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Féminismes islamiques et antiféminismes islamistes au Maroc1

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Communication présentée à l’atelier, « Femmes, islam et participation politique » organisé par Carneigie Middle East Center et IDRC (Canada), Rabat, 16 novembre 2009 (en cours de publication). Une version arabe de ce texte a été publiée le 21 février 2010 par la revue électronique Al Awan (Le Caire). En voici le lien : http://www.alawan.org/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A3%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8.html

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A. Dialmy : "Féminisme et islamisme" : deux mouvements sociaux ? ”, communication au colloque “ La femme dans le contexte de l’islam actuel ”, Université de Géronne, Géronne (Espagne); 10-12 Novembre 1994, publié dans Femmes et discours entre la mouvance et l'enracinement, Publications de l'Université Moulay Ismaïl/Tanit, 1994 (en français) et dans Social Compass, Revue Internationale de Sociologie de la religion, Louvain-La-Neuve, volume 43 (4) 1996, pp. 481-501 (en français). Voir également notre livre Féminisme, islamisme et soufisme

, Paris, Publisud, 1997, pp. 131-184.

3 Le féminisme d'état est une notion que j'ai proposée en 1990 dans une communication présentée à la conférence "Culture et société dans le Maghreb Arabe". Cette conférence a été organisée par le Conseil National de la Culture Arabe entre le 12-14 septembre 1990 à Rabat. Le titre de ma communication (en arabe) est "De la raison

Pr. Abdessamad Dialmy

Par féminisme marocain, j’entends l'ensemble des discours, des savoirs, des actions et des pratiques qui visent à mettre fin à la domination masculine, et ce en réalisant une égalité des droits entre les deux sexes.

Par islamisme, j’entends l’ensemble des discours, des savoirs des actions et des pratiques qui subordonnent l’exercice du pouvoir politique à l’islam et qui font de celui-ci la source principale, voire l’unique source, des lois qui régissent le fonctionnement de l’Etat et de la société.

Afin d’actualiser l’étude des rapports entre féminisme et islam politique quinze après mes premiers travaux sur la question

 

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, je propose d’abord d’identifier les visages du féminisme marocain, d’exposer ensuite les différentes postures conjoncturelles de l’islam politique à l’égard de la question féminine, de conceptualiser enfin les résistances structurelles de l’islam politique au féminisme. L’enjeu de ce papier peut se résumer dans le syllogisme suivant : le féminisme est défense de l’égalité des sexes, l’islamisme rejette l’égalité des sexes, donc l’islamisme n’est pas féministe.

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Visages du féminisme marocain

En tant que mouvement organisé, le féminisme marocain s'est exprimé sous trois formes majeures, étatique (féminisme d'état

 

3), partisane et associative.

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sexuelle maghrébine", publiée dans la revue

 

Al Wahda

, n° 86, novembre 1991. J'ai forgé la notion de féminisme d'état pour conceptualiser la promulgation par Bourguiba d'un code de famille (Majalla) moins inégalitaire dans un pays musulman non-laïc comme la Tunisie. Bien entendu, l'expression peut être étendue au cas turc. Dans cette communication, j'ai également proposé la maghrébinisation de la Majalla tunisienne comme un minimum de féminisme d'état permettant de contribuer à l'unification du Maghreb. L'UMA venait d'être fondée.

