Belgium: Moroccans upset at immigrant 'starter kit'
The Moroccan community is upset at Flemish Minister Geert Bourgeois. "In his new 'starter kit' for migrants he portrays Moroccans as stupid beasts," says actor Noureddine Farihi. "The brochure and accompanying video are patronizing and full of prejudices." Bourgeois says it's unjustified criticism. "The majority of them happen to be very ignorant of our norms and values."
"It is forbidden to hurt someone mentally or physically, including your partner or children." That is just one of the many remarkable - and for Moroccans, offensive - sentences from the new 'Starterskit Migrating to Flanders'.
Flemish Minister of Integration Geert Bourgeois (N-VA), flew to Casablanca specially this week in order to hand out the first copies. At the local press conference there was a lot of criticism from local journalists. But the Moroccan community in Flanders are also critical. "I read the brochure and watched the video," says Noureddine Farihi. "Geert Bourgeois apparently thinks that Moroccans live on another planet. One that is far, far from the sun. It's sad."
2,500 Moroccans migrate to Flanders and Brussels every year as part of marriage-migration or family reunification. From the Belgian state they get a valid visa. Flanders is responsible for their integration. Once on Flemish soil, they must go to an integration course, which focuses on teaching Dutch. But Bourgeois wants the integration process to start earlier and together with the King Baudouin Foundation he developed a starter-kit for migration who are about to move to Flanders.
The minister thinks the criticism is unwarranted. "I invite Mr. Farihi and other Moroccans in Flanders to calmly clarify everything. But they are naturally not the target audience for whom this kit was developed. We know from a study last year that a majority of family-migrants are unemployed and very ignorant about the norms and values which are acceptable in Flanders. This think the wording is not patronizing, but simple and comprehensible. Presently attuned to the target audience."