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Rabat Salafists assault woman over dress

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Intense debate on personal freedoms renewed recently in Morocco after a young woman wearing a short modern dress in a Rabat market was assaulted by people described as Salafists.

Witnesses told Magharebia the girl was stoned and beaten because she was wearing clothes that were too revealing in the eyes of the assailants.

Human rights and women's organisations issued statements denouncing the assault on the Moroccan girl, during which she was stripped of her clothes entirely. Young Moroccan men and women turned to Facebook and online groups to call for protection of individual freedoms in Morocco, including the group "Débardeur and I am fine."

"Though this incident appeared in the media and gained wider attention, that does not mean it is not repeated on an almost regular or semi-daily basis in all the alleys and streets of our cities. It may not end in stripping the girl of her clothing, but the verbal and physical harassment that women may experience is sometimes more heinous and horrible," said Nora Al-Fuari, an activist journalist at the Al-Sabah daily and a member of the Facebook group.

"From here came the idea of creating this page on Facebook, which we made open to everyone, including those in hijab or niqab, or the 'coarse' males who share the same vision with us. The selection of Débardeur is just a symbol, in reference to freedom—the freedom of women to wear what they want. Débardeur was mother of the 'short skirt'," she added. "In the end, the body is her body and no one has the right to confiscate it."

Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane responded to the controversy by speaking out in defence of personal liberties.

"I believe in freedom, God created us free," the prime minister said. "Who is Benkirane to tell Moroccans to shave your beards or to impose the hijab? Individual liberties are sacred and are not to be touched," he added.

Meanwhile, a Salafist supporter on the Facebook page going by the name Abu Ayyub clung to the necessity of Moroccan women to respect the requirements of Islamic dress. He contended that there was a legitimate "Sharia" dress that must be abided by.

"We must abide by the teachings of our Islamic religion, which calls on women to cover up their charms and abide by the veil imposed on Muslim women. I'm against calls for women to reveal their charms, and that must be countered firmly and with stricter protection of morality," the commenter wrote.

Rights group Beit Al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) added its voice to the chorus of protest over the assault. The association said the attack on the young woman took place "under a government headed by an Islamic party, and this would block the move towards democracy, freedoms and the rule of law".

The group added that it was not just about the assault on the young woman, warning also of the consequences of remaining silent about what is happening in several cities under the cover of the "Popular Committees", which acted to expel women they considered prostitutes, such as Al-Hajeb in the Ifrane region, and to demand closure of bars, as in Kenitra.

In this regard, the association strongly condemned "other Islamists from the 'Unification and Reform' [Tawhid wa Islah] organisation and other groups imposing what they regard as known and preventing what they see as evil," describing what is happening as "dangerous phenomena" that incite violence and hatred.

For his part, Mohamed Hilali, vice-president of the Unification and Reform movement, responded in a statement to Magharebia, alleging that there was "a large fallacy propagated by some people under the guise of individual liberties".

"We are reassured that individual freedoms will be strengthened more in the presence of Islamists in the government, because the Islamists [provide for] the most freedom and democracy in their educational development in their communities and their movements," he said.

The incident came immediately after a call by Abu Zeid, a Qur'an reciter and leading member of the ruling Justice and Development Party, for a day dedicated to "chastity and modesty". He was joined by Salafist jihadist Sheikh Mohamed Fizazi.

Fatiha Mukhlas, a member of the Democratic League for Women's Rights said that "dress falls under people's individual liberties and no one should be targeted because of his choice to wear particular clothing, as occurred with the young woman of Rabat."

This content was commissioned for Magharebia.com.

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Good Article..but I wish to know how short is short???

Though I sincerely 100% disagree with the assault on the young woman...within this beautiful country it is better for everyone's benefit including the young girl's, to dress in a modest manner. I guess the definition of Modest is left to debate????

When I was walking off the train there was one young woman that had the shortest flouncy dress, bare legs and wore high high heels that she could barely balance on. She definitely stood out among the rest of the passengers...which I assume was the goal???(she resembled a Kim Kardashin type in dressing.... down to the modern clutch purse hanging on a bent arm) She received the attention from all sorts of people......

Young men, Older men, Older women and the children holding their mother's hands.

Seeing her made me really see the benefits of dressing modestly. And in this public setting, in a country that the population is mostly Muslim "hiding her charms" would have been a better choice. She was young. slim, long brown hair and still could find herself attention without exposing so much and wearing so little.

Having walked through the markets in Rabat I have seen the attention a woman gets without dressing risque... If one is putting themselves in this type of setting, the young lady is almost asking for trouble...whatever form that might come in.

There are numerous good reasons it is written in the Qur'an for women to dress modestly. For me I see it as a form of self respect.

Just my humble two cents


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I've seen women in Rabat wearing see-thru tops and no one bothered them more than to stare. Moroccans are used to having the right to dress in "western" wear and as they please. This Salafist ####### isn't going to go well, especially in Sin City aka Marakech lol.

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you can get anything in Morocco. if you know a lass that's unveiled, remind her to carry a pistol in her clutch bag for the Salafists that she might encounter.


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here's mine-VICTIM BLAMING SUCKS.

the damn moroccan PM sounds more enlightened than you.

