Rabat - Moroccan authorities in the city of Agadir, one of Morocco’s major tourist destinations, took down the poster that was put up over the weekend at an Agadir beach urging tourists to respect Ramadan and abstain from wearing bikinis.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities in the city of Agadir, one of Morocco’s major tourist destinations, took down the poster that was put up over the weekend at an Agadir beach urging tourists to respect Ramadan and abstain from wearing bikinis.
The poster, which was put up by a group of surfers, read: “Respect Ramadan, no bikinis.”
According to informed sources from the Ministry of Tourism, the incident had nothing to do with a political movement or organized group. The action was made by two teenagers who took the photo in the beach and circulated it on social media.
“We cannot allow people on their own to begin to dictate their law. Nobody has the right to set themselves up as guarantors of virtue, and still less to tell tourists how they should dress on a beach,” Moroccan Minister of Tourism Lahcen Haddad was quoted by Moroccan news website Le360 as saying.
“The response of public authorities was adequate. And that’s the only way to mitigate the adverse effects that such an act could have on Moroccan tourism,” he added.
Moroccan authorities sent a reassuring message to the public opinion worldwide, stressing that there is no restrictions on the swimming outfits on any Moroccan beach.
The controversial poster sparked debate on social media. A story published by Morocco World News went viral within hours. It was shared by nearly 50,000 people on Facebook, and elicited nearly 600 comments from all over the world.
The overwhelming majority of commenters, both Moroccans and foreigners, expressed their outrage at the surfers and called on the authorities to crack down on them.
“Another stupidity after the provocation of Hassan mosque, they are not Muslims to follow our religion and they did come here seeking sunshine not your dark aged views, they are more valuable for Morocco than you,” Rabi Laadid, a Moroccan from Agadir wrote in a comment on the news story.
Others worried that the action carried out by this group of lone puritans might endanger the status of Morocco as moderate country and as one the favorite destinations for travelers.
“What makes Morocco great is that it is more westernized then other Muslim country. However, they are slowly starting to lose this. They need to be careful or they will lose tourism,” Amber Mallozi said.
While a number of commenters condemned the group’s interference in tourists’ privacy, others seized the opportunity to leave comments off topic and expressed their hatred for Islam.