Born 1881 or 1882; died Feb. 7, 1963, in Cairo. Leader of the rebellious Rif tribes in Morocco.
From 1910 to 1915, Abd al-Karim was a teacher, then a judge, in Melilla. In 1915 he was imprisoned by the Spanish colonial rulers for his appeals to fight for liberation; he was freed in 1916. In 1919 he fled to the mountains. From 1921 to 1926, al-Karim led the Rifs’ fight for freedom, first against the Spaniards and, after 1925, against the French colonialists as well. From 1921 to 1926, al-Karim was president (emir) of the Rif republic. In 1926 he was forced to surrender to the French and was deported to Réunion. In May 1947 he was permitted to sail to France upon the condition that he refrain from political activity. He jumped ship in Port Said and settled in Cairo, where he headed the Committee for the Liberation of the Arabian Maghrib from 1948 to 1956.