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10 Aug, 2019 11:55

‘Their heads should be cut off’: Belgian volunteers who wore shorts flee Morocco

‘Their heads should be cut off’: Belgian volunteers who wore shorts flee Morocco

Three young Belgian girls are returning home from volunteer work in Morocco after a local school teacher allegedly threatened to behead them, for wearing shorts. The teacher has been arrested and the charity’s work curtailed.

The girls were part of a group of nearly 40 volunteers who were helping to build a road in the remote village of Adar. The charity that organized the trip, Bouworde, posted a video of their activities on social media, prompting the 26-year-old teacher to unleash decapitation threats because their attire didn’t “respect the Muslim faith”.


“[…] Their heads should be cut off so that no one else dares to challenge the teachings of our religion,” the offended teacher wrote. The violent threats led Morocco’s National Judicial Police to arrest him for inciting terrorism.

The volunteers’ clothing also attracted the attention of Moroccan lawmaker Ali El Asri, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD), who said: “Since when do Europeans start working in clothing that is meant for sunbathing?”

In the midst of the furor, Bouworde revealed on Friday that three of the girls in the group would be returning to Belgium early. The charity also announced that it is canceling its upcoming volunteering projects in Morocco because of the “publicity” of the case in the press and on social media.

The organization had been working in the Taroudant region of Morocco for more than 15 years, helping to build infrastructure projects like water canals, schools and a women’s center.

The debacle comes less than a month after three Moroccan men were sentenced to death for murdering two Scandinavian women in a popular hiking area in the Moroccan Atlas mountains.

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