In Defense of the Minorities: the Case of Homosexuality

In order to respond to changes in the society, all actors of the country must be able to participate in the national debate provided that authorities protect all minorities taking part in these exchanges. Morocco is not there yet says Dr H.

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Engineer student, blogger and activist 68 comments

Monday, February 22nd, 2010


The homosexuality issue has been raging for quite a while, since a young Moroccan writer boldly claimed his sexual orientation, stirring debate about the Moroccan society, its habits and social behaviours that for a long time, were thought to be still or eternal. Not anymore.

Abdellah Taïa is no alien. The son of a “shawesh” (gatekeeper) at the National Library and of an illiterate housewife, he is a dreamy young Moroccan from a working class neibourhood in Salé that has a lot in common with all of us. He is the ‘common man’ we love to mention as a reference in our lobby conversations, in bars and cafés. He is a living example of the changing youth mentality in Morocco, much talked about, not only with his assumed homosexuality, but also by his views on Morocco’s future. He does put aside the conventional hypocrisy and put his speech into practice, joining acts and thoughts together.

The militant Abdellah Taïa is a living proof that a debate can be held on homosexuality. I, myself, have shifted from having, like many of my fellow citizens, quite homophobic views into actually starting to understand and defend homosexuals?

To offer help to the homosexual community in its struggle, straight people must be involved; people who have strong stands on defending individual liberties, who believe in the necessity of a debate, and are not afraid of backing either sides of the argument. We could establish civic rules that would guaranty respect to all sides and put an end to the unfair treatment and exclusion the gay population has been suffering from. For this is a category that has concerns like many others have: like the cab drivers when they protest against the new traffic code; like football fans when they unite to defend their football team. They are men and women fully entitled to their rights and who want to participate in the development of their country and in the defense of the rule of Law. Of course we are (in Morocco) nowhere near the level of the debate in the West where it is centered on gay marriage and adoption of children by gay couples. One day will come hopefully when we will reach the stage when like in those civilized societies, we also will be able to decide on our own where exactly we stand, based on the battle of ideas and not in response to the dictatorship of those who want to impose their own Morocco on us.

Yes, we are all homosexuals. In Morocco, needless to say how men warmly and intimately embrace and touch each other maybe more than any other country. That’s the way tourists perceive it anyway. Moreover, Marrakech is known to be the Moroccan capital of homosexuals. As the popular saying goes: “If you drop a Dirham in Marrakech, (don’t bend over), just push it by the foot till you get to the Souk” Now, let’s face the issue and accept different people (as long as they allow us to pick up the bloody Dirham in Marrakesh, that is).

“My liberty is bound by that of others’.” No more, no less. Same rights and same duties for everyone, freely and democratically established in complete respect of the minority. That’s what liberty stands for.

Today the debate has been launched. What’s more, it is gaining ground. The association Kif Kif for the defense of liberties, established in Madrid, was promoting its work in Morocco some months ago. Activists have met with politicians and members of the civil society. Who would have thought 5 years ago that this could happen? Who? While it is true that we may never win the sympathy of the “bearded” nor that of the old conservatives, nor that of many others, today’s youth grow up with this debate in mind, and they will hopefully not remain indifferent to the appeals for freedom and tolerance. We witnessed some dramatic events like in Ksser Lekbir and elsewhere, but let us rather see positively and contructively how these cases have opened up the discussion that was so far languishing in a state of cultural stagnation.

So things will have to change. Let us not be afraid of what we think and let us allow the change to happen without asking ourselves about the limits we shall impose on it. For this to happen, we must be convinced that we can apply the changes on the personal level. This will lead to a snowball effect that will eventually transform the whole society. Let us each question and give ourselves the power to think independently. Let us stop putting the blame for our failures on the Moroccan average citizen. She/he is the one who will open the way. Freedom is the essence of development. The fight for one’s liberty, is also the fight for another’s.

The first ten years of the reign of King Mohammed VI have seen a number of social issues advanced. From the women’s status to the issue of Amazigh rights, several debates are emerging on the public scene. But the debate in our country doesn’t take the conventional form of national debates in other developed nations. In order to respond to changes in the society, all actors of our country must be able to participate in these exchanges provided that authorities protect all minorities taking part in these debates. But we’re not there yet.

