Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

In Morocco, unmarried couples brave cohabitation taboo  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 13/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) When Moroccan divorcee Soumaya moved in with her new French boyfriend she was hoping to forget the unhappiness of her marriage. Instead, she lost her children.It's a crime in Muslim Morocco to live together out of wedlock, and unmarried couples not only face police harassment but also the prying eyes of disapproving neighbours.Soumaya, a mother of two, says her jealous ex-husband ratted on her to the police when she started living with her boyfriend in Marrakesh, accusing her of prostitution and finding 12 witnesses to support his story."I didn't want to make the same mistake twice," she said of her decision not to re-marry.But the boyfriend eventually left her and she lost custody of the kids.Cohabitation may be relatively common in Morocco's swish urban districts, but conservative religious attitudes can be stifling, especially for young couples living in downscale, traditional neighbourhoods.Ibtissam Lachgar, an activist and co-founder of a campaign group to promote individual liberties, says she lives happily with her boyfriend in her apartment in the centre of the capital, Rabat."I don't feel my sexual freedom is restricted, even though we're not married. The neighbours don't bother me, probably because I own my apartment," she says.The problem begins, she says, when they travel to the country's hinterland and try to stay in a hotel."It's impossible; the law forbids it. They ask to see a marriage certificate. So we're forced to seek alternative arrangements, like staying with friends."Last October, social sensibilities were put to the test when activists staged a symbolic "kiss-in" outside parliament.They did that to show their solidarity with three teenagers arrested for posting pictures on Facebook of two of them smooching -- a case that sparked an online uproar.Around a dozen couples took part in the event, which was swiftly disrupted by a small group of counter-protesters who accused the couples of "atheism," shoving them and throwing chairs at them.The court acquitted the teenagers, who had been accused of public indecency, but the offending couple, aged 14 and 15, were reprimanded by the judge.Lachgar's boyfriend Soufiane Fares, who studies law in Rabat's twin city of Sale, said "consensual sex between adults is a personal decision which others have no right to interfere with."But living together outside of marriage is very difficult in a conservative society."Hostile looks and prejudicesGhassan Hakam, in his 30s, has his own experience of this, living in Casablanca with his French girlfriend for three years.Originally from Fez, the theatre director says that even in Morocco's largest city, they are constantly aware of their neighbours' displeasure.

"I try to be discreet, avoiding kissing or touching my girlfriend in the area where we live. But I feel we are being watched, even if they don't say anything," he notes.His girlfriend Fanny is sure that her life would be a lot more difficult if she were Moroccan."I would definitely have suffered even more from the hostile looks and prejudices I encounter," she says.Hakam, who lived in Paris for six years, doesn't believe he needs to get married to prove his love, and questions the reason for criminalising cohabitation."Are two people who love each other harming society or committing a crime by living together under one roof," he asks.Article 490 of Morocco's penal code states that sex outside marriage is punishable by up to one year in jail. In December 2012, 22 feminist organisations called for it to be repealed.Justice Minister Mustafa Ramid, who belongs to Morocco's ruling Islamist party, declared his opposition to that. "These sexual relationships undermine the foundations of our society," he insisted.Karim, a young entrepreneur who recently moved into a crowded neighbourhood of Rabat, no longer lives with his girlfriend."She used to come round to my house, but she couldn't stand the looks of the neighbours, especially the men sitting in the cafe opposite.""Sometimes we were forced to return late at night to avoid the intrusive looks, which made us feel we'd committed a crime."A study conducted by the health ministry in 2007 indicated that 36 percent of young Moroccan men had had sex outside marriage, while the proportion of unmarried young women who had lost their virginity was much lower, at 15 percent.

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 26 2014 - Qatari Nakilat net profit hits USD190.21m in 9MMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar Gas Transport Company Limited (Nakilat) announced posting a net profit of USD190.21 million during the January-September period, increasing 25 percent when compared to USD151.78 ...

 Oct 26 2014 - GCC to face budget troubles on declining oil pricesMENAFN
(MENAFN) International Monetary Fund warned the oil-dependent Gulf States by saying that they might face budget shortfalls if the recent decline in oil prices continues, Arab News reported.The ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Qatar's real estate transaction value hits USD10.21b in 9MMENAFN
(MENAFN) The value of Qatar's real estate transaction increased by 15.2 percent to reach USD10.21 billion during the January-September period of this year, compared to USD8.86 billion recorded during ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Mobily Ventures to invest in hellofoodMENAFN
(MENAFN) Mobily Ventures plans to invest in hellofood Middle East, a major food ordering marketplace in the region, Arab News reported.The investment from the Riyadh-based telecom operator Mobily, ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Qatari GWC net profit up 36.8 percent in Q3MENAFN
(MENAFN) Gulf Warehousing Company (GWC) announced that it registered an increase in its net profit, reaching USD28.1 million during the July-September period, which accounts for a 36.8 percent ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Egypt's Tourism expected to recover by April 2015MENAFN
(MENAFN) Egypt's Ministry of Tourism said it is hoping that the country's tourism sector will revive by next April and resume its position as one of the country's most vital industries, Arab News ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Afghan president visits Saudi ArabiaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) KABUL: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Saturday made his first overseas trip since taking office fulfilling an election promise to undertake a religious ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Tens of thousands protest Renzi's job measures in RomeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) ROME: Tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets of Rome Saturday for a demo organized by Italy's largest trade union to protest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's plans to ...

 Oct 26 2014 - France announces big coalition air raid against IS in IraqArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) PARIS: The international coalition currently battling the IS group in Iraq dropped around 70 bombs on an arsenal and militant training center in a large-scale overnight raid the ...

 Oct 26 2014 - UN climate chief hails EU dealArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BONN: The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement on greenhouse gases Friday as providing 'valuable momentum' for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year.The goals set ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help