‘Sex debate’ heats up in Morocco as activists demand sexual freedom rights


Moroccan Justice Minister Mustafa al-Ramid lashed out at a request submitted by a group of activists asking for the legalizing of sexual relations outside marriage and called the initiative a promotion of debauchery.

“Revoking the law that criminalizes sex outside marriage is a propagation of corruption that will deal a fatal blow to Moroccan values,” Ramid said Monday in parliament, answering a question about his response to the sexual freedom initiative.

A group of Moroccan activists called a few days ago for crossing out Article 490 of the Penal Code which punishes every man and woman caught having sex outside marriage even if the couple is consenting adults.

According to those activists, adults should have the freedom to engage in sexual relations as long as there is mutual consent.

The harsh criticism directed at this demand was not confined to the parliament, but extended to clerics who saw the call for sexual freedom as a grave threat to the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Moroccans.

The Union for Quranic Houses, affiliated to the Salafi school of thought, issued a statement slamming the sexual freedom initiative which, it said, “came at a time when reformers and wise men are trying to rebuild the country and fight corruption.”

Al Arabiya obtained a statement by Moroccan Salafi Front in which it accused the activists behind the initiative of violating an indisputable law in the Quran.

“They are saying that by prohibiting fornication, the Holy Quran has caused people to suffer from sexual frustration.”

The initiative, the statement added, also flagrantly contradicts the Moroccan constitution.

“According to the constitution, personal freedoms cannot violate national values and the Islamic identity of Morocco.”

The reactions of Islamists, in turn, infuriated liberals. Secular activist Abdul Hamid Amin accused Islamists of ultra-conservatism and narrow-mindedness.

“They just attack anyone who has a different opinion; they want to impose their inflexible ideologies on society,” he said.

Amin refuted allegations that activists calling for the legalization of sexual freedom aim at Westernizing society.

“On the contrary, Islamists are the ones who have always been allied with the West.”

He also disagreed with Islamists’ argument that sexual freedom is bound to increase sexually-transmitted diseases.

“This is a lie that only reveals how hypocritical society is.”