Video of Islamic party minister with woman in Paris sparks outrage in Morocco

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Moroccan Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, also an official in the Islamic Justice and Development Party, Mohamed Yatim came under heavy criticism after a video of him walking with a woman in Paris circulated online.

According to the video shot by a Moroccan who resides in France, Yatim, who is married with kids, is seen holding the hand of a woman who does not wear a headscarf and is walking with her at night in one of Paris’ main streets.

The video sparked controversy in Morocco and forced Yatim to address it and clarify its circumstances. Yatim confirmed the woman is in fact his fiancée and that he’s in the process of divorcing his first wife, adding that his family is aware of this as it is no secret.

Yatim told the daily al3omk that he and his fiancée did not travel to Paris on the same day as he went there for a partisan activity while she traveled there via a low-cost flight for family purposes and to buy personal items. He added that he had met with her that night the video was taken to have dinner in a restaurant.

Yatim’s justification, however, did not end the wave of anger on social media networks as people demanded holding him accountable for taking her with him while being on an official task in Paris. They also condemned him for “betraying” his wife whom the divorce papers have not been finalized with.

An activist called Ayman voiced surprise that Yatim, who is well-known for being affiliated with Islamic parties, was alone with his fiancée.

“It’s not permissible to be alone with the fiancée, let alone travel, you clerics of religion. I swear you are (the most) dangerous on Islam and this country,” he said.

Somya Benkirane, the daughter of former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, also slammed Yatim, who is her father’s friend, for divorcing his wife, the mother of his children, and deciding to marry the young nurse who used to go to their house to massage his feet when he was feeling ill.

“This man betrayed the vow and turned against the woman who looked after his children and stayed patient while he was busy. She does not deserve what you did. She is a beautiful and virtuous woman who (stood with you) for years and rewarding her as such is in my opinion an unforgivable crime,” Somya Benkirane wrote on her Facebook page.