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Translated by Zouzou from Défense des minorités: le cas de la cause homosexuelle

Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010

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68 comments on “In Defense of the Minorities: the Case of Homosexuality”

  1. The problem is structural. Morocco is still at the mercy of religious leaders. Power is concentrated at the hands of amir al-mouminine.

    As long as the Quran and the hadith are used as arguments to shape the country, we’re staying put on these issues. All homosexuals I know have left the country long ago. Two died in the journey.


  2. The case of homosexuality being a crime or not, shouldn’t be on any shelf of relevance,
    Morocco is still tagged a 3rd world nation,
    we must organise our scale of preference
    and adamantly adhere to seeing them succeed.

    Part of our responsibilities as moroccans
    is to re-discover our leadership status that
    history so fondly attributes to us,
    leadership in morality & hospitality,
    leadership in integration e.t.c.

    To be leaders we must correct
    the deficiences in other cultures
    before assimilating them into our own,
    we owe ourselves and those we ask to
    tolerate to be responsible enough
    to own up to our cultural standard of morality
    in all regards & respect, and finally present as
    a standard case for other civilisations to assimilate.


  3. @ I-Bug : my culture tells me to sly and expose my enemies heads as a trophies outside my house…does it comply with the Moroccan cultural standard ?
    In a more serious tone, I still fail to find the relevant aspects of the ‘Moroccan identity’… as far as I am concerned, I can consider the Fez and Islam as alien to my cultural standard, and yet it is part of our ‘Cultural identity’…
    so, how’s to say what is Moroccan or not ? and who says homosexuality isn’t part of Moroccan history ? juste have a look at Max Gavin’s and Walter Harris’ accounts (to name only two) and you will find that our real ‘cultural standards’ are pretty low…


  4. Syassator,

    Our Moroccan cultural standards are morally toned for a society which has existed for little since 8000BC, the norms & ethics which have steered us
    to date successfully are sacred & should be treated as such, critiquing with only words from descendents of earlier invaders, only goes to show you my fellow country man when you embark on a journey different from the ones undertaken 8millennia ago you question your identity & subjugate it with external rthetoric thus loosing your self identity &proud history along with it.


  5. The author is biased and wants to give us a lesson about freedom. Know that the freedom of “zwamel” stops where begins the freedom of others. If you do your shit in your house, nobody will know what you do and remain in the private sphere. But if you want to show you, then you go over your rights to those of others. These people especially those you disparagingly call the “bearded” are a majority until proven otherwise, do not accept your bullshit and apply the law of the country.


  6. you don’t have the right to remove “zwamel” of my post. If you feel that it is pejorative, I also feel that the word “bearded” is too.


    • @maghribi:

      I thank you for refraining from any personal attacks or offensive language. The word you’re referring to is indeed derogatory in the Moroccan context. As long as your idea gets through, which I think it does, you should see no offence in this particular word being withheld. It has however been restored. Apologies for having removed it without explanation.

      -Hisham


    • Hi Maghribi,

      As the site’s other moderator, I apologize that we censored the word without explanation. We’re in the process of coming up with a comment policy (that may or may not make such comments deletable) but in the meantime, we will restore the word.

      -Jillian


    • Wow, it seems you are on fire on this homosexuality issue !

      Unless I’m very much mistaken, the whole set of problems Morocco encounters could be boiled down to a bunch of people that want to claim their homosexuality ? That’s frightening, very frightening.

      Your whole argument gambles upon the idea that ‘moralizing’ the society is the cure to all its problems. That’s very simplistic, it’s as simplistic as thinking democracy is about the majority rule or that the ‘bearded’ (let’s call them the political conservatives) are able to rule our country.

      To tell you the truth, I don’t thing a PJD or even 3adlist government could keep up in a hypothetical ‘moralizing’ posture and claiming democracy without starting a witch-hunt, even if individuals commit their *sins* inside their houses and well hidden from the inquisition. But that’s about partisan politics, not religion nor moral standards.

      Homosexuals might be wrong, but then again, I can claim that the conservatives are wrong too. Unfortunately, according to your definition of democracy (which is utterly incorrect, I would be more than happy to provide you with the academic definition to prove that) I cannot express this opinion because I would be in the minority.


