The Moorish Wanderer

False Patriotism and Other Tricks

The trouble with events like those we witnessed on May 23rd, is that temptation to say: “I told you so”, where pessimism takes over. The sudden stiffening of security measures -most probably prompted by the May 15th daring picnic project around the Temara security compound– may well be a turning point in the extraordinary times our domestic politics is living through. I have this strange image on my mind of the security apparatus behaving like a wild beast, a bit intimidated by demonstrations on February 20th (and those following on March 20th and April 23th) and definitely entrenched in a hostile defence. But when demonstrators wanted to picnic outside the Temara compound (dumbed Guantemara) the security services’ own lair, the latter stroke back, with their customary violence.

The Dark Side of the (Police/Merda/CMI) Force is taking over, and the Temara headquarters is their Death Star.

Two events put security forces back into the limelight, namely the Marrakesh bombings and the Temara affair. It is basically a sequential, repeated chicken game between the movement and the authorities: at every stage of this process, Feb20 chose the radical outcome, and one way or the other, got away with it. The first stage was the demonstration itself. Regime made some incredible threats, but the demonstration took place nonetheless. Then after the King’s Speech on March 9th, authorities approached the movement for a possible negotiation on the constitutional reforms, they refused to be associated with the commission; At every stage, Feb20 forced the outcome and turned the tables. But the successive blows these last weeks ring out as a recovery of old stick-and-stick policy our security people have been trained and educated for. As a matter of fact, planned demonstration next Sunday, May 29th are going to determine the movement’s next course of action.

If they fail again to mobilize enough people around Morocco, then our Evolution -in contrast with Revolutions in other parts of the MENA region– is likely to be a short fuse, and the Silent Majority, those who do not demonstrate every week, might well slip back into political apathy. This is even more crucial when considering that the movement does not have the power to set the agenda, the King does. And now time is in favour of the constitutional reform process as designed and prepared by Royal advisers; The margin shifts back to the Empire, and the Rebels are so pressed for time.

Referendum day is now scheduled July 1st. This is the only public date available (with no official confirmation yet) and was leaked to the general public, probably as a heads-up to some move in the coming month (June?) on May 18th Khalid Hariry MP mentioned the date on his twitter feed

Proposition Min. Interieur aux partis: “referendum 1 juillet, législatives 7 octobre” ouverture parlement 14 octobre

Mr Hariry may be just an ordinary Member of Parliament, but his social media activism (there aren’t much Moroccan ministers and MPs on twitter, or posting on their personal blogs around) is a convenient way to get the message out about the hidden agenda -first rule of Moroccan politics, the authorities always have a hidden agenda. This is not paranoia, it is only empirical observation. So the Interior Minister tells the MPs that referendum day might be on July 1st, with General Elections on October 7th, and most probably the new parliament in session for October 14th. That means high up, there is confidence these elections will yield some strong majority, or that party leaders will be amenable to any deal presented to them for some government coalition; better still, the old line of ‘national unity’ government following the new constitution might be appealing to mainstream political parties and large scores of Moroccan public.

This ‘rumour’ (there is no official communication about it yet) has also been mentioned by TelQuel Magazine mentioned on their edition May 19th-20th (about the same day) that the Commission has been asked to make haste on their draft:

Dernière ligne droite pour la Commission consultative pour la révision de la Constitution (CCRC). Le cabinet royal aurait demandé à la Commission d’accélérer la cadence afin de rendre sa copie, avant la fin du mois de mai, au lieu de mi-juin. En parallèle, les listes électorales sont en cours d’actualisation dans la perspective du référendum.

So we might be expecting some news on the issue by the end of this week, most likely early June. Are these good or bad news? From the dissidence’s point of view, this is disaster. Because everyday Referendum day gets closer, and when Moroccan citizens go to the polls and vote massively in favour of the proposed draft, then Feb20 movement will lose one of its remaining legitimacies, i.e. a certain representation among the people.

