unsentimental fast-paced surf travel adventure."
Jihadi terrorist Ali
Mansour is on the run for his role in the Casablanca bombings. To stay a
step ahead of the Moroccan police he contacts the secretive Dr. Chandran,
agent of ‘the Businessman.’
Bobby Cruz and
girlfriend Samantha Kane are enjoying an idyllic holiday in Morocco when
they meet Dr. Chandran in Marrakech. As Bobby spends his days surfing the
rugged Atlantic coast, he is unaware of the dramatic events to follow.
As the hunt continues
for the fanatic Ali, Bobby and Samantha will once again cross paths with the
doctor and the sinister practice behind his clinic in the Atlas mountains.
Anchor Point, Taghazoute and Morocco
surf maps included
“Sword of the Prophet is a fast-paced
set in mysterious Morocco.”
It was early
evening in Casablanca and the surf was breaking two meters over sand-covered
rocks. The boys riding boogie boards were pulling off radical 360s, aerials
and flip rolls. The swell was building and would grow in size throughout the
night. By morning the surf would be double its height and only the best and
bravest would be out in the water.
came from a low depression in the North Atlantic that raged somewhere in the
waters between Nova Scotia and Greenland. The weather system would reach the
Bay of Biscay in a few days, but before making land the winds would push the
swells to this exposed northern coast of Morocco.
this meant little to Ali Mansour, standing watching the surfers. He came
from the land of the Prophet, the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula where the
seas were passive. Ocean surf was something new for him, something to marvel
at. When Ali had free time he would come to these cliffs and watch the boys
surf. He was amazed to see some of the older boys ride the waves on
surfboards. Ali could not believe his eyes, it was if they were walking on
standing on the southern edge of the immense square of the Hassan II Mosque
in Casablanca, Morocco. The great mosque was situated on the rocky ledge
that jutted out into the Atlantic Ocean. Further to the north was the harbor
entrance and to the south lay a rocky coastline of the Corniche, which was
now white with crashing surf.
was the city of Casablanca where Ali could see the walls and turrets of the
old Medina marketplace and the ugly blocks of concrete slum housing that lay
was Friday and for the last few minutes Ali had watched the faithful of
Casablanca arrive at the mosque for evening prayers. Over the crashing surf
he could hear their greetings as they took off their shoes and entered the
mosque, “A’salaam A’leikum,” they would say to friends who would in
turn reply “A’leikum A’salaam,” and inquire about health, family and
There would be no prayers for Ali tonight; there would be no comfort in
communing with God. He had work to do and he was sure God would be merciful,
because he was carrying out his will.
turned his gaze back to the ocean and watched the boys surf some more. There
was still some daylight though the sun was already down; it wouldn’t be long
now, he thought.
again in the direction of the Medina; the lights were coming on in the
windows of the slum blocks. The loudspeaker on top of the mosque began
calling the faithful to prayer. A sonorous voice rang out:
God is great
God is great,
there is no God, but Allah,
that Mohammed is his messenger,
prayer, Hurry to salvation,
God is great
God is great,
There is no
God, but Allah
voice seemed almost supernatural as it echoed off the concrete and marble of
the Hassan II square.
Ali saw a
couple of boys who had been surfing climb the cliffs from the beach and
cross the square to the mosque entrance. He watched as they took off their
shoes to enter the mosque and pray. How strange, Ali never thought of these
surfers as fellow Muslims.
saw it first, then heard it. There was a bright flash beyond the old Medina,
then a dull thud and roar. Barely a minute later there was another flash
from the same direction, another booming sound, yet another roar.
is done, Ali thought, and started to cross the square moving against the
flow of men on their way to prayers. No one seemed to have noticed that
something of great importance had taken place. In the distance Ali could
hear the sound of sirens as fire engines and emergency services began racing
to the scene of the blast.
all know soon enough, thought Ali; they would see the devastation and the
suffering inflicted on the unbeliever. Soon they will all wake from this
dream of theirs and understand there was no turning back from this; there
was only God’s way forward.
exited the main gates of Hassan II Square and headed towards the concrete
slums that lay between the mosque and the Medina. As he passed the crumbling
apartments, he could hear people talking excitedly that there had been a
bombing in the city.
