Moreover Monday-Sexual Harassment in Morocco

This is one of the first articles that I have seen addressing this epidemic in Morocco. One wonders though, how will this new law be implemented? How long will it be until the perpetrators are really punished?

Sexual harassment in Morocco: perpetrators could get up to 4 years in jail

Sunday 3 November 2013 – 16:32
Assya B. Moussaid
Miss Assya B. Moussaid obtained her BA in Human Relations, from Concordia university with a minor in Human resources management. She has a Diploma in advertising & marketing from the International Academy of design. You can Follow her on Twitter …

This is especially great news for the women in Morocco, and even for men who are infuriated by the harassment their sisters, wives or even mothers have to endure.

This new law, drafted by the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Development and the Ministry of Justice and Liberties, aims to reduce the violence against women, and considers as sexual harassment any action or advances against a third party through acts, words or gestures of a sexual nature, or any attempts to reach a sexual act.

The offender will be faced with a jail sentence ranging from one month to two years, and/or a 1000dh to 3000dh fine.

The sentence could be doubled, reaching up to 4 years in prison if the offense is committed by a colleague at the workplace or by a public sector employee responsible for ensuring the order and safety of citizens.

Another section of this law underlines the punishment of any author of sexual videos- a disturbing phenomenon that has been thriving on technology and social media in particular.

Moreover Monday- From Gaga to Malala

As mentioned before, I am going to try and bring more information to this page… whether that be about Morocco or as I have decided today, about Islam. Being someone who is not a Muslimah (a Muslim woman) I am going to mainly bring stories found on Muslimah Media Watch or other sources that rightly represent the religion or this part of the world. I am calling it “Moreover Monday” because I want to try to add to what is provided in mainstream Western media.

This is a story that was recently post on Muslimah Media Watch

From Gaga to Malala: Muslim Women as Stereotypes and Exceptions

October 21, 2013 By Leave a Comment

Editor’s note: Malala Yousafzai has been extensively covered in media lately, and several MMW writers wanted to weigh in on the way she is being portrayed.  Today’s post is by Amina; stay tuned for reflections from Nicole and Eren later this week.

Lady Gaga’s pink burqa. [Source].

Just a couple of months ago, Lady Gaga wore a ridiculous, sheer pink burqa. While I didn’t buy her reasons for it, she allegedly did it as some vague, old attempt at empowering Muslim women by trashing a form of hijab.(Read Eren’s take on “Pink Burqas, Gagas and Madonnas” here.) Mariam Elbaprovided a great analysis of Gaga’s “Bura/Aura”  lyrics for PolicyMic; the lyrics include “I’m not a wandering slave, I’m a woman of choice … My veil is protection for the gorgeousness of my face.” All of that, as Elba, points out, sounds okay, maybe even promising. And then, the chorus dives into stereotyping and  hypersexualizing with  “Do you want to see me naked, lover? Do you want to peek underneath the cover? Do you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura? … Do you wanna touch me? Let’s make love.”

As Elba writes:

“The heavily erotic images ultimately dehumanize and degrade burqa-wearing women and turn them into animalistic beings. In a society that automatically associates the burqa with Muslim women and Middle Eastern culture, a song like this only adds onto the monolithic image of the Muslim woman being quiet, sheltered, and owned by a man.”

With her recent American tour, internet campaign to award her the Nobel Peace Prize, and alright media bonanza, stories about Malala embed a similar rhetoric. The mainstream media has largely personified her an exception, rather than the rule; as if with her courage, bluntness, and conviction, she is unlike most Muslim women. Omid Safi’s post, “How to Keep Malala from Being Appropriated” makes a great case for the need to avoid an “exceptionalizing narrative.”

Don’t get me wrong. Malala is indeed incredible. But the media discourse about Malala often insinuates that her commitments to women’s education are derived from Western influences and values juxtaposed, again, against the backdrop of stereotypes that characterize Muslim women as downtrodden and dreaming to be saved by the white knight in shining armour.

Her boldness seems acceptable largely because of that narrative. The reactions to other “brazen” Muslim women aren’t nearly as warm. When the Boston bombing suspects were named, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the suspects, came immediately and fiercely to their defence.  Zubeidat was rarely grieving, somber or apologetic in the media glare. Instead, she remained consistently defiant and insistent of her sons’ innocence. The media reactions to Zubeidat were almost instantly vicious, labelling her a terrorist and questioning the “extreme” nature of her religious views. If she were less outspoken, more apologetic, and weakly sobbing behind a microphone, Zubeidat would have better fit social expectations of a grieving mother and of Muslim women, in general.

Then, there are the stories that rarely make a ripple on the Western media circuit – like the “Speed Sisters,” a group of female Palestinian street racers that draw crowds along the roads of Ramallah. And the Saudi women who embrace regular acts of civil disobedience and challenge their social status quo by driving. And the Sudanese women who recently staged a silent protest demanding female detainees be released. I’m grateful for Anneke’s weekly Friday Links because her posts generally host links to healthy counternarratives of Muslim women, in contrast to the typical stuff we read about in the mainstream media.

[Source].

There’s something immensely telling about the stories mainstream Western media decides to promote and those that get swept under the rug. The stories that are told and ways in which they are told say as much about the storytellers as those that are the actual subjects of discussion. Mainstream media actively homogenizes Muslim women into meek, weak beings who lack the audacity and know-how to challenge patriarchal systems. That narrative – one that denies a Muslimah’s autonomy – makes it difficult, if not downright impossible, to engage with Muslim women on the basis of solidarity. Instead, the West just sells itself as the ultimate saviour, bound by a superficial chivalrous oath to protect Muslim women from those evil, evil Muslim men who must ALL be pledged to the Taliban.

As I establish my professional career, I’m cognizant that I stand on the shoulders of giants, that my values, passions, and drives come from brilliant, fierce Muslim women: my unapologetic Nani, my strong-as-steel mother, countless activists, and brilliant academics. Yes, I am a Canadian woman. But my opinions on education, independence, empowerment, and self-sufficiency are heavily borne from my cultural and religious influences as a Muslim woman and the two aren’t mutually exclusive. While the Muslimahs I know are exceptional, they are by no means the exception. If the mainstream, Western media ever intends to genuinely engage with Muslim women, then it’s seriously time to acknowledge the depth and breadth inherent to Muslimahs.