By Adnane Bennis
By Adnane Bennis
Morocco World News
New York, April 12, 2012
The Moroccan immigrant, Hassan Semlali, who was found dead on the streets of Washington D.C., was buried today at 2 pm in Manassas, Virginia in a Muslim cemetery. Contrary to what the Moroccan community in the great Washington D.C. area was hoping for, there was no financial help given by the Moroccan Embassy.
Disgruntled by the Embassy’s luck of resources, the Moroccan community turned to Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to collect the necessary funds for the burial. Social activist, Naoual El Aomari Rsimi, along with other volunteers, organized a social media campaign and reached out to other activists and volunteers to accelerate the procedures for a dignified funeral. Her efforts yielded effective results through the positive and quick responsiveness shown by the Moroccan community in Washington D.C and Virginia.
“I heard Hassan’s story on Tuesday evening from my friend Mrs. Filali. We, therefore, decided to launch a campaign to find someone who knows him and be able to call his family in Morocco. Quickly enough, this story went viral on Facebook and was in most of my friend’s statuses, which helped me with the search process,” explained Mrs. El Aomari.
“Hassan’s tragedy broke our hearts and made us all feel sad. After attending his funeral (Janazah), and helping with collecting donations, I left Dar Hijrah happy knowing that he is, indeed, resting in peace,” she added.
On his part, Mohamed El Hajjam, a Moroccan- American living in Virginia and one of the people who lead the volunteer efforts told MWN: “this is the good thing about Facebook, it yields great results when used the right way. Thank God now we can communicate and help each other.” “I am proud to see our friends reaching out to other members of the community. I feel optimistic that this is only the beginning of a better and efficient collaboration among the members of our community,” he added.
To inquire about the reasons why there was no financial support offered to cover Mr. Semlali’s burial costs, MWN contacted the Consular service of the Moroccan embassy in Washington D.C. An official from the embassy who asked to talk on the condition of anonymity expressed his deep sorrows and condolences for the family of the late Mr. Semlali, and explained that “the Moroccan Embassy does not have the budgetary resources to offer financial help in such situations, but its job is to provide all necessary means to facilitate procedures to ensure a dignified burial for the deceased.”
He went on to say that “in this kind of situation, the Embassy contacts the Ministry of Moroccans Living Abroad to allocate the necessary funds, as well as the logistics for the proper burial of any Moroccan living aboard, in collaboration with the family of the concerned. However, there are certain conditions that the Ministry put in order to take full responsibility, which are based on the need and the financial situation of the concerned.”
On the case of Mr. Semlali, the same official told MWN that “the embassy contacted his family in Morocco, which preferred that he be buried in United States.”
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