      • One Man equal to one vote is the simplest definition of democracy. Tell me then how many votes you represent in Morocco. What you say about a band of thieves when organized in groups to seek protection of their minority! No sir, a thief is not socially acceptable. a “Zamel” is not socially acceptable.


  7. @ Maghribi : do I sound gay ? :-)
    Democracy is more just about 1 (wo)man = 1 vote. It’s about balance of powers and mutual checks, protection of minorities and free information.
    The latter is impossible to provide in Morocco.
    I am asking you the question : how many people do know that the Makhzen helped the ‘5wanjya’ (I don’t mean it to be insulting, I can assure you) to crush the leftist opposition ? do you know people like Yassine, Benkirane, Ramid -to mention just 3- etc… received huge sums of money and considerable support from the Makhzen for many years, what about that ?
    You may be right about the general conservatism Moroccans embody, but that’s superficial, and democracy cannot be summoned just because the 5wanjya got the majority, It’s biased and based on the most preposterous lies we are still dealing with.

    If I may be so bold, homosexuals’ issues are quite minor, but your own superficial comments show how misled the public opinion is about it, and about other issues as well. Moroccans were, not so long ago, more tolerant if not open-minded; Or at least, they were not so viciously reactionary.

    If you don’t believe me, I am sure you can find old editions of newspapers in the US, in France and, to some extent, in Morocco, that can support my case.

    And please, don’t ever mention democracy if you don’t know it’s exact meaning, especially in a Moroccan context, where your ‘majority’ is nothing but a puppet in the hands of the Makhzen.


    • you don’t understand me sir, governments do not concern me because they are not democratically elected, I speak of simple citizens. These citizens do not accept that this minority is recognized. and to confirm, you are taking 10 people representing at random in the street and you ask them: do you accept that “zwamel” will show in the street? if the majority accepts ok. otherwise you must respect their opinions.


  8. what the hell are some arabs talking about; put yourself in a gay’s shoes ( like me) and then you can judge them


    • I think that “It is never too late for making well” like says in France. You can always throw your gay’s shoes.


  9. “These citizens do not accept that this minority is recognized. and to confirm, you are taking 10 people representing at random in the street and you ask them: do you accept that “zwamel” will show in the street? if the majority accepts ok. otherwise you must respect their opinions.”

    If it was up to the “majority”, black people would still sit at the back of buses in southern US states, women would still be immolated in India, Jews would still be scape-goated in much of Europe, Algeria would be an Islamist state, Turkey would not be secular, the Srebrenica massacre wouldn’t have been acknowledged by the Serb parliament and the netherlands would have outlawed immigration from Muslim countries.

    What use is a state which does not even protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority? Claim taxes and wage wars?


  10. i am gay; it is not contagious. stop homophobia. this makes gays antisociable


  11. i do not care for people because almost all people do not know anything( it is mentioned in Quarn); i care for myself, Allah, people i love. this makes me happy.


  12. A Word to Heterosexuals

    What if you were a homosexual, what are you going to do? Accept your homosexuality, reject it, accept others insulting you, OR be indifferent?

    What if a person you do not know is gay, how would you react? Advise him, insult him, be indifferent, ask Allah to guide him to the right way?
    1. Would you answer BOTH questions?
    2. Would you compare the TWO answers?

    Putting yourself in someone’s shoes is the ONLY fair criteria for judging other people’s good and/or bad actions.
    Please, arabs and muslims help those gays, they are your brothers in islam. If you do not want to help them. just do not say bad thing about them.


    • I think that do not understand oneself well, the communication passes badly between us. I propose to you to join to me on the page in french or I can answer you in French or Arabic.


  13. why arabs are not united? why are there some good muslims? if we were brothers in islam, we should help each other


    • Tous les musulmans se réfèrent au commandements de l’islam qui considère que l’homosexualité est un péché, c’est pourquoi il est difficile d’avoir la reconnaissance des musulmans. Personnellement, l’homosexualité est une déviation du droit chemin que Dieu nous a montré, je ne peux pas le tolérer comme je ne peux tolérer le vol, le mensonge… mais je respecte dans eux l’être humain que Dieu à créer.
      Pour répondre à votre question, moi je me reconnais d’abord comme musulman. Les musulman s’entraident les uns les autres. Je pense que les homosexuels doivent accepter que l’homosexualité n’est pas quelque chose qu’on peut applaudir et donc il faut la traiter (c’est mon opinion).


