17 November 2011
Three unnamed Dutch Moroccans have filed a complaint against the Netherlands on the grounds that the state has not protected them against incitements to hatred instigated by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders. The three have taken their case to the UN commission for human rights. Last year Wilders was taken to court for discrimination and inciting hatred but was acquitted after the public prosecution department called for charges to be dropped. A ruling from the UN human rights commission ruling, which can take years, is not legally binding.
News Agencies – May 6, 2011
Police in Morocco arrested three people for a cafe bombing in the tourist city of Marrakesh on April 28 that killed 16 people, and said the chief suspect showed “loyalty” to al-Qaeda. The three suspects were all Moroccans, the official news agency quoted the Interior Ministry as saying. Most of the bomb victims were foreign holidaymakers, including eight French people and 1 Canadian. The ministry said the chief suspect was “well-versed in jihadi ideology and shows loyalty to al-Qaeda.”
It was the first such attack in Morocco since 2003, when suicide bombings in the commercial capital, Casablanca, killed more than 45 people.
March 18 2011
An article in the most recent edition of social science magazine Mens & Maatschappij (Man and Society) claims that the greater the ethnic diversity in Amsterdam neighborhoods, the lower the sense of well being of its residents. The article claims that “a higher number of non-Western immigrants leads to a reduced sense of security and well-being among residents. A larger number of Western immigrants leads to an increased trust in the quality of life and future of the neighborhood”. The article is written by three researchers basing their conclusions on existing data bases.
The provided summary of the abstract reads, “This research investigates whether Robert Putnam’s (2007) well-known findings on the negative influence of ethnic diversity on social cohesion hold in Amsterdam. In the present study neighbourhood trust is the measure of social cohesion. Using data from the ‘Living in Amsterdam’ monitor ( Wonen in Amsterdam, 2007 ), multilevel analysis shows that neighbourhood trust is lower in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods. Furthermore, the percentage of first generation non-Western immigrants and second generation non-Western immigrants is also negatively related to neighbourhood trust. The percentage of second generation non-Western immigrants affects neighbourhood trust more strongly than the presence of first generation non-Western immigrants. In addition, the effect on neighbourhood trust differs for various non-Western ethnic groups. Neighbourhood trust is higher in neighbourhoods with a large percentage of immigrants from the Dutch Antilles and trust is lower in neighbourhoods with a higher presence of Moroccans.”
March 14 2011
Geert Wilders’ trial on inciting hatred and discrimination of Muslims, Moroccans and non-western immigrants resumed on March 14, after halting in October due to irregularities. The trial opens with a new panel of three judges. On March 16 Wilders’ lawyer made an opening statement suggesting that Wilders should not be required to stand trial. Prosecution took the stand on March 16.
December 9th, 2010
Representatives of the Islamic communities of Álava, Vizcaya y Guipúzcoa – mostly Moroccans and Algerians, but also of Senegalese origin – gathered in Vitoria, summoned by Spanish converts to Islam, to establish The Basque Muslim Council, and advisory organization created with the aim of becoming the main interlocutor for the Muslim population in the Basque region. Vitoria alone is home to more than 5.000 people that profess the Islamic faith. To date, Muslims organize around their mosques and cultural associations, so that institutional relations are limited to the municipalities, or provincial administration. The Muslim Council intends to be a body of communication and coordination between the different Muslim communities settled in the País Vasco, and of representation respect to the Basque government.
November 24 2010
Rob Spiegelenberg, who headed the Dutch Labour party’s provincial election campaign in the region Gelderland, has stepped down following comments about Moroccans and Turks. Spiegelenberg is reported to have commented that if Dutch borders are opened, Turks and Moroccans would “breed like crazy” in the country.
October 4 2010
The trial for controversial politician Geert Wilders began in Amsterdam on Monday. Wilders is accused of inciting hatred against Muslims, Moroccans and non-Western immigrants through a number of actions, including statements likening the Quran to Mein Kampf.
The opening days of the trial included controversy. Wilders’ lawyer challenged the legitimacy of the court after the judge questions the defendant’s decision to remain silent during the trial, saying “people say that you’re good at putting forward your opinion, but then avoiding debate about it. And it looks like you’re doing that again here”. A special panel called in to determine whether these comments showed sufficient bias to justify the appointment of new judges ruled that the trial will continue unchanged. The hearing continued Wednesday with a screening of Wilders’ anti-Islam film Fitna, released in 2008.
The trial comes as Wilders takes a crucial position in the newly formed national government. The minority government of Liberal VVD and Christian Democrats depends on the support of Wilders’ Freedom Party to attain a one seat majority. Ruling on the trial is expected on November 4, 2010.
September 19, 2010
The Cooperation Association of Moroccans in the Netherlands (SMN) has said that the national Justice minister’s action program against discrimination should pay more attention to incidents against Dutch Moroccans and Muslims. The program does not deal specifically with discrimination and violence against Dutch Moroccans and Muslims.
The SMN is further critical of a police letter attached to the report outlining that discrimination against gays and Jews rose sharply in 2009 but omitting the information that the biggest category of incidents of discrimination are based on ethnicity and origin- including those against Dutch Moroccans.
“This bias in the presentation of the research ultimately influences the images formed in society” explains SMN’s Farid Azarkan. The SMN says that they are against all forms of discrimination, and Azarkan calls the fact that Jews and gays are increasingly targets of discrimination a “sad and alarming development”.
August 17, 2010
The association “Alternativa Culturale dei Marocchini in Italia” (Cultural Alternative of Italian Moroccans) is providing for Iftar to Moroccan prisoners in the Lazio region during the period of Ramadan. This project is coordinated by the foundation Hassan II and the Ministry of Moroccan Community Abroad. The Guarantor of the prisoners’ rights in the region Lazio has welcomed the initiative and the directors of many prisons in the region are checking its feasibility. The plan, says the Guarantor, has undeniable social value as it facilitates a connection between the detainees and the outside world. This is of particular importance considering the difficulty that overcrowded Italian prisons are facing. The initiative, in fact, encourages the detainees toward social rehabilitation.
Trouw reports that Moroccans who extorted money from gays in the area of Bergen op Zoom targeted men who had initiated contact with minors in internet chat sites, threatening them with police action. When confronted with printouts of the chats targeting 16 year olds, the men handed over cash, watches and phones in values up to 750 euro. The men were wary of reporting the extortion because of the illegality of the initial online contact with minors.