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Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb: Identity crisis, racism, conflict
In a first for an African country, during the last World Cup in Qatar (2022), Morocco qualified for the semi-finals. After the victory over Spain in the quarter-final, Moroccan player Sofiane Boufal was criticized by Africans for dedicating his country’s victory to Arabs, Muslims and Moroccans, without mentioning Africa or Africans. Although he apologized a few hours later in the face of widespread criticism, the controversy highlighted the problem of identity between Maghrebians and sub-Saharans. This article examines two pressing issues, racism and xenophobia directed against sub-Saharan Africans, as well as conflicts between some Maghreb countries.

The people of the Maghreb are often divided about their identity. Many of them consider themselves culturally more Arab than African. But these countries are by no means monocultural, as one might think, because amongst their population there are Berbers or Amazighs (40 percent of the population), Arabs, Jews, blacks and Moriscos.

In North Africa, the specific issue of sub-Saharans, particularly blacks, has often been evaded. Whether native or not, the everyday reality for a black person in the Maghreb is to be an object of disdain and discrimination. They are regularly perceived as belonging to an exogenous group, identifiable with supposedly distinct ethnic and sociocultural characteristics; simply put, they are stereotyped.It is evident that the problem of identity affects every nation on every continent, as history has shown.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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