“The boss told me that we will no longer accept Moroccans,” said the Moroccan receptionist of a Marrakech hostel called “Kaktus” to a Moroccan visitor, inspiring racism backlash.
Rabat – When a Moroccan man, allegedly residing abroad, went to book a room at the hostel in Marrakech he found out that as a Moroccan he was not allowed in.
The visitor secretly recorded a video of his conversation with the hostel receptionist, not showing either of their faces. Their conversation went as follows:
“You will not accept any Moroccans here?” asked the visitor.
“Yes, because, we Moroccans are nasty, we do not know how to behave…Europeans, on the other hand, are remarkable” the receptionist stated.
The receptionist informed him that Moroccan guests staying at the hostel in the past had caused many incidents, adding that he was only obeying his boss’s orders.
When the visitor asked him if his boss was a foreigner, he said “yes.”
“He is a foreigner yet he is making his own law in [Morocco] that is not his country,” the visitor argued.
Francophone media outlet AJ+ received the video, recorded on November 30.
The footage stirred controversy on Facebook and Twitter. The act was condemned as racist by many Moroccans.
Others pointed out that “racist door policy,” can be found in many big cities around the world and recounted their experiences, giving examples of clubs and hotels in Tunisia or Cote d’Ivoire’s Abidjan who do not welcome the countries’ nationals.
The hostel manager provided Morocco World News with Kaktus Hostel’s side of the story. He claimed that the man who recorded the video was actually a journalist who took advantage of the receptionist’s inexperience to spark controversy
The hostel manager explained that the hostel, rather than being “racist,” is merely abiding by the law that prohibits an unmarried man and woman to live under the same roof.
He justified the policy by explaining that since the hostel has mixed dorms, it cannot violate the law and host Moroccans because “ there are a lot of laws in Morocco that apply for Moroccans but not for tourists, and which we do not necessarily agree with,” he stated, giving article 490 of the penal code as an example.
Article 490 of the Penal Code punishes all out-of-marriage sexual relationships with imprisonment from one to three months and a fine of MAD 2000 to 20,000.
The manager said that it is the same with Moroccan university dorms, there are separate female dormitories and male dormitories.
“If you don’t provide any marriage certificate then we cannot accept you. It’s not because we are racist but because we do not want to do something against the law,” he told MWN.
Kaktus Hostel has a high score on Tripadvisor and welcomes tourists from all around the world.
The hostel description reads: “We wanted to create an economical and socially responsible hostel. Kaktus Hostel is more than just a simple accommodation for travelers; it is a place of experimentation into sustainable development, as well as a place for artists and culture to thrive.”