Repression is still there, and kicking. More than ever. (Pic from Demain Online)

I have disillusioned myself quite early on the outcome of this referendum. What I can hope for, on the other hand, is that the combined numbers of boycott (or blank votes) and the ‘No’ Vote would be large enough (say at least 30% of total electoral corps) to build up on a civic platform that would wage large demonstrations from time to time, perhaps venture to publish some alternative proposals, until it forces another reform, this time more amenable to its own agenda. As for the possibility of a swift political confrontation on July or September, or the likelihood of a mass boycott, I foresee it to be very unlikely.

I also keep thinking about the following scenario: the latest declarations of our own Ron Ziegler, Mr Khalid Naciri (Communications Minister and government spokesman) are very worrying, because the explicit criticism made on the May 23rd demonstrations was that Al Adl and Left-wingers (he did not specify which ones, certainly not his own PPS party) manipulated the youth, and were also guilty of their lack of patriotism. After his blunt denial of any torture infrastructure at the Temara Compound, Minister Naciri only confirms his favourite line, which brands dissidents and ‘nihilists‘ as potentially traitors to the nation and fully-paid foreign agents.

When one considers the previous referendums, the late King Hassan II resorted more than often to this ‘Patriotism’ line (this seem to confirm what S. Johnson said about scoundrels and patriotism) to appease opposition parties and elicit their support for his constitutional projects. Istiqlal was more than often ready to do his bidding, but overall Koutla parties held steady, especially on the 1992 Referendum, but not so much on 1996. The subsequent Alternance was also the result of this alluring proposal to save the country. Former Prime Minister Abderrahamane Youssoufi -as well as his USFP party- still justify their compromise by stating that “Morocco was in danger“. All elements indicate the same old tricks will be used and followed by the gullible.

It’s a bit overconfident -and peculiar- of the Interior Minister to tell Members of Parliament about the project of holding elections straight after referendum (spare August for a Ramadanesque truce), and even more brazen, to call parliament in session ten days after elections. It means there’s strong confidence a government with a workable majority has been formed, or that the King stepped in and called for a National Unity government (a governmental consensus built around the new constitution, presumably). I don’t know why I keep thinking about this. Perhaps because for many mainstream politicians, Feb20 has shaken their monopoly over partisan politics, so they would only too obligingly gather and denounce the demonstrations as unpatriotic and revert back to the old accusations of  ‘Commies, Atheists, Faggots, Islamists and Pro-Polisario‘.

Because of the security tightening, the old mantra of Fifth Column accusations will be yet again put to use to discredit the movement. Last Sunday, ordinary citizens stood idly by while demonstrators were beaten up. If things do get worse, the young people might be branded as traitors and lose whatever sympathy they might enjoy among the Silent Majority. This June will certainly turn out to be the moment of truth, both for the constitutional reform and Feb20’s future as an alternative movement.

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To Boycott, Or Not Boycott, That is not the Question

Posted in Flash News, Read & Heard, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on May 23, 2011

Yesterday has been a black day. It’s a setback for freedom of expression in Morocco, as for democracy, it has been already compromised by sad omens on the upcoming . In the rarefied circles of power, partisans of brute force seem to have now the upper hand.

A fellow blogger and friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) has recently appraised me of his decision to boycott the referendum. While I respect his stand, I was surprised. Surprised because I know him to be no Annahj, nor Al Adl sympathiser. And even though we disagree on a number of things and issues, we share a certain fascination for economic analysis, so it came as a surprise, when he told me he did not want to register. The explanation of such decision, as well as the methodology, so to speak, astounded me, simply because I have never heard of it.

A thing or two before I elaborate on that: I do not pretend to elicit some generalized pattern from my friend’s resolve not to contribute in any electioneering, nor do I have the pretence to assess the ‘mood of the nation’. This post is merely a pondered response to a hasty argument we had. I do hope there will be some reciprocation, so as to have a comprehensive view of this rather unusual boycott. Blog posts are much better than tweet snaps, I think.

My friend boycotted the registering campaign. I also understood he did not register for past elections (say 2009, 2007 and 2002 at least) so he is, quite simply, not existent as a voter and elector. Paradoxically, his all-out opposition to any kind of ‘compromise’ disenfranchised him. I don’t know if he buys into that idea that civics is a title one works out to qualify for it. but if one abdicates the right to vote, then there isn’t much left out of citizenship and civics, is there?

