Social media users have been outraged by a video showing a group of adolescents throwing eggs and flour at a young Moroccan girl wearing a hijab in what they’ve denounced as an Islamophobic attack. But the story behind the video is not what it may seem!
The video, which was filmed in Casablanca, Morocco, was posted on October 27. The footage shows a young woman wearing a hijab walking down the street when, suddenly, she comes under attack by a group of young men. The boys throw flour, eggs and coloured water at her, grab her scarf, push her against a wall and even slap her.
The video came into the limelight after a well-known Moroccan vlogger, Yassine Jarram, shared it on his Facebook page, calling the young men “animals”. Later, the Facebook page, "Documenting oppression against Muslims" also shared the video, condemning “the attack against a Muslim woman wearing the hijab".
Some websites went even further, alleging that the video showed an Islamophobic attack. One even called the boys’ actions “demonic”
Throwing eggs and flour: a Moroccan holiday tradition
While throwing eggs and flour may seem violent and mean to a most viewers, these are common practices amongst young Moroccans on the Day of Ashura, a religious holiday. On this holy day, Moroccan kids throw all kinds of things including firecrackers, eggs and sometimes even soap. The fun and games occasionally turn to chaos, which is one of the reasons that many Moroccans aren’t fans of the holiday, according to an article published on Afrik.com in 2011
The behavior of the young men in this video seems excessive and maybe even violent and humiliating. That said, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that the young girl is veiled, as some sites were suggesting.
In an attempt to set the matter straight, the kids in the video posted a second video on Tuesday, explaining their version of events. The second video was deleted on Thursday, but you can watch a saved version below.
The video is translated and transcribed below:
Boys: Hello, brothers. You have wrongly accused us of assaulting this woman. This woman here lives in Dard [Editor’s note: a neighbourhood in Casablanca]. We were just having fun. You, you have insulted us, insulted our parents and accused us! My sister-- tell them if we are like your brothers or not!Girl: Yes, they are like my brothers. They were just having fun.Boys: We’re hoping that all of this will end. She has sisters and brothers and we also have brothers and sisters. It’s shameful to say all that, it’s shameful to insult us and our parents! We hope that the people who are insulting us and making money off of us will see this video!
The girl whom they had supposedly mistreated appeared in this second video and seemed to support their version of events. It’s impossible to know if her participation in the second video was forced. It’s also impossible to know if she did indeed feel in danger when the boys ganged up on her or if it was all just child’s play, as they suggest. However, it’s clear that the boys’ actions were not motivated by Islamophobia, as alleged by some websites and Internet users.