  14. plz sir answer in fr

    look i think being a faithful gay is far better than being a promiscuous hetero, get my point


  15. would you translate what i wrote, and answer me in Arabic, sir.


  16. i am frank i can say that i am homo before anyone. i do not want those who do not know to be involved in other’s hoomosexuality because they do make the situation even worse( with all due respect)


  17. faithful to the man i love truly; i do not want to have many boyfriends. that is why i said: it is better to be a faithful gay than to be a promiscous heterosexual. in reality, one might be faithful to Allah, but i can not but love that person.


    • Si tu ne sens pas un plaisir à faire le sexe ne le fais pas et c’est tout a fait normal, le faire avec un homme c’est autre chose.. la religion t’incite à te marier mais ne t’oblige pas à le faire et pas mal d’homme ne sentent pas un besoin pour se marier . et tu peux être fidèle même si tu as plusieurs ami(e)s car tu n’as pas le mêmes sentiments que pour ton partenaire. Pour être fidèle à Allah, il faut commencer à aimer ses commandements d’abord.


  18. i respect your opinion established on Islamic rules, but here is what you should undergo before judging any homosexual:(1) putting yourself in his shoes, and (2) considering that any member of your family can be gay, then you can judge gays


    • J’ai bien dit que je respecte dans l’homosexuel l’être humain mais je n’approuve pas vos actes. tu me demandes de me mettre dans la peau d’un “homo” pour te juger mais ce n’ai pas possible. cependant je peux bien imaginer ce que je devrais faire si c’était le cas (qu’Allah me préserve). D’abord, il faut comprendre son problème pour après le reconnaitre et puis s’attaquer à le résoudre. et si on ne sait pas comment, il faut demander au connaisseurs : à ceux qui ont déjà vécu la même situation et aux spécialistes.


  19. I know that homosexuality is a sin, but can be excusable; it is not polytheism which can not be excusable. So, in an effort to give up homosexuality, someone and/or everyone sould be of USEFUL help, not that would-be help. i mean what i say.


    • je suis tout a fait d’accord, mais il faut d’abord commencer pas comprendre sa situation. Par exemple, on ne peut pas aider un fumeur à arrêter de fumer s’il n’est pas conscient de la dangerosité de la cigarette. Pire s’il veut que la société reconnait que la cigarette est bonne.


  20. muslims should be nice to others (all human race, not just to muslims). THIS issue is mind-boggling in such a way that it makes other problems emerge, such as: sychological problems, social problems, and many more.


    • Je confirme que le musulman n’as pas de problème à ce que tu vives ta vie comme tu veux mais n’accepte pas ton homosexualité. Pour exemple, je peux bien te croiser dans la rue, dans le travail manger ensemble mais le jour où je sais que tu es “homo”, je n’approuverai pas ton homosexualité. tu vois que le musulman n’as pas de problème avec ta personne mais plutôt avec ton homosexualité!


  21. Sir, i want to thank you for your very helpful pieces of advice, but i think i am so gay to the point at which i have the idea that i live with another gay instead of a woman, which is not normal. Do you know why i am so gay? because when i was a child i never told anyone of my problem for i am antisociable, aloof, phobiac, and sociopath. these atypical factors makes me too sensitive–one who should be treated very carefully. i am sorry for me and for those whom i love. i have never had sex in my hole life, either with a girl or a gay, and i have never kissed a girl because i do not feel like kissing a girl but a boy.


  22. i do not choose to be so when i am 11 years old; frankly speaking, i have a girl’s feeling towards men(not all men, but the handsome and the kind); i am a passive gay, but the thing is i do not want to have a physical contact with anyone( either men or woman) because i am afraid of having sex–sexphobia.


  23. I am very sensitive to the extent that i get nervous easily, on one hand. But i am cool–I do not get nervous easily, on the other hand. i get a nervous wreck when: (1)somebody is offending somebody else, (2) when others are treating each other atypically, (3) when I offend someone, and(4) when i react like a nasty person. The list is too long!