Worse still, his voluntary disenfranchisement does not hurt the façade of democracy he wants to do away with. Suppose a million potential voters, like my friend, reached the same conclusion, and decided not to register. Out of an electoral corps of nearly 14 Million, that is certainly no big loss. It only means one million less voters, certainly not one million blank votes, or one million-short turn-out. Because he did not bother to register, on the contrary, the yielded result is contrary to his initial aims.

Besides, that all-out opposition is almost farcical. When taken to its logical conclusion, my friend should basically renegade on his Moroccan citizenship. The argument goes as follows: Political ‘game rules’ are so biased I will not soil myself into accepting the rule-maker’s guidelines, so I will step aside. The trouble is, the very same lawmaker edicts game rules in many other ‘games’: Why accept the proceedings for ID Card, or Passport? Why did he accept to receive a Scholarship when he was student? Isn’t that an explicit recognition of the lawmaker and their supremacy over game design? And why, if he was so keen not to get involve with these rules, did he accept to submit to Moroccan regulations over one of the most important contracts he would have ever signed up for? The answer, it seems, is transparent: Because he was compelled to do it. Voting is voluntary, and the choice led to what I called ‘intellectual laziness’.

The word is perhaps too strong. Contrary to any stereotyped ideas about it, intellectual laziness is a very logical, very thorough process. It is basically a cost/benefits analysis. His position can be summed up in the following question: “Why bother to vote in a referendum, if nothing new or more congenial to my own definition to democracy comes out of it?”. The cost of registering, campaigning or just trying to link up with acquaintances and convince them to follow suit is time consuming and costly in resources and efforts. Besides, here’s a very simple and cost-free way to rebuke the façade democracy Moroccan regime tries so hard to put on; Low turnout and high blank votes. Better still, define yourself out of that herd-like electoral corps, and break away as a free (wo)man.

This is intellectual laziness because the benefits of staying out of political confrontations (on ideas, projects and ultimately, streets) are overweighted compared to the incurred costs in following a different course of actions. My friend, it seems, does not understand he is, whether he likes it or not, part of Pareto’s “non-governmental elite”. Perhaps Elite embodies too much connotations as a word; Some sort of alternative ruling apparatus. He has a duty not to shrink away from these things;

My criticism -because that’s what it is, though there is no anger behind it- is rooted in the fact his gesture is futile. He wanted to boycott the referendum, but he only managed to mute his own voice by not registering. Others found time to go to the registering booth, put their names down on the list, and vowed, on Referendum Day, not to turn out to vote, or put on the ballot a blank vote. This is real boycott, and the political message carried out has a meaningful impact. A low turn out and/or a high proportion of blank votes is always a slap on the face of our much adorned image of ‘Regional Exception’, and is difficult to spin around as the symbol of contentment among Moroccan citizens. So my friend and colleague not only muted his own voice, but by doing so carried no significant political message to the regime. Not only does he fail to use his citizen right, but he managed to cut himself out of it. It’s mother’s milk for the regime if guys like him do not bother to register altogether, because no one pays attention to the size of electoral votes relative to potential voters. Media attention focuses on turnout and blank votes, nothing more.

I do hope he will reconsider his position; It ‘s too late to register again, but in his own mind, this idea of refusing to have anything to do with the regime as a proof of ‘intellectual resistance’ is adulterated by logical flaws. Whether we like it or not, our political regime is well established and dug in. It has loyalties (paid for or genuine) and has all monopolies of symbolic power. Resistance is not to step aside of the whole structure, but to step in, register and then, following each one’s state of mind, vote in favour, against or boycott the referendum. To refuse the right to vote, on the other hand, has no use.

Good Ole’ Tricks

I do feel like an idiot just right now.

