Dr. Mohammed Masbah is a fellow at the African Institute for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation (AIPECT), Rabat, Morocco. He is also the director of the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA), and is currently an associate fellow at Chatham House (UK). Dr. Masbah obtained his PhD in Sociology from Mohammad V University in Rabat and is a political-sociologist whose work centers on Salafism, political Islam, authoritarianism, and youth movements, with a focus on North Africa. He was a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C., and a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin.
His recent publications include, “Rise and Endurance: Moderate Islamists and Electoral Politics in the Aftermath of the ‘Moroccan Spring’” in Islamists and the Politics of the Arab Uprisings: Governance, Pluralisation and Contention (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), and “The Limits of Morocco’s Attempt to Comprehensively Counter Violent Extremism,” a brief for the Crown Center for Middle East Studies (2018).
The proposed research project is about the subject of deradicalization of Moroccan Salafi-Jihadis and how prison actually contributed to their deradicalization. Moroccan Salafis gained increased visibility in the public sphere through the wave of protests that swept the Arab world since early 2011. They not only supported the protests but also actively participated in it. They also adapted their ideology to the political opening to enlarge their margin of maneuver and voicing their demands to wider audience. My research proposes to examine the role of prison in changing ideology and behaviors of radical Salafis in the Moroccan context. More precisely, this project aims to analyze and increase our understanding of the role that prisons play in the process of deradicalization and moderation. This research project is useful to increase our understanding of extremism in Africa from two sides. First, it decrypts the interactions between Radicals and the State institutions and Second it helps us to demystify radical jihadis as normal political and social actors.