Newly sworn Labour Party MP Khadiya Arib says she intends to keep her seat on a council that advises the Moroccan King.
The commission is charged with guarding and strengthening the Moroccan identity of Moroccans living abroad. It’s also supposed to recruit expatriate Moroccans occupying high positions for a future body to be called the ‘High Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad’. Ms Arib, who holds both a Dutch and a Moroccan passport, doesn’t see why this should be a problem.
A parliamentary motion calling for the dismissal of two deputy ministers from the Dutch cabinet because of their dual nationality was recently submitted by the right-wing leader of the Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, shortly after they were sworn in. However, no mention was made of Labour Party MP Khadiya Arib, who was sworn in on the same day and holds dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality. This was probably because she is not a cabinet minister, but this could change in future because recently there have been calls to exclude politicians with double nationality from all political functions.
Ms Arib also belongs to a council which strives to strengthen the bond between Moroccan expatriates and their mother country. Morocco founded the body because it fears that the ties of its overseas citizens with their homeland are weakening. The council is mostly made up of prominent Moroccans living in Europe.
Her own principles
Ms Arib does not believe there is a contradiction between her serving in the Dutch Parliament and her work for the Moroccan advisory council. She told Radio Netherlands that she sees no conflict of loyalties: “I am not loyal to the Netherlands, I am not loyal to Morocco but I am loyal to my own principles – respect for human rights and women’s rights.”
She says she “feels extremely honoured” to sit in the council. She says the body was founded by an independent human rights organisation. The CCDH (Conseil Consultant de Droits de l’Homme, or Advisory Council on Human Rights) was, however, appointed by King Mohammed VI. The advice is sent to the king.
Mohammed VI has been attempting to increase his hold on his expatriate subjects by a variety of means. Last weekend, hundreds of prominent Dutch citizens of Moroccan origin met in Amsterdam at the king’s invitation. The theme of the meeting was the strengthening of ties between the Moroccan homeland and expatriates in the Netherlands. The gathering was attended by politicians, members of the business communities and religious leaders.
One of the long-term goals of the advisory council is to recruit Moroccan expatriates for a future body to be called the ‘High Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad’. It is not yet clear what the responsibilities of this council will entail, but there are rumours that some of its members will be appointed to the Moroccan Senate.
Ms Arib says that she has no idea whether she will become a member of the High Council. “That is not an issue, since nothing is yet known about it.” She intends to remain in the Advisory Council at least until June, and says she finds it strange that such a fuss is being made about her membership. “If I served in an advisory council in Nepal, you probably wouldn’t even consider it an issue.”
For more information: radionetherlands.nl