Basically, the Diaspora vote is going to be lower than expected. It so happens the registering period closes on Friday 20th May (I doubt the consulates open on a Saturday 21st, even for an important matter such as the constitutional referendum) while it was “officially” announced on May 11th. I used brackets because as far as Moroccan embassies’ websites are concerned, there is a worldwide disinterest in the matter. Latest news on these sites, the glorious autonomy plan for the Sahara dispute. Lots of water went below the bridge, and yet the news for embassies got stuck on triviality (yes, the autonomy plan is a triviality unless a referendum is carried out in order to confirm the power transmission to the new autonomous Saharan authorities)

I thought it was my own negligence that prevented me from inquiring about the registering process, but it was not. On May 11th, I had to go to the consulate, so I can renew my passport. At the end of the procedure, I asked the clerk there whether I can also register for the referendum. His bewildered look told me that no instructions were passed on to the consulate personnel on the matter: “I don’t know about it” he told me.  For the record, the registering “campaign” has started on May 7th, and is to end on May 21th. Even for Moroccans living in Morocco, it is too short a time period to register for the referendum (for those who are first voters or moved in between elections). The Diaspora it seems, has been given only 10 days to register and get their things together. 3 Million Moroccans, about 12% of total potential votes, cannot on a 10 days’ notice, register for a consultation we did not have the opportunity to vote on since 1996.

Let us check what Consulates and Embassies display in their news feed:

New York Consulate:

May 15 & 16, 2011, INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

2,000 YEARS OF JEWISH LIFE IN MOROCCO: AN EPIC JOURNEY

Click here for more information

The Consul General of the Kingdom of Morocco in New York is pleased to announce that the deadline to apply for the new Moroccan ID (the CNIE) is December 31, 2011, and to urge those who have not yet applied to either come to the New York Consulate General, or visit one of the closest locations of the Mobile Consulate to their place of residence

Moroccan Pianist Marouan Benabdallah in Concert, Thursday, May 26, 2011, 8:00 pm

Marouan Benabdallah, part of the new generation of emerging Moroccan pianists, makes his U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall. With a thoughtful approach to classical western music cultivated at the Béla Bartók Conservatory and the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Benabdallah’s international career began in 2003 following his success at the Hungarian Radio Piano Competition and his winning the Andorra Grand Prize…

Click here to learn more

 Moroccan Embassy in France:

Sa Majesté le Roi réitère son ferme engagement à donner une forte impulsion à la dynamique réformatrice profonde en cours

Rabat- SM le Roi Mohammed VI, que Dieu L’assiste, a réitéré, mercredi 09 mars, dans un discours à la nation, son ferme engagement à donner une forte impulsion à la dynamique réformatrice profonde en cours, et dont le dispositif constitutionnel démocratique constitue le socle et la quintessence…….. [Lire..]

Réforme constitutionnelle : Le Président M. Nicolas Sarkozy félicite Sa Majesté le Roi

Rabat, 10 mars (MAP) – Le président de la République française, M. Nicolas Sarkozy, a félicité jeudi SM le Roi Mohammed VI, au lendemain de l’annonce par le Souverain d’une réforme constitutionnelle profonde……. [Lire..]

La France salue un discours royal “majeur” annonçant des réformes “déterminantes”

Paris- La France a qualifié de “responsable”, “courageux” et “majeur” le discours prononcé mercredi soir par SM le Roi Mohammed VI, saluant les reformes constitutionnelles “déterminantes” annoncées par le Souverain, a déclaré jeudi le Quai d’Orsay…… [Lire..]

Visite à Paris de M. Saad Hassar

Paris, 27 avr (MAP)- M. Saad Hassar, Secrétaire d’Etat auprès du ministre de l’Intérieur, en visite mercredi 27 avril 2011 à Paris, a été successivement reçu par M. Henri de Raincourt, Ministre chargé de la coopération auprès du ministre d’Etat, Ministre des Affaires étrangères et européennes, et M. Clacudie Gueant, Ministre de l’Intérieur, de l’Outre mer, des collectivités territoriales et de l’immigration….. [Lire..]

These two instances (you can always check with other embassies and consulates, the announcements on their websites are outdated and certainly bear no mention to the referendum) Furthermore, I can assure the readers that for at least one consulate, there was no public display of any administrative letter regarding the organization of registering campaign (as of May 11th). None whatsoever. Consulate personnel were as in the dark as we were.

