Rabat – After becoming an asylum seeker in Belgium, Moroccan rapper, Mouad Belghouat, better known as El Haqed (The Enraged), released a video clip on Friday entitled “Raka Taka,” showing himself burning his Moroccan passport.
El Haqed no longer lives in Morocco. The decision to burn his passport has outraged social media users, who categorically disagree with him, saying, “There is a difference between the country and the regime.”
After posting the video clip on his Facebook page, El Haqed, who is well known for his anti-establishment songs, was heavily criticized by his fans.
The comment of one fan reads, “You found what you want and you forgot the principles that you had been defending. It’s normal to burn your Moroccan papers. You no longer have anything to do in Morocco, you [were singing] on the pretext of your fans and you now forget them.”
El Haqed rose to fame after his participation in the February 20 Movement in 2011, amid the emergence of the so-called Arab Spring in late 2010.
His gesture has also shocked his friends. Bilal Aljouhari, a friend of El Haqed took to his Facebook page Friday evening to react to the video.
“Mouad El Haqed has been my friend and still is even he unfriended me [from his Facebook],” Aljouhari said. “I wish him the best of luck – but I disagree with him about his burning for the passport. If he burnt it in Morocco – I will totally disagree with him. I wish you the best Mouad.”
El Haqed had been detained in prison three times. First on charges of defaming and cursing police in one of his previous songs. The second arrest involved assaulting someone proclaiming himself to be a “monarchist.” On the third occasion, he was accused of public drunkenness, assaulting security agents and selling tickets on the black market.
In spite of his checkered past, El Haqed has received several awards, including a prize for integrity by NGO Transparency Morocco. He is also the winner of the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Arts.