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Homophobia in Morocco: Gay or Straight, It’s Personal

Source : | 18 April 2016 |  Society | 926 views

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Fez – Recently, a horrible video was posted on YouTube showing a naked same-sex male couple being assualted in a house in Beni Mellal. The attackers, who allegedly broke into the couple’s place, callously insulted and beat the couple while one of them bled profusely.

The attackers subsequently forced one of the victims to go out naked in public. The macabre scene caused multiple reactions while Moroccan authorities did not side with the victims, but surprisingly sentenced one of them to four months in jail and are waiting for the other’s prosecution.

Same-sex sexual relations are illegal in Morocco and Article 489 stipulates six months to three years in jail for anyone involved in such activity.

This legislation is unfair, as homosexuality itself, though rejected by some, remains an option and personal choice for people. Muslims, however, consider it sinful; many of them encouraging severe punishments to curtail homosexual activities.

Why should we charge homosexuals and put them in jail? Do they embezzle money, steal public funds, or advocate terrorism?

Why do we treat homosexuality as such an odious sin that calls for direct intervention from the public while so many other horrible acts take place daily without creating much of a reaction in our society?

I have witnessed thousand cases when individuals publicly insulted God in public and nobody dared to interfere. Is not that a gross sin that Islam completely rejects? Is it not true that insulting God is the worst sin in Islam?

What about the daily scenes that we see in Hookah cafes where female minors, boys and prostitutes meet, take drugs, and make deals, which involve paying for sexual intercourse. Have we ever thought about the street children who roam Morocco without shelter and are vulnerable to exploitation? Are we not going to hold someone accountable for not providing a shelter for them?

Why do we overlook serious crimes that directly harm our society yet harshly interfere with minor cases such as homosexuality?

Clamping down on homosexuals will not make Morocco economically stronger or release it from its overhead debt. We have to learn how we can live together, since modern Morocco is a place that connects many ethnic and religious groups. Let us live in peace and respect the differences of others.

This is not a call to promote homosexuality. It is rather an invitation to respect people’s privacy so long as they are not harming the freedom of others.

With this in mind, Article 489 of the penal code is a violation of human rights and only encourages violence toward innocent people simply for their different.

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

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