I-1 Le féminisme d’Etat

Ce féminisme d’Etat s’est d’abord manifesté dans le droit de la famille. Il s’est fondé sur le paradigme de l'inapplication (du droit musulman). Pour ce féminisme, l'inapplication de l’islam (ou l’inobservance, voire la violation et la trahison) est, au lendemain de l’indépendance en 1956, attestée par les mariages précoces et arrangés, la nécessité pour l'épouse de se doter d'un trousseau, l’appropriation de la dot par le père, la limitation du pouvoir de l'épouse sur la gestion de sa fortune, la polygamie sans conditions, la cohabitation forcée des coépouses, la répudiation triple simultanée par une simple parole… L'établissement du code de statut personnel en 1957 a alors répondu au besoin d'appliquer le "véritable" islam en matière de mariage et de famille pour préserver les droits de la femme. Et au besoin d'innocenter l'Islam des injustices subies par la femme dans une société marocaine qui aurait patriarcalement (més)-interprété et (mal) appliqué l'islam. Ce faisant, le féminisme d’Etat n’a pas adopté en la matière le principe de l’égalité des sexes, mais celui de l’équité. Pour lui, l’équité est de garantir à chaque sexe les droits qui lui sont reconnus par la

 

Shari’a. Rappelons ici que la Shari’a

telle qu’elle exprimée explicitement dans le Coran et la Sunna octroie des droits différents aux hommes et aux femmes. A chaque sexe des droits (conjugaux) spécifique.

C’est dans le domaine politique que l’égalité des sexes a été décidée par le féminisme d’Etat. Dans la première constitution du Maroc en 1962, hommes et femmes sont déclarés citoyens, électeurs et éligibles à égalité, sans discrimination. Le féminisme d’Etat s’est enfin manifesté dans l’adoption de la planification familiale en 1966 comme politique publique. Cette politique a progressivement libéré la femme marocaine de l’impératif nataliste maximal qui la réduisait à n’être qu’un « coffre à grossesses ».

I-2 Le féminisme de gauche

Les années 1970 sont marquées par le passage du paradigme de l'inapplication à celui de l'insuffisance. Ce dernier signifie que les droits explicitement reconnus à la femme par l'Islam sont « implicitement » déclarés insuffisants eu égard à l’évolution de la condition de la femme et de la société. Certes, la section féminine USFP demande en 1975 que l'on révise le

 

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CSP conformément aux principes de la religion musulmane. Mais ce slogan (du respect des principes de l'islam) est en fait une invite à dépasser la littéralité des textes afin d'obtenir des droits inédits, non initialement prévus par les textes de la

 

Shari'a (Coran et Tradition), mais qu'on définit comme non contradictoires les finalités stratégiques de la Shari'a. Parmi les droits inédits, revendiqués4

par l’USFP pour pallier l'insuffisance explicite de l’islam, l'appel à traiter la femme majeure comme l'homme majeur et à assurer l'égalité des époux devant tous les droits, à supprimer la tutelle matrimoniale, à interdire la polygamie, à transformer toute dissolution de mariage en divorce judiciaire. Plus loin encore, le rapport idéologique de 1975 demande la suppression de l'entretien unilatéral, c'est à dire la fin de l'entretien de l'épouse par le mari et l'implication de l'épouse dans l'entretien du foyer. Cela signifie soit la nécessité (pour l’Etat de garantir un revenu à toute épouse soit la nécessité de considérer le travail domestique de l’épouse comme une forme d’entretien de la famille. C’est là une manière de mettre fin au principe de l’obéissance de l’épouse, fondé sur le devoir d’entretien qui incombe à l’époux seul.

4 USFP. Documents. Rapports sur la femme, 1975, pp. 11 et 14.

Ce féminisme est islamique dans le sens où l’égalité des sexes est la finalité première, posée comme compatible avec l’esprit et l’intentionnalité stratégique de la

 

Shari’a. Dans ce cadre, l’ijtihad

devient, à côté de l’instance législative parlementaire, un moyen d’y parvenir. Mais la mise en oeuvre de ces revendications a été négligée. Ces revendications quasi-révolutionnaires (pour l'époque) ne sont pas reprises par le groupe parlementaire de l'USFP. Celui-ci ne propose pas de réviser le CSP et accorde peu d'importance à la lutte juridique dans la libération de la femme. L’USFP estime que la lutte juridique fait partie du féminisme et, à l'image du PPS, rejette le féminisme comme étant une théorie bourgeoise de l'antagonisme entre l'homme et la femme. Les deux partis estiment que la libération de la femme est une conséquence de la fin du capitalisme. En présentant le socialisme comme la véritable solution (générale), l'importance est davantage accordée à la lutte de la femme en tant qu’ouvrière.