As Ali walked
deeper into the slum area he felt satisfied as he overheard the news
spreading among the inhabitants. Ali was filled with pride; he wished he
could tell them it was he that was liberating them. It was Ali Mansour that
would rouse them from their nightmare. He had planned the explosions with
God’s hand guiding him.
These were the very people Ali believed would take up arms against the
unbeliever and this government of Satan’s stooges. These people had nothing
to lose and everything to gain by rising up and throwing off their shackles,
but he was confused by the anger he heard expressed.
Ali walked through the darkened streets he heard a voice from an open door
say that it was the work of accursed foreign Arabs, these criminals were
going to ruin the country.
more people from these dirty blockhouses shout out curses. “It was the
fucking foreigners,” they were shouting, “They will ruin us. The tourists
will stay at home and what will we live on? Curse these dogs.”
pulled the hood of his djellaba, the traditional Moroccan flowing
robe, over his head. It was dark now and luckily these impoverished streets
had no lights. He didn’t have to fear these people as a foreigner; he could
easily pass as one of them, except when he spoke, then his Yemeni accent
would give him away. But there was too much spill light coming from the
houses. He decided to walk along the harbor, Boulevard des Almohades, where
there would be fewer people.
followed the road along the harbor then headed towards the city center on
Boulevard Boigny, a busy main street. He walked past the main gate of the
Medina. Fire trucks and police cars raced by with lights flashing and sirens
blaring as he moved along the outer wall of the old market. In the distance
he could see a thick plume of black smoke rising over Casablanca.
the traffic intersection on Place des Nations Unies Ali could see policemen
with automatic weapons climbing out of a van and moving into positions in
front of the Hyatt Regency and the Excelsior Hotels. They were forming a
security cordon to protect the tourists. Ali looked round; there was no
evidence of the blast damage he expected to see. There was nothing amiss on
continued walking the perimeter of the square to get a better look. The fire
trucks and police cars were now racing past the intersection towards a
residential area. Under the arcade across from the square he asked some
people what was going on as they watched the action.
“I hear some
radical shits blew themselves up,” said someone.
mercy on us, where?” asked Ali.
blew themselves to bits near the Spanish consulate.”
Were many of the Spaniards hurt?”
were closed,” said the man.
joined the conversation.
“I heard they
blew themselves up in front of a Spanish restaurant on the same street,” he
“I know that
place,” said another man, “my cousin works there. The Spaniards don’t eat at
this time; they come later after 9, 10 o’clock. If anyone was hurt it was
curse the perpetrators of this act,” said a man listening.
The other men
joined in the stream of curses.
punish those who did this.”
dogs, may their families all be cursed,” said another.
starting to feel uncomfortable; this was not the reaction he expected. “Inshallah,”
if god wills it, he said and moved away from the crowd of onlookers.
What kind of
people were these Moroccans he wondered, didn’t they know who the real enemy
was? Even though the young King of Morocco claimed to have the blood of the
Prophet flowing through his veins, he was cut from the same cloth as his
father. He was a drinker, a womanizer and apostate, in short an enemy of
left the square and headed towards the Central Market along Rue Allah ben
Abdellah. It was near the market that Ali had his hotel room. He had planned
to pack his bags and get on a bus at dawn, but what he saw and heard had
changed his mind. He would leave immediately.
was to head north to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. This would bring him
closer to the foe, closer to Europe and the enemies of the Prophet. He had
already scouted targets a few weeks ago. In the north he would recruit more
martyrs for his next action; those with European passports he would order to
cross the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain and begin scouting targets.
During Ali’s training in Afghanistan he was taught to move with caution and
never directly from place to place. He decided he would make a few passes
around the Hotel Touring just to make sure it was not being watched.
walked past the Central Market; it was thirty meters from the entrance of
his hotel. He saw nothing out of the ordinary in the street. He was tempted
to go directly to his hotel room but decided to walk around the block one
more time. He was just about to round the corner when he spotted the van.
sensed something was not right, because there was a westerner in the van
with Moroccans. It was a new van and the windows were mirrored, but parked
nearby was an undercover car with plain-clothes police. They were waiting
for him to return.
walking unnoticed; their attention was focused on the hotel entrance. He
moved quickly to the main street. The traffic was moving normally. After a
few more blocks he reached the bus company Compagnie de Transport
Marocain or C.T.M. The next bus would leave in a few minutes, heading
south to Essaouira. Ali bought a ticket.