Edit: The Moroccan Consulate in Paris displays today (May 19th) an announcement for the registering process and its extension till May 31th 2011.

I wish it was just an incompetent civil servant who forgot about it and did not send the administrative form to embassies. I really wish it was so simple. But it seems the old tricks are back: This is, quite simply, good old gerrymandering at the expenses of the one Moroccan community whose vote is difficult, almost impossible to ‘control’: the Moroccan diaspora, wherever it is, can vote on Referendums, and that constituency is particularly contumacious, or at least unpredictable in its voting pattern.

I though the referendum was too important not to associate the Moroccan Diaspora to the process. I thought Moroccans abroad were given the same rights; They certainly have the same obligations and do after all share with their fellow citizens the green-ish ID card and full-green passport. It is already a humiliating punishment not to vote for representatives during legislatives and local elections, so to be the victim of such backstabbing processes of disenfranchising likely voters is not only anti-democratic, but it confirms the authorities high-up, very high-up indeed, fear an unlikely outcome, one that might tip the balance in favour of the No Vote. Because there is no legal or constitutional minimum requirement for the turn-out, the only variable they need to keep at a minimum is the No Vote.

Basically, there is no particular political message carried out in boycotting, because a Yes Majority will carry the new constitution, no matter how low the turnout was. Boycott and laziness cannot bifurcate, and so the only political powerful message sent to the regime is to refuse the new constitution and force a new deal where the Moroccan people would be closely associated with the process of re-writing the 1996 constitution.

I mentioned the word gerrymandering. It is. Absolutely is: there is no constituency boundaries when it comes to referendums, direct democracy is plain arithmetics, the objective is simply to take over a majority of votes. Sadly enough, the Moroccan diaspora, in France, Spain, Netherlands or the Italy are not an aggregate of Moroccan citizens whose votes are just accrued to the overall voting turnout: polling stations, i.e. consulates or embassies, are often located far away from their homes; they need to take a day off in order to perform their civic duty. To add yet another hardship to sacrifices they would have consented out of patriotic or civic sentiments is not only a slap in the face of their commitment for democracy, but it also shows the regime does not trust citizens it cannot control or check on.

It shows the old authoritarian reflexes and behaviour did not fade away, but show surprisingly robust recovery.

I got lucky: I registered in 2007 for the general elections, and I will be spending most of September (the likely date for the referendum) in Morocco, so I can and am going to vote there. But for first-time voters, or those who will be in their host country, and couldn’t register in time, their voices will be lost. Muted. Is this democracy? Does it square with that brazen line that ‘All is Well in Morocco?‘ Because we have reached very quickly the boundaries of this farcical democracy.

So, dear fellow expatriates, think of that: a constitution is on the making, it may close down an unprecedented period of liberated free speech, and the worse thing is, you may not have a say in it because, quite simply, you missed the deadline.

A Citizen’s Gesture

Fellow blogger @Larbi_org used to exercise his wit at my expenses: intellectuals are all talk and talk, but no walk. First off, I have to say I am honoured to be bestowed such a title (I don’t mind the negative connotation attached to it, and as a matter of fact, the title would do nicely as a badge of honour)  What I do crave, on the other hand, is the rough-and-tumble of political campaigning, the engagement with the electorate, that enticing feeling of uncertainty when the local policeman or mokhazeni is likely to bark his orders forbidding ‘political agitation on the street’… And even though I am at the moment an expatriate student, I do have now the opportunity to take the argument to field application, so to speak.

This is going to be the moment of truth: All past referendums have been muted campaigns, a constant media hammering for a ‘Yes’ Vote (Those who experienced some of them surely remember ‘صوتوا بكل حرية على نعم’) and any brazen attempt to call for a contrarian opinion, or even worse, to call for a boycott were either jailed or beaten out of the street. I would like to wager the present security officials are not that dumb, and will allow some sort of dissident expression over the matter. Whatever the outcome in June, the constitutional draft is bound to satisfy some, dissatisfy others. The former will call for a vote in favour of yet another more democratic constitution, while the latter will usually split between those who vote against (not because they were content with the earlier version, but because they had wanted a different constitutional modus operandi) and those who gainsay the whole system, maximalists eager to inflict upon the regime some sort of rebuttal by trying to get the largest amount of people to boycott what they consider to be a political farce.

