This is not the first post about the Belgian volunteers to spark controversy. Earlier this week a teacher was arrested for commenting that the tourists should be beheaded.
Rabat – A parliamentary member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) Ali El Asri has lashed out at a group of Belgian tourists who are spending the summer paving a road in a village in the province of Taroudant, southeastern Morocco.
In a post on his Facebook account, El Asri seemed to be worried about the tourists’ health. In his post he criticized their dress code, shorts, and t-shirts, arguing that the Belgian girls were not appropriately attired for building work. The politician argued that sunburn and the cement touching their skin could have negative effects.
“When were Europeans doing building work wearing swimwear?!” said El Asri on Tuesday.
“Everybody knows how Europeans insist on preserving security measures in construction-related work sites, as a tourist is not allowed to access a worksite without wearing a suit, helmet, and gloves,” added El Asri.
He went on to express his doubts about the aim of the initiative, whether it was truly humanitarian or had other purposes.
The parliamentarian explained that in the village near Taroudant, the residents would not be used to the choices of summer clothing as it is a conservative area.
After sparking controversy and public outrage El Asri deleted his post in less than 24 hours.
He then posted a note addressed to the Minister of Interior Affairs, Abdelouafi Laftit. In his note, Al Asri requested to see the documentation and funding behind the organization of the project.
Acknowledging that the construction work is of great benefit to the neediest people who live in isolated areas, El Asri asked the minister to be vigilant as volunteer initiatives can be used for unknown purposes.
He then proposed the preparation of an annual report on all workshops to be presented for parliamentary examination.
On Tuesday, the National Judicial Police, in coordination with the Directorate General of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) arrested a primary school teacher from Ksar El Kebir for inciting terrorism in a comment on El Asri’s post. The teacher wrote an extremist comment on the post in a group of more than 500,000 teachers.
“You are right! Their heads should be cut off so that no one else dares to challenge the teachings of our religion,” said the 26-year-old teacher.
DGST said in a statement that the suspect has been taken into custody under the supervision of the prosecutor’s office specializing in terrorism cases. An investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances and motives of the case.