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Moroccan-Dutch team chief put on leave for denouncing «discrimination» within police units

Moroccan-Dutch police team chief Fatima Aboulouafa was put on leave, last week, for addressing «racism, abuse of power and bullying» within the police organization in the Netherlands. Her words, shared on social media in June, caused «tension» within police units in the country.

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Moroccan-Dutch team chief Fatima Aboulouafa. / Ph. DR

It took Fatima Aboulouafa 23 years to address alleged «racism, abuse of power and bullying» within the police organization in the Netherlands. The Dutch-Moroccan team chief took to social media to bring public attention to «discrimination» within police corps in the country.

It all started for the police officer in June, when she posted a statement on her Instagram account, referring to the way in which some police officers are treated in the country. Her post, seen as highly «critical», was not well received by police leaders in Leiden, where she heads a unit of 130 police officers.

Months after her «controversial» post, Aboulouafa received a call from a corps leader of the Netherlands’ National Police «informing her that her presence cause unrest among unit leaders, sector leaders and team leaders», NL Times wrote last Thursday.

The Moroccan-Dutch, who was promoted last year, was, basically, put on leave because of her words. Moreover, the «whistleblower» was told that she was «too confrontational with other police chiefs and leaders», the same newspaper revealed.  

«Gender and racial discrimination» denounced by a Moroccan whistleblower

Alboulouafa’s forced leave did not go unnoticed in the country, where her story has been making headlines since last week. Invited to Dutch late night talk-show «Jinek», the Dutch-Moroccan addressed her situation and that of many whistleblowers within the police Dutch organization.

Aboulouafa explained that her Instagram message was a way of «supporting her colleagues who feel unsafe» while on duty. She stressed that those, like her, who want to speak up against discrimination are often «silenced». Drawing attention to her situation in particular, the team chief revealed that she was «often faced with gender and racial discrimination», referring to her Moroccan origins.

Speaking to the same source, Aboulouafa said that she wants to «bring change» to the police organization. To her, this change can only be possible with «acknowledging certain things and listening to people».

However, the answer that she was looking for was different from the one she received. Last week, Liesbeth Huyzer from the corps' leadership told NRC that the police officer’s words led to an «unworkable situation». Huyzer stressed that putting Aboulouafa on leave was a way of trying to «achieve a sustainable solution», without giving further details on her situation.

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