C’est plutôt le groupe parlementaire du RNI (Rassemblement National des Indépendants) qui, en 1979, demande la révision du CSP, mais sans exiger l’égalité des sexes. Pour l’ensemble des partis, politiques, les femmes sont avant tout le "harem du parti", c’est à dire une réserve de voix électorales. Sur le plan organisationnel, les femmes ont été quasiment exclues des instances dirigeantes. De même, la question de l’égalité des sexes n’a jamais eu de priorité dans les divers agendas partisans. Il faut reconnaître ici que, pour les partis

 

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politiques ayant une représentation populaire dans les années 1960-1970, l’enjeu premier était de mettre fin à la répression politique, d’arracher au pouvoir le droit à la participation dans la gestion de l’Etat. La question féminine n’était pas en effet prioritaire pour des partis politiques soucieux d’établir les prémisses minimales et élémentaires de la démocratie.

I-3 Le féminisme associatif

Face à la « lenteur » partisane, les femmes militantes ne pouvaient que se sentir non véritablement représentées au sein des partis et par les partis. Aussi assiste-t-on à un glissement progressif des femmes vers l’organisation associative. Certes, certaines de ces associations constituent un prolongement féminin-féministe de certains partis politiques. Ce type associatif partisan est en fait une autonomisation organisationnelle des sections féminines des partis politiques (ADFM en 1985, UAF en 1987, OFI en 1987). Mais d’autres associations ont vu le jour sans avoir aucun enracinement politique partisan et sont complètement libres de toute tutelle partisane, à l'image de l'Association Féminine des Femmes Progressistes (1992), l'Association Marocaine des Droits de la Femme (1992)… Un discours nouveau voit le jour, celui des droits des femmes en tant que droits humains.

Il faut donc voir dans l'organisation associative du mouvement féministe un passage à la démocratie participative, suite à l'échec de la démocratie représentative, les femmes étant largement exclues et marginalisées dans toutes les structures politiques. Les femmes prennent en main la question féminine dans des associations féministes, au sens défini plus haut, c'est-à-dire en tant que lutte pour l’égalité des droits entre les sexes. Ce faisant, certaines associations féminines ne peuvent pas être classées comme féministes, leur horizon de pensée et d’action ne dépassant pas la justice et l’équité, c'est-à-dire des droits différentiels pour les deux sexes (c’est le cas de l’islam politique comme on le verra plus loin).

Pour le féminisme associatif, il s'agit avant tout de faire pression sur l’Etat afin de réviser le Code du Statut Personnel (CSP), et ce en conformité avec les principes égalitaires de la CEDAW. Mais tout en adoptant le paradigme de l’insuffisance de l’islam (en matière de droits des femmes), le féminisme associatif n’a adopté que la voie de la réforme par l

 

’ijtihad. Aucune association féministe ou des droits de l’homme n’a opté pour la sécularisation du droit de la famille afin d’être « politiquement correcte » et audible. Dans ce sens, le féminisme associatif est également islamique dans le sens où l’égalité des sexes comme

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finalité suprême est recherchée au nom de l’islam par le biais de l’ijtihad. Celui-ci est censé dépasser l’inégalitarisme du sens littéral des textes sacrés.

Dans le cadre de l’option réformiste par l’« ijtihad », comme seule option politiquement correcte, l'année 1992 peut être considérée comme une année charnière. Elle a vu l’organisation d'un colloque National sur le CSP le 17 avril, la constitution d'un Comité de Coordination National (qui regroupe l’UAF, la section féminine de l'USFP, l’Association Féminine des Femmes progressistes, l’Association Marocaine des Droits de la Femme, l’AMDH), la campagne d'un 1 million de signatures pour la réforme du CSP, et la soumission d'une proposition de réforme du CSP au parlement. Cette proposition revendique le contrôle de la polygamie par le juge, la transformation de la dissolution du mariage en divorce judiciaire, l’institution d’un Conseil Supérieur de la Femme, la promulgation de textes constitutionnels pour affirmer les droits politiques, économiques sociaux et culturels des femmes.