  24. Please, STOP homophobia. “I am Gay, It is Not Contagious”. Do you know that homophobia is a social disease?”As long as society is anti-gay, then it will seem like being gay is anti-social”JOSEPH FRANCIS. I am of the same position; this gay quote is 100% true. So, would you mind helping the homosexual?


    • The hand of a robber is not cut because it is contagious! an adultery is not put at the prison because it is contagious either. But, quite simply, because it is against the commands of Islam. In your place, I will see a specialist to try to overcome my problem and if I do not arrive I completely abstain from making the sex.


    • On ne coupe pas la main d’un voleur parce qu’il est contagieux! un adultère n’est pas mis à la prison parce qu’il est contagieux non plus. Mais, tout simplement, parce qu’il est contre les commandements de l’islam. A votre place, je verrai un spécialiste pour essayer de surmonter mon problème et si je n’arrive pas je me m’abstiens complètement de faire le sexe.


  25. i appreciate all of your comments full of valuable pieces of information that are based on Islamic rules. One should have evidence and criteria upon which he/she can set up his/her arguments. One ought to pass a test called VineLand Social Maturity Scale (VSMS).


  26. Sir, would you please use typical words describing homosexuals. i have noticed that you used the word”zwamel” which is atypical. gotta apologiz, sir


  27. please, brother in ISLAM, be nice, not to me, but for the sake of Allah, for you coz we’re muslims


  28. i am homosexual, and i am proud of that. There is no one who would accept my homosexuality or not, but Allah, my parents, and those i love, gotta ma point? i am openly GAY? but faithful!


  29. even if one i am gay, i must not be hypocrite. always be frank. As a result, you’ll find a way out, okay.


  30. tell me who is can solve like those probs, its quite difficult for everyone but Allah


  31. almost all muslims do not help each other, i can not accept help from those wanting to profiteer from every single situation; i would rather die than accept help from those. any way Allah YAHDIHOOM


    • No offense meant, but a gay Muslim (if such a thing is possible) should be saying “Allah yahdini”.


  32. Because others(the most of them, arabs, heteros) do not even know what is it like to be a gay, let alone jugde them. So, think an islamic way and help me by asking Allah, not insulting me or others. the fisrt thing is “Targhib” if it does not work, then “Tarheeb, ok, muslims! that’s how Islam functions

    people should say somthing good or shut up!


  33. i am sorry there are some hypocrite arabs writing their opinions, without knowing that they are hypocrite. They are muslims, but if they find a weak muslim, they cut him into piecies, so to speak.


  34. why arabs are not united like christians? there is a big hole in arabs ‘ minds full of bullshit and stuff like that. LAN YOU2MINA AHADOOUKM HATA YHIBA LIAKHIH MA YHIBOHO LI NAFSIHI. If you were gay, you wanna be killed, if yes, you’re fair, if no you’reeeeeee a damn hypocrite. even if you say i should be killed if gay, but who know you’re telling the truth


    • pourquoi vous parlez déjà de la mort, alors qu’il est plus facile de changer son comportement vers le bien et ainsi servir la cause pour laquelle Allah nous a créé.


  35. if a maried hetero has sex with a girl is a sin; if a homo has sex with another homo is a sin. So, they are the same is ISLAM. WHY you do not care for the maried affairs–sex…

    the only thing that i hate i arabs is hypocrisy. i am an arab, but Allah yahdini w yahdi all muslims


  36. i am jealous of christians coz they are united, they always support each other . why arabs are just insluting, and complaining?

    i ‘ll be proud of being an arab if they are united, but they are not, sorry


  37. i am not afraid of death, but because Allah Does Not Accept that, okay. i repeat I am a homosexual, and i am proud of the fact that i am so. i love myself and all muslims, and i do not want them to be prejudicial in their opinions because it is not fair.


    • c’est contradictoire que tu sois à la fois fière d’être “zamel” et fière d’être musulman!


