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Algerian parliamentarian espouses measles conspiracy theory

March 13, 2018 at 3:56 am

Naima Laghlimi Salhi (Image from Youtube)

Naima Laghlimi Salhi, the Algerian parliamentarian and head of Al-Bayan party, returned to stir up a new controversy after she claimed that what she called “a criminal network of the Zionist Berber sect (the term ‘Berbers’ refers to the indigenous people of Algeria and the Maghreb region) was behind the phenomenon of migration by boats of death, and now lies behind the measles disease (Buhamroun as it is called in some parts of Algeria).

The Algerian Ministry of Health registered about 1263 cases of this virus in the two cities. In statements to the Algeria Press Service (APS), the director of Prevention Department in the Algerian Ministry of Health, Jamal Fourary, attributed the causes of the disease outbreak in the southern governorates to the reluctance of the population to vaccinate their children during the vaccination campaigns which were initiated by the Ministry in March 2017, and January 2018.

The parliamentarian wrote on her own account on Facebook: “Urgent and dangerous … Who lies behind the Buhamroun epidemic? … We are all now constantly vigilant in fear and grief for the Algerian people, after the criminal network of the Zionist Berber community displaced the people of Algeria through illegal migration in “boats of death”. Today, it has prepared an epidemic in its laboratories to kill and displace the Saharan people in order to empty it from its people and seize their underground wealth and agricultural lands.”

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The ministry said it had launched an “urgent vaccination campaign”, which involved 43,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 in Ouargla province and 39,000 in El-Oued province. The blog of the parliamentarian, who describes herself as “the leading political figure”, provoked a bulk of feedback on her Facebook page, and commentators accused her of fooling people with such words. They said that she was only looking for exasperation, drawing attention and making catchy headlines, as she did in the past and her statements aroused a huge outcry when she said “I will kill my daughter she utters a single word in Amazigh language,” as well as her statement: “I am a descendant of the Prophet … My grandmother is Amazigh and my grandfather adored attractive women.”

The parliamentarian pointed out that the number of people affected with measles has increased from 295 to 600 in one week. Because of the high number of casualties and fear of spread and disease in other cities, the ministry has raised the level of preparedness in various hospitals to address the possibility of the spread of the infection. Commentators have accused the parliamentarian of spreading discord and racial discrimination by linking Berbers to Zionism.