This is democracy, and plurality of opinions is to be expected, whatever comes out from the June deadline. Many of my friends and acquaintances want to adopt a wait-and-see attitude before making their minds up over the referendum, and I do respect their prudence. As for me, and because I know no good can come up from ageing and conservative law scholars, my mind is already made up. (right from March10th, actually). This, however, is partisan politics. There is a higher level, upon which the argument is no longer between the Yes and No, but between Participation and Boycott. I like to think civic behaviour dictates all of us should participate to the referendum, but again, the pro-boycott are entitled to their opinion, and should be respected. But to the undecided (and there is no need for polling to know they represent a majority of likely voters) these are the ones that need to be convinced of registering; And more precisely, those of us, expatriated students.

As of today, as a Moroccan citizen, a students’ society member and as a party member -in that order- I am campaigning to sign my fellow Moroccans up for the referendum. As you may know, the authorities are renewing their electoral listings (closed on May 21st), and it is an opportunity for those of us who did not vote on earlier referendums or elections, as well as for those who moved out in between elections, to register and make their voices heard.

My little stand, my little contribution to civic nihilism.

As an expatriate student, it is quite hard to doorstep fellow students and countrymen in exile, and convince them to take a day off and head to the nearest consulate (sometimes located very far from their domiciles) it is also hard to convince people just to vote; remarks like “why bother?” or “I don’t know what to vote for, better wait till June” are all sensible objections to what is seemingly a romantic stand on democracy and civics, but there remains the crucial point to be made: we need to make our voices heard.

Many of those who read past posts know I am voting ‘No’ in any case (save the one when M. Menouni decides to grow some balls and come up with a ground-breaking, earth-shattering memorandum such as this one) so why bother in trying to sign people up? many of whom are likely to vote ‘Yes’ because, well… it’s a new constitution. Don’t I have a vested interest in trying to sway the people’s votes and get them to see my own way?

Indeed I do. But that’s the beauty of applied democracy: what matters now is not what to vote for, but why bother turning out to the polling station (in my case and in the case of those I am appealing to, a consulate) and vote for something that, in all probability, does not affect the everyday life every one of us is carrying out with.

In short, pluck up your courage, gather all your civic spirits, your ID Card, Passport and Residence Permit (if applicable) and head off to the nearest Moroccan consulate, wherever you are. You owe it to your country and fellow citizens.

Funny Zemzami, The Necrophile Scholar

Posted in Flash News, Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Morocco, Read & Heard, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on May 10, 2011

Yes, we do have a freak show going on these days. But none of our Monstres Sacrés can match the latest Fatwa published by the (respected) Islamic Scholar and member of the religious establishment, Abdelbari Zemzami. He basically allows sexual intercourse with a corpse. Yes. Necrophilia is now Halal in Morocco by the grace of Alem Zemzami.

I should perhaps be more specific in Zemzami’s Fatwa: he allows the widowed husband to have sexual intercourse with the corpse of his deceased wife. The Fatwa does not say whether it reciprocates for a woman (although I suspect even with rigor mortis, it will not do) nor does it specify how many hours after the wife’s death a man can still, you know… perform their marital duties. If it was not for the scholar’s level of seniority, I would dismiss this fatwa as yet another deranged, lonely individual who did not get some for a while. But this is Zemzami. And it is a Fatwa from an official of the Habousministry. If indeed such Fatwa is genuine.