  38. do you know that some promiscous(sorry if i sound rude) heteros, if given the chance have sex with a homosexual? is it reasonable. in effect, some heteros want just the sexual side; they would do evering thing to urge a hoomosexual into having sew with them. it is so easy to have sex with a homosexual


  39. would you please use typical words for HOMOSEXUALS? it is offending the word you’ve just said. I am proud of being gay, yeah, and i am proud of being muslim


    • on parle des homo au Maroc. le mot répondu au Maroc est zamel et non “homo” ou “mithli” …et donc je ne trouve aucun problème à utiliser ce mot.


  40. can you tell me why are you a hetero?
    you’ll tell me i was born so; me too i was born so, but, i do not know what happened to me exactly. i am trying to help myself, but in vain


    • je ne pense pas que vous avez fait suffisamment d’effort pour vous retenir. Imaginez qu’on vous dit que si vous n’arrêtez pas vous allez mourir, alors est ce que vous continuez? je pense que non parce que notre besoin pour vivre est plus grand que notre besoin pour faire le sexe.


      • Making Time For Allah / God
        Assalaamu Aliykum wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuhu Everyone
        May Allah Ta A’la’s ( God Most High’s) Peace and Blessings Be on You All
        Iv been thinking Isnt it extremely unfair that we havent got time for God yet God Has created eternal time for us and given us the perfect opportunity to live in eternal bliss in Heaven.
        Before creating us he existed in infinite eternal bliss alone and now he has created us to enjoy that too just for a little praise and gratitude naturally for such infinite kindness but rarely are we grateful. We couldnt even give gratitude for being created and existing for a split second even if we made the best efforts eternally as only the supreme being existed alone before that but we never look at it as a privelege.
        We mostly complain about being alive where in truth we should be rejoicing incessantly and making the best efforts in life because this time round when its over it really is over and this time round we wont be going back to a state of unconciousness and nothingness because now time eternal really will begin for us according to our behavior in the World. This is when existence will really begin because Allah / God gave us the chance to make two purchases on our trip down to earth and that is for Heaven or Hell.
        Thats what this Life is all about and thats all its ever been about and thats all its ever about. Its not about what we would like it to be. It is what it is. Only two places are now being prepared for us according to our actions. We can try and Deny it all we want but only falsehood can be destroyed but never the truth. We can kick, scream and shout all we want but it will never change the truth.
        We should seek the truth and not what we want to seek.
        Only a Heart thats transparent can see the truth. A Heart thats full of what it wants to see covers up the Truth that is, and only finds whats been implanted into it because Allah has given us the choice to decide. Our Heart wont see the truth until we let go of what we would prefer rather than what is.
        Be heavenly for Heaven Be hellish for Hell. Its what we make in this world thats given to us in all fairness and mercy and supremely justly in the next.
        The truth is implanted in our Hearts from the very beginning but we have to use our inner Vision and intellect that we’ve been indoctrinated since birth not to use.
        Are everyone else’s answers and views still good for us? Are we still willing to risk Eternal Damnation for their opinions of whether there is Heaven or Hell? and this is our parents and friends who are supposed to love us yet their love seems to only extend to our graves.
        Is this what we expect and accept from them? Shouldn’t we think just because they couldn’t be bothered to Seek the Truth that they still should have cared enough for us to at least Give us the choice of seeking the Truth if they truly loved us rather than to pretend that there wasn’t anything worth seeking? Isn’t it something worth checking out for ourselves first?
        Dont we take the necessary precautions ourselves in anything else in our lives or do we except the majorities opinions on Faith?
        Well anyway any good said here today is Always from Allah / God and any bad iv said is Always from me.
        I hope Allah forgives me.
        Thank you for listening and i didnt mean to hurt anyone but just to break through some barriers that Satan may have put in our Hearts and Minds in the way of Truth. Ignorance is definitely not bliss but the complete an absolute opposite like we could not even comprehend although it may seem that it is bliss now.
        Please pray for me, yourselves and humanity.
        I sincerely pray and hope that we can all share the truth together. Be Mindful Not Blindful. Assalaamu Aliykum wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatuhu


  41. okay-dokey, dude! good luck in your normal life, farewell!


  42. @latif

    Screw you and your retarded “god”!


  43. Manus McManus

    @ Latif

    But Islam has emanated from a satanic cult and there is plenty of historical evidence to substantiate these claims


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