor of Mostefai”.Defending his client, Courcelle-Labrousse said that the imam “might have led prayers at that time” in the mosque of Chartres, adding that “[Ziyad] said he may have encountered the man, but in no case as a leader of a group in a closed circle where would have an educational role,” according to AFP. read more

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