The former Moroccan police chief was fired for creating “tension” after she denounced discrimination and violence within the police unit.
Rabat – The Netherlands’ National Police Directorate has fired Fatima Aboulouafa, a police chief known for objecting to the abuse of power, racism, and bullying within the police department. Aboulouafa, who worked in the southern city of Leiden, lost her job on Tuesday, September 24.
According to police chiefs within the Hague unit, “Aboulouafa’s attitude caused strong internal tension.”
The police chief of Moroccan origin had been working for 25 years in the police department. For the last year, she had had 130 police officers under her command, according to the Dutch news outlet, NRC.
In an interview with the Jinek TV program, Aboulouafa said: “I felt unsafe during my career due to discrimination…. I was also discriminated against because of my origin and because I’m a woman.”
Supporters created a Facebook page titled “We support Fatima Aboulouafa” in solidarity with her cause.
Created on September 25, the page already has more than 2,000 likes.
“It’s ridiculous that the whistleblower gets thrown out and the real culprits remain, and then at the police of all instances,” a sympathizer wrote today. “There is something deeply rotten in the State of the Netherlands.”
On September 24, Aboulouafa received a call from a member of the national police force leadership. The member told her that her presence “caused unrest among unit leaders, sector leaders, and team leaders.”
In a phone conversation with Aboulouafa about her stance, police chief Erik Akerboom ”emphasized the importance of diversity within the police force.”
He added in a personal blog that it is “painful and unacceptable (…) that the directorate turns a blind eye to indiscrete behavior.”
Aboulouafa’s firing seems to stem from an Instagram post. On June 6, the former police chief posted on Instagram a message complaining about discrimination in the police department.
In response to the post, her colleague Marian Zaal said her message tarnished the image of the police department. “The image that you paint about our great company at insta seems particularly negative to me. A pity!”
Aboulouafa’s stance received support from Monique Mos, head of operations at the National Police unit of the Hague. She wrote on the police intranet that discrimination and bullying by the police are “a persistent and difficult problem to eradicate.”
She called upon executives to take “signals seriously.”
Discrimination against Moroccan people is widespread in the Netherlands. In 2014, Dutch politician Geert Wilders asked a room full of supporters of his political party whether they want to see “more or fewer” Moroccans in the country. When the crowd shouted “Less!” Wilders replied, “We’re taking care of it.”
In December 2016, Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination and the panel of three judges said Wilders’ comments were “humiliating and insulting to the Moroccan population.”
The court, however, decided not to impose a fine or to sentence him, arguing that a criminal conviction was in itself a sufficient punishment.