Government and opposition MPs are unhappy with plans by Morocco to strengthen ties with its citizens living abroad, reports ANP news agency on Friday.
Khadija Arib, an MP with the government coalition Labour party, calls the move undesirable and old-fashioned.
‘This [Moroccan] minister doesn’t understand the situation of Moroccans abroad. The new generation has a different relationship with Morocco than its parents. They go there on visits, on holiday or for business but they have chosen the Netherlands or somewhere else to live,’ Arib told ANP.
The Rabat government said earlier this week that the Moroccan community abroad must be seen as ‘the 17th province of our land’ and wants to double the number of emigrant children that speak Arabic to 150,000 by 2012, reports ANP.
Around three million Moroccans live abroad, a tenth of its population, the agency says.
‘This runs totally counter to the interests of the Netherlands which wants better integration,’ said opposition Liberal (VVD) MP Henk Kamp.
He wants the Dutch cabinet to make it clear to Morocco and Turkey – which came out with a similar statement at the weekend – that they should leave emigrants alone, reports ANP.
The Moroccan government is ‘forcing’ the Arabic culture and language on Moroccans living in the Netherlands and as such is limiting their freedom to focus on Dutch society, Madeleine van Toorenburg of the ruling Christian Democrats is quoted by ANP as saying.
Some 330,000 Moroccan nationals live in the Netherlands.
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