Ali sat in
the bus station for few anxious minutes until the loudspeaker called for
passengers to board the bus. He entered with a group of schoolgirls wearing
After a few more nervous moments the bus pulled up to the exit of the
terminal. It was immediately blocked by a police wagon with lights flashing.
A half dozen policemen had entered the terminal with automatic weapons. They
began checking the identity papers of the waiting passengers.
was racing; they were already closing in on him. Somebody must have talked.
One of the slum kids he recruited to carry out the bombing must have
informed on him. But this night God was with him and made him invisible—the
police let the bus go without making identity checks. They assumed he was
leading the group of schoolgirls.
the bus left Casablanca Ali reminded himself to stay vigilant, there may be
other checks along the route. Once in Essaouira he would try to make contact
at the local mosque.
Afghanistan they had given him a telephone number in case things went wrong.
The Imam had him memorize it at the training camp before setting out on this
mission. His handlers told him he could call this contact only in an extreme
emergency. He was told his contact would help him pick up the pieces and
start again. Inshallah, God willing, he thought.
preserve us from the people who would save us!” shouted Dr. Chandran when he
read the headlines of the Casablanca bombing. The tea boy said nothing; he
was used to outbursts like this. The doctor continued to read the newspaper
and shouted again, “God save us from the world betterers, the true
believers. All those fools with a vision of a perfect world. May God keep us
from their hands.”
Chandran tossed the newspaper on the floor of his house in disgust. What
fools, what incompetents, what complete bloody amateurs, he thought. How
much of this notorious type of publicity could his fellow Muslims take? How
much negative press coverage was enough for them to see the error of such
these were stupid, uneducated men drunk on the misinterpreted readings of
the holy Koran and further corrupted by power-hungry Mullahs and Imams. Most
were illiterate nothings of human beings who were desperate for a way out of
their miserable lives. They believed they found salvation in a noble death,
a death that would allow them to escape their earthly misery and enter
paradise, to bring them closer to God.
fools,” spat Dr. Chandran.
Mullahs and Imams promised them paradise for their high-minded violence, an
eternity in the celestial kingdom with subservient young girls to wait on
them hand and foot. These so-called holy men spun visions to these village
bumpkins and social misfits that would make any procurer of women blush, a
paradise where beautiful full-breasted maidens fulfilled their every wish.
these lies because for desperate men dreams are like bread for the hungry.
But the only breast these criminals will ever feel was the bitch of a mother
when she suckled them. Dr. Chandran cursed again.
this rabble did get near the gates of paradise like the Mullahs and Imams
promised, God would shit on them, these criminals who used his name to kill
fellow Muslims. He would send them packing to hell and boil them in pig fat
and sautée them in whiskey for eternity. That would be a just end for these
miserable dogs, who called themselves holy warriors, jihadis. These
so-called good Muslims who killed innocents and told the world they were
fighting in the name of the Prophet and Allah.
paper estimated twenty-seven people had died and another fifteen were in
hospital, all Moroccans. The dead included the twelve suicide bombers. The
members of their support team were arrested on the spot. The police shot one
bomber still in his explosive vest, too stupid to connect the battery and
set off the charges.
newspaper reported that there were another nine arrested in the El Medina
slums of Casablanca. The police were questioning them and more arrests of
fellow conspirators and their leaders were expected to follow.
Moroccan police would no doubt get information from the arrested
conspirators. They were infamous for their torture techniques; methods
brought to Morocco by the French and Spanish. The Moroccans improved on
these, using them on the government’s political opponents and on the
Polisario rebels during the twenty years of war in the southern Sahara.
Chandran heard from reliable sources that after the invasion of Afghanistan
the United States and its allies used Morocco along with Egypt as a rest
stop for some of the most senior Taliban captured during the war. Away from
the prying eyes of the International press and bleeding-heart humanitarian
groups, the local security forces could ply their interrogation skills. This
allowed the U.S. Army and the State Department to wash their hands of any
hint of torture and claim to the world that they were complying with the
Geneva Convention on the conduct of war.
take long for the Moroccan authorities to extract all the information the
allies needed. Dr. Chandran was sure the Americans used the information to
help target Taliban strongholds and even came close to killing Osama bin
Laden and Mullah Omar.
