Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni

Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni

Mulai Ahmed el Raisuni (known as Raisuli for most English speakers) (d. reportedly at the end of April 1925) was the Sharif (descendant of Mohammed) of the Riffian Berber tribe in Morocco at the turn of the 19th/20th Century, and considered by many to be the rightful heir to the throne of Morocco. While regarded by foreigners and the Moroccan government as a brigand, some Moroccans considered him a heroic figure, fighting a repressive, corrupt government, while some considered him a thief. He was considered by many as "The last of the Barbary Pirates" (though his actions were limited to the land).

The Perdicaris Incident

In 1904, Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni was propelled onto the international stage during what was to be known as the "Perdicaris Incident." This is when he kidnapped the Greek-American expatriate Ion Perdicaris and his stepson Cromwell Varley and held them for ransom (Tribute/Zacca/Temple Tax). While the most famous of his many exploits, the kidnapping of Perdicaris and Varley was part of a larger campaign against the Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco, whom Raisuli saw as corrupt and beholden to European powers. Several years prior to the incident, he had been arrested by the Pasha of Tangier, Abd-el-Rahman Abd-el-Saduk (his distant relative), and chained to a wall for four years until he was released by sympathetic guards. Raisuli had previously kidnapped several British, French, and Spanish emissaries, holding some for ransoming, and killing others. His most famous victim prior to Ion Perdicaris was Sir Harry McClean, a British army officer serving as a military aide to the Sultan's army. After a near-confrontation between the government of Morocco and troops of the United States of America, Raisuli received his ransom money, but continued to antagonize the Moroccan government. In September 1922, he submitted to the Spanish authorities and subsequently ws one of Spanish leaders in the Rif War of the 1920's until he was captured by Abd el Krim. He was reportedly dead by the end of April 1925. He is still regarded as a folk hero by many in Morocco, although his reputation is mixed at best.

Portrayal in popular culture

He was portrayed by the Scottish actor Sean Connery in the heavily fictionalized 1975 film The Wind and the Lion, which was filmed in Spain by the famed American director John Milius.


External links

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