Ce féminisme associatif aboutit à une première réforme du code du statut personnel en 1993 qui ne le satisfait pas

 

5. Puis, grâce à une coalition entre l’étatique (gouvernement d’alternance), le partisan et l’associatif, le Plan National d’Intégration de la Femme au Développement voit le jour en 1999. Parmi les objectifs principaux du PNIFD6

:

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A. Dialmy : Logement, sexualité et islam

, Casablanca, Eddif, 1995, pp. 243-264.

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Voir mes articles sur le PNIFD : 1) « Un front islamique contre le féminisme du gouvernement d'alternance », Al Ahdath al Maghribiya, août 1999 (en arabe), 2) « Le Plan National d’Intégration de la Femme au développement, une épreuve, un défi » Bayane al Yawm (Casablanca), n° 3017, 22 mars 2000 (en arabe), 3) « Le Plan National d’Intégration de la Femme au Développement ne contredit pas l’esprit de l’islam», Al Ittihad al Ichtiraki

(Casablanca), 25 avril 2000 (en arabe).

- élever l’âge du premier mariage de la jeune fille à 18 ans.

- supprimer la tutelle matrimoniale.

- enregistrer l'enfant naturel sous le nom de famille de sa mère.

- transformer toute dissolution de mariage en divorce judiciaire.

- abolir la polygamie.

- partager des biens accumulés au cours de la vie conjugale lors du divorce.

 

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II- L’antiféminisme de l’islamisme

Face à ce féminisme trièdre, l’islam politique promulgue des

 

fatawi qui accusent les forces féministes d'apostasie et d'athéisme. Il profère des menaces de mort contre des chercheurs en matière d’égalité des sexes7. Il refuse le PNIFD et organise une marche antiféministe à Casablanca en mars 2000. Le PNIFD est présenté comme anti-islamique à l’opinion publique, les islamistes demandent à ce que ce plan soit soumis à un référendum populaire. L’aile radicale islamiste va même jusqu’à refuser l’arbitrage du Roi, proposé par le premier ministre. Nadia Yassine déclare en effet : « nous ne voulons recourir à personne pour arbitrer… nous nous référons au Coran et à la Sunna ». De son côté, Soumia Benkhaldoun8

reproche au PNIFD l’absence du référentiel islamique. Elle affirme que pour le PNIFD seules les conventions internationales sont susceptibles de préserver les droits des femmes. Pour elle, l’islam n’est pas en contradiction avec les conventions internationales. Pire, affirme-t-elle, les conventions internationales « comportent des dérives, notamment sur les limites de droits de l’individu ». Elle critique le PNIFD qui demande l’abolition de la polygamie : « pour nous, affirme-t-elle, la polygamie peut présenter une solution et pas un problème pour certaines familles qui ne souhaitent pas le divorces ».

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A titre d’exemple, une campagne fut menée par l’association Al Issalah wa et-Tajdid et par le Parti de la Justice et du Développement contre mon enquête qui a porté sur « Identité masculine et santé reproductive au Maroc ». En effet, la presse de ces deux organisations, notamment l’hebdomadaire Al-Tajdid dans son numéro du 5 avril 2000, consacra un article à l’enquête. Dans cet article, le ministère de l’Education Nationale est accusé de protéger le « communisme sexuel » parce qu’il a délivré l’autorisation à une enquête dont le questionnaire est « sans pudeur et licencieux ». Dans le même article, une lettre, en encadré, signée par le chef du groupe parlementaire du PJD, demande au ministre de l’Education Nationale de m’interdire de distribuer ledit questionnaire dans les établissements scolaires. Dans le même numéro de Al-Tajdid, un autre article critiquait mon livre qui venait de sortir, Vers une démocratie sexuelle islamique (en arabe), et l’exploitait pour « prouver » le caractère « nocif » et « destructeur » de mon questionnaire. Dans le numéro du 19 avril 2000 de Al-Tajdid

, un autre article est consacré à la même enquête sous le titre suivant : « Les aspects idéologiques du questionnaire d’Abdessamad Dialmy ».

