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‘Sexual diversity is just as Islamic and Moroccan as heterosexual love’
by Editorial Staff, in Lifestyle & Fashion , posted 28 October 2014

This is what six passengers on the Moroccan boat during the Canal Parade wrote. They thus react to the negative response that the boat aroused in the Moroccan community in The Netherlands, and the lack of support for the Moroccan boat from Moroccan organizations.

In the article, Muhammad, Souad, Nassiri, Ayoub, Jamila and Natja wrote that they lead "a normal, everyday life." They 'work, do voluntary work, have a partner" and that they "are committed to our right to love as Moroccan LGBTs". They sailed on the Moroccan boat with '120 other LGBTs, sympathizers and Moroccan personalities like Naima Azough, Khadija Arib, and Samira Bouchibti'. “For the first time, we were a united bloc people cannot ignore. The euphoria was almost tangible."

The passengers of the Moroccan boat 'mostly got loving response,' but a day after the Canal Parade, the reaction of Mouna Jabrane followed. This Amsterdam welfare worker and former councillor for De Groenen is of the opinion that on the Moroccan Boat, the Moroccan flag and traditional costumes should not have been worn, and objects to the use of the prophet Muhammad's words. Furthermore, she called Ahmed Marcouch and Khadija Arib, who are openly supporting Moroccan-Dutch LGBTs, 'garbage' in a tweet. Marcouch has pressed charges against Jabrane, and Arib is considering to do the same.

The six passengers are not surprised by these responses. They are used to 'people like Jabrane intimidating the few Moroccans that dare to openly support Moroccan LGBTs'. "They make homosexuality dirty, keep people small with shame, and push those who are in favour of LGBT rights into the bad books". The six have a clear message for these people: "Morocco and the Islam also belong to us. Therefore, ‘sexual diversity is just as Islamic and Moroccan as heterosexual love’.

What bothers them more is that 'in the year 2014 still, Moroccan interest groups approach the Moroccan LGBT struggle for emancipation from the rights and sensitivities of the oppressors. “Are you familiar with article 1 of the Dutch constitution? And you think that we as Moroccans are your rank and file? You will also have to look after our interests." For this reason, they are also critical of the 'half-hearted press release' by the Alliance of Moroccan-Dutch SMN (Samerwerkingsverband Marokkaanse Nederlanders).

The SMN discretely asked for 'respect' in dealing with the LGBT community, which is 'insufficient' according to the six representatives. They expect the SMN to "make out a case for Ahmed Marcouch, Khadija Arib and Moroccan LGBTs. "From interest groups with an ethnic profile, we expect full support, without reservations."

COC Netherlands supports the appeal by Moroccan LGBTs to the SMN and others. COC president Koen van Dijk: “I really missed the overt SMN support for the Moroccan-Dutch LGBTs who have taken the initiative for the Moroccan boat.” He understands that SMN has to take the conservative part of their backing into account, but does expect them to be solidly behind the vulnerable Moroccan-Dutch with a non-heterosexual orientation - especially if they get heavily criticised and are threatened. COC Netherlands and SMN have started a dialogue.

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