Morocco’s minister of education and Mohammed V University of Rabat have hailed Karim Benabdeslam as the first Moroccan student with autism to obtain a doctorate in the kingdom.
Benabdeslam, who is 31, was recently awarded a Ph.D. by the university’s Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences for research in comparative religion. He received a grade of Very Honorable with a recommendation to publish his thesis, “The Mission of Jesus, Peace Be Upon Him, Through the Gospels and the Qur’an.”
The president of the university, Mohamed Rhachi, described Benabdeslam on Twitter as “a paradigm of persistence and patience” and added: “It is a moment that makes the eyes shed tears and spreads a feeling of joy in the heart.”
Benabdeslam’s father said his son was 3 years old when his family discovered that he had autism.
“We confronted great difficulties in the beginning, due to society’s lack of acceptance of this group of children,” Mohamed Benabdeslam said in an interview with Al-Fanar Media.
Little was known about autism in Morocco at the time, he said, and many schools refused to register his child. The exception was an institution whose director, a Belgian citizen, nurtured Karim until the third grade of primary school.