Are we always posting to attack someone in within the MENA forum? Or we dont have preference of which forum we chose 2 lash out at another in?

There is no victim blaming...hence why I started out my post directly with disagreeing with the assault.

I only saw what I saw when the young lady was causing a public stir and I simply shared it.

And the one thing that could have been misunderstood when re reading my post is....

"If one is putting themselves in this type of setting, the young lady is almost asking for trouble...whatever form that might come in"

It was intended for the gawking and un GOD like thoughts it elicits. NO WAY blaming anyone as a victim.

Do not think any of my thoughts shared warrants your judgmental posting towards me...and request you would not again in the future.


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Perhaps someone can translate this video which interviews people who were working in the souk when this all happened. It's a different version of the story than was published by Assabah.

Edited by Golden Gate

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Are we always posting to attack someone in within the MENA forum? Or we dont have preference of which forum we chose 2 lash out at another in?

There is no victim blaming...hence why I started out my post directly with disagreeing with the assault.

I only saw what I saw when the young lady was causing a public stir and I simply shared it.

And the one thing that could have been misunderstood when re reading my post is....

"If one is putting themselves in this type of setting, the young lady is almost asking for trouble...whatever form that might come in"

It was intended for the gawking and un GOD like thoughts it elicits. NO WAY blaming anyone as a victim.

Do not think any of my thoughts shared warrants your judgmental posting towards me...and request you would not again in the future.

i don't care where i see it, if i see asinine victim blaming of sexual assault victims, i'm going say "that's fukced up".

until people get it, that there IS NO "BUT" or any other caveats when it comes to any and every sexual assault victim.

rather than it being about what some random woman that you saw at a train station is wearing, and the reaction it gets being all her fault, it never occurred to you to reflect on the importance on any and everyone present there to avert their gaze, like they're instructed to? because what? they're male and she's female? this is a problem. a big problem.


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i don't care where i see it, if i see asinine victim blaming of sexual assault victims, i'm going say "that's fukced up".

until people get it, that there IS NO "BUT" or any other caveats when it comes to any and every sexual assault victim.

rather than it being about what some random woman that you saw at a train station is wearing, and the reaction it gets being all her fault, it never occurred to you to reflect on the importance on any and everyone present there to avert their gaze, like they're instructed to? because what? they're male and she's female? this is a problem. a big problem.

Good for your strong opinions but it remains clear you did not understand my post

Where did you get the assumption I was making a point about men NOT being wrong in not diverting their gaze and this is ALL her fault? And in answering your question...What actually "Never Occurred to Me" was that a simple posting of what I observed could elicit such a harsh reaction from a stranger on VJ. With cursing too.

The observation was young and old, male and female and children all were influenced by the way this young woman chose to dress so skimpy and I shared this because I had seen this first hand in a country where the majority leans towards more modestly dressed women. That is all.

I refuse to accept that I was a part of what you call "asinine victim blaming of sexual victims,"...The tone of both your posts are as if there is a heated debate with another. Or you have need to fight with someone??? I dont know and dont care why. Because,

this person I am not.

But be assured I have no interest in continuing to defend my observation and personal opinion on dressing modestly....So I ask you again, please refrain from judgmentally posting towards me .....as I have attempted to explain 2x now, it was not written this way.

If you need to make your point more power to ya....but your misconstruing my posts.


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They were following Allah's words, come on, islam is peaceful!



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Good for your strong opinions but it remains clear you did not understand my post

Where did you get the assumption I was making a point about men NOT being wrong in not diverting their gaze and this is ALL her fault? And in answering your question...What actually "Never Occurred to Me" was that a simple posting of what I observed could elicit such a harsh reaction from a stranger on VJ. With cursing too.

The observation was young and old, male and female and children all were influenced by the way this young woman chose to dress so skimpy and I shared this because I had seen this first hand in a country where the majority leans towards more modestly dressed women. That is all.

I refuse to accept that I was a part of what you call "asinine victim blaming of sexual victims,"...The tone of both your posts are as if there is a heated debate with another. Or you have need to fight with someone??? I dont know and dont care why. Because,

this person I am not.

But be assured I have no interest in continuing to defend my observation and personal opinion on dressing modestly....So I ask you again, please refrain from judgmentally posting towards me .....as I have attempted to explain 2x now, it was not written this way.

If you need to make your point more power to ya....but your misconstruing my posts.

Maybe what you are trying to say is that fault in a case like this is not necessarily a 'zero-sum' situation? Like if I leave my iphone laying on a the seat of my car with the window rolled down. If somebody steals it they are no less guilty of a crime just because I made it a bit too easy. But I was stupid to leave it where I did relative to my own interest in not being victim of a theft. My stupidity though does in no way excuse the actions of the thief!

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Maybe what you are trying to say is that fault in a case like this is not necessarily a 'zero-sum' situation? Like if I leave my iphone laying on a the seat of my car with the window rolled down. If somebody steals it they are no less guilty of a crime just because I made it a bit too easy. But I was stupid to leave it where I did relative to my own interest in not being victim of a theft. My stupidity though does in no way excuse the actions of the thief!

women's bodies aren't phones. there aren't analogies to be made here to inanimate objects-a woman, a person, was straight up sexually assaulted.

i don't think you're trying to be offensive in saying that, but it nevertheless is.


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