PJD Representative Defends MP’s Right to Comment on Belgian Volunteers

Deputy secretary-general of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) Soulaimane El Amrani

Rabat – Deputy secretary-general of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) Soulaimane El Amrani has commented on his colleague’s statement against a group of Belgian volunteers. The Belgian group was spending the summer paving a road in a village in the province of Taroudant, southeastern Morocco.

El Amrani said that his colleague Ali El Asri’s statement does not represent the party. 

He argued that the party is only responsible for its official statements and positions from authorized officials.

El Asri shared a post on his Facebook account, criticizing the tourists’ dress code, arguing that the Belgian girls were not appropriately dressed for building work.

Read Also: Moroccans Sign a Petition in Support of Belgian Volunteers

“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,” El Asri wrote.

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.

While Al Amrani said that El Asri’s views do not reflect those of the party, he said that the PJD respect “freedom of expression.”

“Freedom of expression in the Justice and Development Party is preserved and respected to the extent of reverence,” he said.

El Amrani added that  El Asri’s post does not carry any terrorist connotations. The girl’s attire quickly received criticism on social media.

On Tuesday, August 5,  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.

The teacher said that the girls should be beheaded for not respecting the dress code in the region.

The controversy urged the Belgian organization Bouworde to cancel its volunteering projects in Morocco, based on the advice of the Belgian Embassy in Rabat.

The organization has been working in Taroudant for more than 15 years..Bouworde sent groups of young volunteers to work on infrastructure projects in the area in collaboration with a local association.