Americans did not trust the information and wanted corroboration. When they
finally got it, it was too late. By then the Taliban leaders had escaped to
Waziristan, the Pashtun tribal area on the border with Pakistan.
occurred to Dr. Chandran that the American Intelligence officials were not
as efficient as they made themselves out to be. There were other missed
opportunities, but the information had to be digested and that took time.
And in the time that took to reach any conclusions those that were nimble
enough managed to escape, to stay one step ahead of the ungainly American
vision came to mind of a slow dinosaur, like the one at the entrance of the
Museum of Natural History in London. While Dr. Chandran was a medical
student he visited the museum many times and admired the beast. The museum
guide explained that this gigantic creature some thirty meters long had a
brain the size of ping-pong ball. The input from such a small and distant
brain took a long time to manifest itself in turning left and right in
search of food. It was no wonder that such creatures died out while the
smaller nimble ones took over the earth.
Chandran stepped out of his room. A crisp morning light was coming over the
Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The air was still cool and he could see the mist
rising from the nearby waterfall, Cascades D’Ouzoud. In the valley below in
people of the village were stirring and going about their work.
Chandran glanced at the line of women and children forming next to his
clinic. He then ordered a pot of mint tea from the boy and motioned for the
first patients to enter.
Painted across the building was a Star and Crescent followed by Arabic
script. Under it in English, as Dr. Chandran had insisted, were the words:
Muslim Brothers Well Baby Clinic.
After all, Dr. Chandran reasoned, he was a graduate of Bradford University
Medical School, United Kingdom. Why not let the world know that Muslims were
also doing charity work, not only making jihad and issuing death
Dr. Chandran put on his white smock and looped the stethoscope around his
neck. He then proceeded to examine his first patient. It was a local boy of
about eleven years old. Dr. Chandran had the boy strip off his dirty
djellaba. On his belly just above his left hip was an ugly red scar a few
Chandran pressed the scar with his fingers; there was no indication of pain.
It was healing fine. He told the boy’s mother she would not have to come
back again for a check-up unless there were complications.
was glad this operation had gone to plan. There had been other patients who
had not been so lucky and caught bacterial infections. There was even one
case where a child had died of post-operative complications, but luckily he
was an orphan from a distant village.
Here, far away from civilization and a sterile environment, there could
still be complications even though Dr. Chandran took all the hygienic
precautions he possibly could. He was happy that most of his patients were
Berbers, robust people used to life’s hardships.
In most cases
they were grateful for the service he gave. Some of the young mothers had
even given themselves to the doctor. And he took his pleasure with them
gladly; he had no problem with this. After all he was living at the end of
the world, far away from liberal women of Bradford or London.
next patient admitted to the examination room was another mother and child.
It was their first visit and he drew blood from the little girl to test for
blood type, even though the she was clearly suffering from the mumps.
blood from the child the doctor had to use the same disposable needles on
different babies. Even though needle sharing would be severely criticized by
his U.K. colleagues, being grounds for dismissal or being barred from the
profession, he had no choice; his medical supplies had run out. The only
things he still had in abundance were his blood-typing kits.
Chandran gave the mother a dozen aspirins, which he poured into a plastic
bag. In exchange she gave him a rolled-up newspaper. Once she had left the
doctor unfolded the paper and found a small bundle of kif, Moroccan
hashish. He could use it; he had smoked all he had last night.
next patient was another mother and a twelve-year-old boy. He recognized the
lad from an earlier visit and he looked hungry. During the last visit he had
tested the boy’s blood type and it registered AB+. This was an unusual blood
group for the area. The blood types here were what you’d expect by Berber
intermarriage, lots of O+ and A+, but this boy was an exception.
doctor had the boy and mother wait in the next room and asked the tea boy to
fix them some food.
Chandran went back into the small room that served as his office. He picked
up his mobile phone and flicked it on. He began to type out a text message:
dropped the phone in his pocket and went back out to his examination room.
