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.

 






  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 27 2014 - New dates for Plastivision ArabiaspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Po Centre Sharjah will continue to partner with the All India Plastics Manufacturers Association or Aipma the oldest and the largest apex body of the plastic industry in ...

 Jul 27 2014 - First physical delivery of plastics futures contract done by DCCCspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) E DCCC which acts as the clearing house for the DGCX is the central counterparty for each trade carried out on the exchange.The Dubai Commodities Clearing Corporation or DCCC ...

 Jul 27 2014 - Ajman Bank to distribute DMCC coinsspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) E UAE Gold Bullion Coins are available in four denominations weighing 1oz 1/2oz 1/4oz and 1/10oz.The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre or DMCC has announced that Ajman Bank is ...

 Jul 27 2014 - SIB launches Splendid Summer OfferspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Arjah Islamic Bank or SIB has launched its Splendid Summer Offer a new highly-competitive personal finance product with the lowest rates ever starting from only 2.The move is ...

 Jul 27 2014 - Six Emirati families get new AvanzaspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Med at making reliable and affordable mobility available to a larger segment of the society the initiative empowers members of the UAE community with the right transport ...

 Jul 27 2014 - Busy Eid for Abu Dhabi hotelsspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Cupancies set to be increased as competition has never been so tough Emirates Palace like other hotels in Abu Dhabi have revved up their offers for Eid. — Supplied ...

 Jul 27 2014 - Dubai retailers look to continue brisk businessspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Tailers are anticipating another year of enthusiastic buying and selling as all major malls in the emirate witness an increase footfall this summer.Fashion apparel home ...

 Jul 27 2014 - Bank of Baroda marks 107th foundation dayspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Ma Moorthy garlanded the portrait of Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad III and lit a lamp to mark the celebration of 107th foundation day.Bank of Baroda recently celebrated its 107th ...

 Jul 27 2014 - Gulf Intl Bank posts 50.2m first-half profitspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) T interest income at $76.Gulf International Bank reported a consolidated net income after tax of $50.2 million for the six months ended June 30 2014 compared to $60.6 million ...

 Jul 27 2014 - ABC Islamic Bank gains up 25 at 7.5mspanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Erating expenses increased to $3.ABC Islamic Bank on Saturday announced that its net profit for the first half of 2014 was $7.5 million 25 per cent higher than the profit of ...

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