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Lors d’une conférence sur les droits de la femme au Maghreb, Vendredi 28 Novembre 2003 à l'Institut du Monde Arabe

Tout discours sur l’islam politique au Maroc se doit de distinguer entre trois tendances : un islam politique radical (clandestin violent, non reconnaissant du Roi comme Commandeur des Croyants), un islam politique semi-intégré (semi-clandestin, semi-violent, ne reconnaissant pas le Roi comme Commandeur des Croyants), un islam politique intégré (légal, non-violent, reconnaissant le Commandeur des Croyants).

 

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Comment ces trois islams politiques se positionnent-ils à l’égard de l’égalité des sexes ? En d’autres termes, quel est le degré de féminisme de ces trois types de l’islamisme marocain?

II-1 L’islamisme radical

Pour l’islamisme radical, dès les années 1990, les femmes sont devenues une cible à agresser, physiquement. Selon la presse marocaine, plusieurs agressions physiques ou verbales ont été perpétrées contre des femmes se promenaient les cheveux et le visage découverts dans les villes de Rabat, Fès ou Casablanca. Le quotidien "Libération" a recensé « cinq agressions de jeunes femmes » pour des raisons vestimentaires.

Selon l’islamisme radical, rigoriste, pur et dur, les femmes, ces « objets de tentation », doivent être cachées du regard de l’homme, et ce par le biais d’un voilement total de leur corps. L’agression physique contre ces femmes « provocatrices » fait partie du « taazir », réprimande et coups. Ce taazir prophylactique est censé pousser les femmes vers un comportement moral.

Interrogé sur la justesse du combat des « milices islamistes », Abou Hafs, fervent théoricien de la Salafia Jihadya, avait répondu : "la vérité c’est que les jeunes sont écoeurés par la débauche des quartiers où s’activent au su et au vu de tout le monde les mafias de la prostitution et de l’alcool". Pour Al Fizazi, l’islam est la religion de l’égorgement et de la terreur. Aussi la musique, la danse et le chant sont une perversion à ses yeux. Quant à Zakaria Miloudi, du Sirat al Mutaqim, il était marié à quatre femmes, dont trois selon un mariage oral, sans contrat administratif.

Pour tous ces islamistes radicaux

 

9, l’application mécanique stricte du Coran et du Hadith en matière des droits des femmes est la seule posture acceptable. CSP, Code de la famille, constitution, sont à leurs yeux athéisme et apostasie. Ils vouent une haine farouche à la femme indépendante10

et appellent à écarter la femme de la vie publique. D’une manière totale et systématique.

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Voir à leur propos A. Dialmy : « Le terrorisme islamiste au Maroc », Londres, Social Compass

, Volume 52, N° 1, mars 2005. pp. 67-82

10 A. Dialmy : « Les antinomies de la raison islamo-féministe », Londres, Social Compass, 50 (1), 2003, pp. 13-22.

 

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II-2 L’islamisme semi-intégré

 

Par islamisme semi-intégré, nous renvoyons à l’association « Justice et Bienfaisance » (