The mother and the boy watched the doctor expectantly as they ate.
spoke to the mother in English-accented Arabic and asked how the boy was
feeling, but she did not understand him. He asked the tea boy to translate
in Berber for him. The mother said that the boy was feeling okay and that he
did not have fevers any more.
Just then Dr. Chandran’s mobile phone vibrated. He saw that there was a
message and called up the menu. It read: Client ready, $ upon receipt.
Chandran hit the reply button and punched in: Standby. He flipped his phone
shut and dropped it in his pocket. He spoke to the tea boy and asked him to
translate and explain to the mother that they would need to operate today,
if she wanted to keep her child healthy.
mother looked confused and said there was nothing wrong with her son. Dr.
Chandran replied there may be nothing wrong at present, but in a few months
there could be sickness and even death. The mother said nothing and looked
at her son, who was playing with one of the cheap plastic toys the doctor
kept on hand to occupy the younger children.
Chandran spoke again. If it were money she was worried about, the operation
would not cost a thing. The clinic and the Muslim Brothers Charity would pay
for the bill. Dr. Chandran asked if he should speak to her husband.
woman shook her head no. The tea boy explained she did not have one, she was
divorced. Dr. Chandran nodded sympathetically and said the charity had some
special funds to help women in her situation. He could give her one hundred
Euros, which would go some way to help care for her son after the operation.
Chandran went back into his office and brought out five twenty Euro bills
and laid them on the table in front of the woman.
woman glanced at the money, then shook her head and called the boy to her
side. She walked out of the clinic with her son. Dr. Chandran looked at the
tea boy and muttered.
back. She is just holding out for more money. If she comes back I will offer
her one hundred fifty Euros for her son’s recovery.”
Chandran flipped open his mobile phone and typed the following message: AB+
on standby until further notice. His agents in the U.K. would notify the
parties that a donor kidney had been located, but it might be some time
before it became available.
was enough work for the morning, Dr. Chandran told the tea boy. The boy went
outside and informed the line of mothers and children that the doctor would
take patients after lunch. Some walked back down to the village in the
valley. Some had traveled many kilometers for the visit, and resignedly went
to the shade and lay down with their sick children.
tea boy brought out a steaming tajine, a clay cooking pot filled with
lamb and vegetables, and a bottle of rosé wine, and set the meal on the
table in front of the doctor. He poured a glass of wine.
tasted the wine. The Moroccans made good wine and why not? They were taught
by the French and Spanish.
As he ate he became lost in thought. He would find the correct blood type
soon enough and make his contribution to the cause. He would help in the
best way he could, through science and medicine, like those great men in the
Arabic golden age when Muslim scientists built on the knowledge of the
Greeks and Romans while the Europeans were still in the Dark Ages.
Chandran’s contribution would not be with a bomb or gun but with medicine.
It would be medicine that would prolong the life of the ‘Businessman’ and
keep him functioning. All the guns and bombs are only as powerful as the man
that leads them.
‘Businessman’ was clever, a multinational leader who knew commerce. He knew
how to successfully mix business with Islamic values and allow them to
co-exist peacefully. This was how the ‘Businessman’ accomplished great
‘Businessman’ didn’t want to turn back the clock to the Stone Age like some
of these holy fools drunk on their beliefs. These idiots longed for a
Wahabi Caliphate, a return to an age where there is no cinema, no music
and where women only exist under meters of blue cloth. They were zealots,
radicals and of no use in the modern age.
‘Businessman’ was a man of the modern world. He had been places, seen life
as others lived it. His vision was not the world as a gigantic desert, dry,
arid, parched and without fun. He only wanted justice for Muslims who had
been humiliated for years before the eyes of the world.
Show me the verses in the Koran, he thought, where it says that women should
be treated like prized goats or cattle and look like blue splotches
blighting the landscape. Show me the verses in the Koran where it says there
should be no music, no cinema, no images, and no art. Show me the verses
where the Prophet said there could be no fun.
Chandran poured himself another glass of wine. The tea boy entered and
whispered that the young mother with the boy had come back. She would take
one hundred ninety Euros for the boy’s recovery.
smiled and thought: good things come to those who wait. He flipped on his
mobile and typed the following message: AB+ ready 2 nite. He told the tea
boy to boil some water for the surgical instruments.