(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Holocaust Memorial Stirs Controversy in Morocco
Moroccan authorities have demolished a holocaust memorial that has been under construction since September 2018 in Ait Faska, near Marrakesh.
The Interior Ministry denied rumors that local authorities had granted construction permits for the site which was planned to include a museum and several facilities, as well as the monument.
The ministry explained that the reports of a holocaust memorial being built in the area are “baseless.”
“Provincial authorities have not granted any authorization for the establishment of such a project,” added the ministry in a statement.
PixelHelper, a German non-profit organization, had been preparing to launch its first project in North Africa in the village of Ait Faska. But Oliver Bienkowski, founder of PixelHelper, posted videos on his Facebook page showing authorities intervening to demolish his project, Moroccan newspapers and websites reported.
Bienkowski announced that he has been working on the Ait Faska project since September 2018, adding that it aimed to honor people who died during the holocaust.
He expressed hope in remarks to i24 website that the memorial will strengthen the bonds of friendship between Muslim countries and Jews.
Moroccan rights activists condemned the German organization’s plan, calling it an unprecedented and dangerous move.
Human rights activist Abdel Hamid Amin said in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat that all Moroccans who condemn normalization of relations with Israel reject such a project.
“The holocaust happened in Germany and other countries,” he said.
“Morocco hasn’t witnessed any violent conflict between Muslims and Jews,” he told the newspaper, saying the project had a hidden political agenda to push Morocco towards normalization of ties with Israel.