Abdelbari Zemzami, the Man who brings sunshine to the Nihilists' dreary lives. (Picture ALM)

But the issue goes beyond our funny Zemzami – please follow the hashtags #FunnyZemzami and #ZemzamiFatwa, you will get a kicking out of the twittoma’s imagination and acerbic witticism- and strikes at the very heart of individual freedom and the rule of positive law; Zemzami is empowered to produce Islamic rulings that can easily be considered an obligation on the Muslim community in Morocco; As a Alem, an Islamic Scholar, his Fatwas are norms. He can claim to actually dictate what we, as members of the Ummah, should do or not do. We are thus submitted to the double fetter of God’s law, and Man’s law.  We individual citizens have no grip on such legislation, an infringement on our democratic rights, and perhaps the most straightforward argument in favour of the criticism that Morocco is no democracy.

Zemzami justifies his ruling by means of analogy: Since a good Muslim couple will meet again in Heaven, and since death does not alter the marital contract (in his opinion) it is not a hindrance to the husband’s desire to have sexual intercourse with the corpse of his (freshly) deceased wife. A deranged mind and flawed logical thinking seem not to be part of the position of Senior Alem’s requirements. I am no Islamic Scholar (thank God) but I remember from my (compulsory and utterly boring) High School Islamic courses that there is a minimum amount of logical thinking when the Imam (or Alem) makes their Ijtihad, or investigations. And quite frankly, I really don’t see how he managed to find a ruling for the deceased; The Islamic literature is very extensive on the living (as it normally should be) but Zemzami’s ruling tops them all. He seemed to overlook the procreating objective of marital mating (this is why concepts such as “نكاح المتعة” are forbidden)

Indeed, Zemzami’s ruling is funny. It is so, because if one wants to think of it otherwise, the first thing to spring to mind is something like: “what goes on the man’s life to take such a keen interest in such an obscure issue to devote time and resources and come up with a an even stranger ruling”? I mean, perhaps the Habous officials do bore themselves to death in their offices, but still, they are civil servants and receive their salaries (comfortable salaries in Zemzami’s case) on the taxpayer’s dime. It is only just to question the man’s competence (never mind sanity) and legitimacy to dream up rulings regulating our lives.

Abdelbari Zemzami, again, is no ordinary scholar: he is formally a الخبير في فقه النوازل which means an Expert in Exceptional Matters, issues that have not been delineated in the Quran, the Hadith, or anywhere in Sharia law. Zemzami actually did his job: such a bizarre occurrence never happened before, and was never discussed in past scholarly work or in the original Islamic laws, so it is up to him, the expert, to come up with something. Yes, Zemzami is the chief scholar at the vanguard of new Islamic rulings designed to make life more harmonious within the Islamic community. Frightening.

The whole idea of a Ulema corps is at odds with democracy. First because it is another infringement on individual rights; Indeed, we are living in a society, and because of it, individuals need to sacrifice some of their rights for the sake of the collective freedom. The democratic setting minimizes these fetters to the necessary rules required for a peaceful  coexistence. This means that no restrictions should be put on intimate issues -which religions, especially Islam, want to regulate in accordance to their teachings, so as to achieve their Holy City utopia. In view of these elements, positive law is sufficient an infringement on individual freedom to indulge in adding yet another restriction. And even though there is no direct link between the Penal sanction of non-marital sexual relationships and Zemzami’s fatwa, I suspect frustrations due to the repressive sexual policy, as it were, do lead to such Vaudevillian situations; Opening up to sexual tolerance and essential the breaking of ‘wedlock monopoly‘ could help stem dangerous behaviour (rather than encourage them, as the conservative theory goes)

Zemzami’s ruling is a blessing in disguise: it furthers the cause of secularists; It is the proof that dogmatic and conservative policies are a failure, and frustrations and social deviances arising from such fettering rules are a blatant rebuttal to those who believe all Moroccans will be moral knights and dames. Subsequently, instead of treating everyone as a devout Muslim (and punishing anyone who does not care about it) it is easier, and nicer, to scrap these pieces of legislation. It also have the courage to do away with hypocrisy (the penal code punishes non-observant of Ramadan but not those who do not go to the Mosque, even though prayers have seniority as an Islamic pillar)

Oh, and one last thing. Zemzami really should be put in some asylum. Or allowed to set up a One Man Show; that way he will do no harm to the saner people. And it seems he stands by his ruling: necrophilia is Halal. Looking forward to the next ruling on f**king goats.