Al Adl wa al Ihsane) qui dispose dans son organisation d’une section féminine (Al Qitaa Al Nisaii) . A propos de la question féminine, Nadia Yacine11 écrit : « de plus en plus se pose la question essentielle de savoir si ce sont les textes originels, en l’occurrence le Coran et la Sunna qui cautionnent l’infériorisation des femmes? Ou bien est-ce justement notre éloignement de ces sources qui a fait que cette infériorité évidente soit mise sur le compte de l'Islam»? Pour elle, nul doute que les Musulmans se sont éloignés de l’esprit des lois islamiques. « La rupture politique représentée par le coup d’état Omeyyade a inhibé la dynamique de libération instaurée par l’enseignement du Messager… Au lieu de jouir des droits attribués par les textes originels, la femme se retrouva prisonnière de la jurisprudence basée sur « sad al darai » (qu’on peut traduire littéralement par jurisprudence « bouche-trou») ». Dans le même ordre d’idées, Nadia Yacine affirme que la résurgence de pratiques tribales a été « maquillée » par une certaine jurisprudence afin de les légitimer. La claustration des femmes musulmanes au nom de l’islam a été faite pour souligner leur distinction des femmes esclaves et de basse condition : « enfermer la femme pour mieux la protéger, telle était la devise », affirme N. Yacine. Pour lutter contre cet éloignement, N. Yacine appelle à

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1.    قلت إن النساء، من جهة أنهن والرجال نوع واحد في الغاية الإنسانية، فإنهن بالضرورة يشتركن وإياهم فيها [في الأفعال الإنسانية]، وإن اختلفن عنهم بعض الاختلاف، أعني أن الرجال أكثر كداً في الأعمال الإنسانية من النساء، وإن لم يكن من غير الممتنع أن تكون النساء أكثر حذقاً في بعض الأعمال، كما يُظَن ذلك في فن الموسيقى العملية، ولذا يقال إن الألحان تبلغ كمالها إذا أنشأها الرجال وعملتها النساء. فإذا كان كذلك، وكان طبع النساء والرجال طبعاً واحداً في النوع، وكان الطبع الواحد بالنوع إنما يقصد به في المدينة العمل الواحد، فمن البين إذن أن النساء يقمن في هذه المدينة بالأعمال نفسها التي يقوم بها الرجال. إلا أنّه بما أنهن أضعف منهم فقد ينبغي أن يكلفن من الأعمال بأقلها مشقة  «، ابن رشد، الضروري في السياسية: مختصر كتاب السياسة لأفلاطون، نقله عن العبرية د. أحمد شحلان، بيروت، مركز دراسات الوحدة العربية، 1998، ص 124.

2.   » ... فذلك دليل أن الأنثى تفعل هي أيضا نفس ما يفعله الذكر. وإنما زالت كفاية النساء في هذه المدن (= مدن الأندلس) لأنهن اتُّخذن للنسل وللقيام بأزواجهن، وكذا للإنجاب والرضاعة والتربية، فكان ذلك مبطلاً لأفعالهن (الأخرى). ولَمّا لم تكن النساء في هذه المدن مهيئات على نحو من الفضائل الإنسانية، كان الغالب عليهن فيها أن يشبهن الأعشاب. ولكونهن حملاً ثقيلاً على الرجال صرن سبباً من أسباب فقر هذه المدن. وبالرغم من أن أنهن فيها ضِعف عدد الرجال، فإنهن لا يقمن بجلائل الأعمال الضرورية، وإنما ينتدبن في الغالب لأقل الأعمال، كما في صناعة الغزل والنسج، عندما تدعو الحاجة إلى الأموال بسبب الإنفاق، وهذا كله بين بنفسه«، ابن رشد، الضروري في السياسية، ص 125.

3.   »وإذ قد تبين أن النساء يجب أن يشاركن الرجال في الحرب وغيرها، فقد ينبغي أن نطلب في اختيارهن الطبع نفسه الذي طلبناه في الرجال، فيربين معهن على الموسيقى والرياضة«، الضروري في السياسية ص 126.

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14 juin 2010 1 14 /06 /juin /2010 09:07

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2010 Jun;15(3):160-8.

Sexuality and Islam.

Dialmy A.

