Quotes: 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
 Dec 20 2014 - Etihad has no further A380 orders, Boeing 787 delayedMENAFN
(MENAFN) Etihad Airways is not interested in ordering any more Airbus A380s, while the launch of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner into service has been delayed, Gulf News reported.The Dreamliner ...

 Dec 20 2014 - Saudi rail expansion contributes to domestic tourismMENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) President has lauded the efforts of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) in developing the tourism sector and preserving national heritage, ...

 Dec 20 2014 - Tunisia, Germany sign USD55.21m loan agreementMENAFN
(MENAFN) Tunisia and Germany have signed a loan agreement worth USD55.21 million for the modernization of more than 300 educational institutions in the different regions of the country, QNA ...

 Dec 20 2014 - Qatar- Magnificent Mirza wins stage 2The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Overnight leader Azzedine Lagab yesterday retained his position at the Tour of Zubarah where defending champion Yusif Mirza of the UAE produced a late burst to win stage ...

 Dec 20 2014 - Aishwarya to make comeback with JazbaaKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Jazbaa is a contemporary thriller set in modern-day Mumbai. Los Angeles - Former Miss World and popular Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will make her comeback with ...

 Dec 20 2014 - UAE- Srikanth looks to change strategy for next two tiesKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Indian star Kidambi Srikanth set to play Sugiarto and Jorgensen in Dubai event.Kidambi Srikanth faltered in the first set but made a strong comeback against Kento Momoto on ...

 Dec 20 2014 - UAE- Aussie rookie makes an early impactKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Cannon makes statement for Mena Golf Tour with a steady performance at the Dubai Open. Chris Cannon was playing for the first time in an asian tour event Dubai — An ...

 Dec 20 2014 - UAE- Chen and Saina cruiseKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) South Koreas Bae shocks Chinese No.Saina Nehwal of India in action against Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea at the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals on Thursday. ...

 Dec 20 2014 - UAE- Teary-eyed for 132 dreams lostKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Pak ambassador condemns Taleban for using Islams cover to justify massacre Abu Dhabi: The Pakistani community in Abu Dhabi gathered at the embassy on Thursday morning to ...

 Dec 20 2014 - IT teacher steals students iPad sells it onlineKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The teachers theft was allegedly busted after she posted an advertisement on a popular website to sell the iPad. Dubai: An Information Technology (IT) teacher is standing ...

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help