By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 7/13/2005 | 4:55 pm
London--- British Moroccan Aziz Samih, an Arabic Language tutor, who has recently been elected a member of the Arabic speaking Information and Advice Centre (ASIAC) in London, told Morocco Times that a third generation of Moroccans can make a difference in and for the community.
Samih, who picked up 47 out of 99 votes in ASIAC June 25 elections, said that “out of sense of responsibility, I decided to present my candidacy to ASIAC elections.”
“I am very concerned about the distorted image of being a Moroccan in London. We are seen by others as under-achievers, unprofessional, illiterate, or a community which is involved in all social illnesses,” he added.
After being elected, Samih said he will prioritize the needs of the community with special emphasis on education.
“We have to seek possibilities to engage local schools by identifying Moroccan children who are at risk of under-achievement and those who are lagging behind. We have to focus on the third generation,” he said.
He added that “unlike the first generation Moroccans who were treated like 'dogsbodies', we now have professionals who can change things. The onus is not only on the community that is constantly accused of apathy, but also on the so called 'community leaders' to accept that the community has changed. More opportunities should be given to the younger generation who can make a difference in and for the community,” he emphasized.
Fatima Nagouri, the only female candidate to ASIAC elections was also chosen, among four others, as a member of ASIAC management committee. It wasn't surprising that she got the lowest votes as most members of the management committee are men.
The centre is located in Golborne Road in North Kensington, home to more than 8,000 Moroccans.
The ASIAC, created in November 26, 1985, (and came into force in 1986/7) was formerly known as the Moroccan Information and Advice Center (MIAC). It was managed by British Moroccans.
The aim of the centre was to provide free and confidential advice service to the Moroccan community mainly resident in Kensington and Chelsea area.
However, our sources told Morocco Times that MIAC became a kind of family matter, led by semi literates.
Nearly 20 years of mismanagement, consecutive lack of achievements and complaints led the Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which funds the centre, to reconsider its support to the centre and decided to change the constitution to make the centre available for all Arabic speaking people and remove the life members and bring on new energetic and impartial ones.
Today, only 6 Moroccans out of 13 Arabic-Speaking board members are allowed to be candidates for membership of ASIAC management committee.
Out of the more than 8,000 Moroccans living in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, only 234 Moroccans are registered members of ASIAC, and only 104 voted in the June 25 elections.
The elections were conducted by Said Hafidi, director of Kensington and Chelsea social council in the presence of councillor David Campion, ASIAC chairman.
Aziz Samih told Morocco Times that if the Moroccan community ensured the local authority that it reached its maturity and once the council starts to see signs of accountability and that its funds are spent wisely, then they could give the community more recognition.