November 25, 2007

Tetouan, Tetouan

My goodness, this place was a New York Times Magazine cover story waiting to happen. Abu Muqawama -- along with friends Little Becks and "el-Hamaat" -- visited Tetouan this summer. We had to be at a certain spot to catch the bus back to Tangier, so Abu Muqawama led the three of us on a "shortcut" back to the rendez-vous point. Oh, it was a shortcut, alright -- but it wound through some of the more shady barrios any of us had ever walked through. A week later, Abu Muqawama was visiting Issandr in Rabat and found out Tetouan was the place in Morocco that provided more jihadists who go fight in Iraq than anywhere else. Anyway, Abu Muqawama woke up too late for morning services today, so this will be what he's reading over his breakfast.

(Question: Andrea Elliott often reports on Islam for the New York Times, but does anyone know if she speaks Arabic? Even if she doesn't, she could have probably gotten away with Spanish in Tetouan -- it used to be the capital of the Spanish mandate in northern Morocco. Anyway, just curious.)

Update: Google is an amazing thing: "Ms. Elliott was born on December 14, 1972, in Washington, D.C. to a Chilean mother and American father. She is fluent in Spanish, is proficient in Portuguese and is learning Arabic. She is married and lives in Manhattan."

Update II: Speaking of the Times, if you are unlucky enough to be working your way through Tom Friedman's latest nonsense today, read it all the way until the end. There's a gem after the final paragraph that makes all the pain worth it: "Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich are off today." Praise the Lord and pass the PBR.