“Criminal behaviour is not a typically Moroccan trait, and Islam should not be given the blame for everything that goes wrong in the world. Even though I think Wilders wants everyone to think differently. Most Moroccans and Muslims are good people, just like the majority of people from the Netherlands and non-Muslims. Thanks to Wilders’s words a woman in a hijab was spat on on the street. She was personally held responsible for terrorism, purely through the fact that she wore a headscarf. I worry about incidents like these. Together with other concerned Amsterdammers and voluntary organisations I try to assuage fear and misunderstanding for different beliefs by arranging discussions. Two of my three daughters wear the hijab. I think it’s fine that one of them chooses not to. Everyone has their own opinion, and everyone’s opinion should be respected.
I came to the Netherlands as a migrant worked in 1971 and worked in Amsterdam-Noord as a book binder. My first impression of the city was that so many lovely people lived there. Because they didn’t have a mosque, I wanted to start one. I was helped by the locals. Even though we had different beliefs - they were catholic and I Muslim - they supported me in my project. So thanks to their input the first mosque in Amsterdam was founded. The Al Kabir mosque first opened its doors in the Van Ostadestraat. It later moved to the Tolstraat before finally settling on the Weesperzijde. I’m still the mosque’s chairman and my first impression of the Amsterdammers - the ones that offered their help - has motivated me throughout my daily life.
I came to Amsterdam alone. My wife is also Moroccan, but also lives in Holland. We have three daughters together and one son, and six grandchildren. Family is extremely important to me. We meet up every weekend. In Morocco it’s traditional to come together on a Friday, but thanks to work and school we mainly see each other during the weekend. If it’s possible, on the Sunday, to avoid the high parking fees. We then eat together and talk about everything we are getting up to.”
72.078 people in Amsterdam have the Moroccan nationality