Sociologist, International Expert, Rabat, Morocco. abdessamad.dialmy@gmail.com

Abstract

This paper deals with three major questions: (1) What are the sexual norms defined by the sacred texts (Koran and Sunna)? (2) What are the sexual practices currently observed among Moslems? (3) To which extent are current sexual practices of Moslems dissociated from Islamic sexual norms? Sexual standards in Islam are paradoxical: on the one hand, they allow and actually are an enticement to the exercise of sexuality but, on the other hand, they discriminate between male and female sexuality, between marital and pre- or extramarital sexuality, and between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Men are given more rights with regard to the expression of their sexuality; women are forbidden to have extramarital sex (with their slaves) and both genders to have homosexual relationships. The combination of these paradoxical standards with modernisation leads to the current back and forth swing of sexual practices between repression and openness. Partial modernisation leads to greater sexual tolerance. But restrictive sexual standards have gathered strength and have become idealised as a result of the current radicalisation of Islam. This swing of the pendulum between repression and openness is illustrated by phenomena such as public harassment, premarital sexuality, female pleasure, prostitution, and homosexuality. Currently, Islam is not any more the only reference which provides guidance concerning sexual practices but secularisation of sexual laws is still politically unthinkable today. So the only solution is to achieve reform in the name of Islam, through the reinterpretation of repressive holy texts.

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28 juin 2009 7 28 /06 /juin /2009 13:31

SEXUAL BEHAVIORS AND PRACTICES IN MOROCCO[1] (I)

HOMOSEXUALITY

 

Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

University Mohamed V Rabat

 

 

The social-anthropological studies that describe sexual behaviors and practices are qualitative in their big majority. In fact, only four studies[2] have tried to assess quantitatively sexual behaviors and practices, but their sample is not representative. Neither political power nor religious forces are favorable to assess Moroccan sexuality. The quantitative assessment of "illegal" and "anomalous" sexual behaviors and practices could be an official recognition of their existence and their importance, which is an inconceivable thing within the logic of a state that essentially governs in the name of a scholar and fundamentalist Islam attached to what must be. These qualitative studies say one essential thing: sexual behaviors and practices are characterized by an uncontrolled opening[3] that could be described in terms of anarchy[4].  Of course such statement disturbs an Islamic state, which is unable to demonstrate the opposite. Finally, the last weapon is to declare the results of qualitative studies not representative.

 

I- Homosexuality

 

Sexual socialization makes itself through rituals that construct a dominant masculine heterosexuality. Homosexuality remains this non-definitional troubling in-between. 

The socialization of the boy is centered on the glorification of his penis. Thus the circumcision, as a rite of passage[5], is a fundamental act in the construction of the masculine identity: through it, the boy is delivered from the prepuce, excluded of the female world and acquires virility[6]. Consequently, the female world becomes an object of sexual desire. So circumcision is the founding moment of heterosexuality. The main anxiety of parents is to have a homosexual boy[7]. To be heterosexual is to be sexually correct.  

At his first marriage, the groom is ritually called sultan (king), which is a way to say that "the groom becomes a man when becoming the male par excellence, the king (...). He symbolically becomes the king from the beginning of ceremonies and he remains king until their completion, until the wife's blood is spilled (...). The king makes the groom reach the adult age, and the groom makes penetrate the king in his private domain, in what determines his identity, the first conjugal sexual act”[8]. To be a man is to be a king, and to be a king is to be a man. To be a man-sultan means to be virile, it means to dominate the wife, it means first to be married. Therefore, the male (rajal) is the harsh man, as opposed to the lenient man (rouijel)[9]. The man is the master who must sexually initiate the wife and control later on the sexuality of his female offspring  (the preservation of virginity).  

This hierarchical relationship of sexes is currently in transition in the sense that the traditional dichotomy between two hierarchical sexual identities is put into crisis by the evolution of Moroccan society, and more precisely by the evolution of the sexuality and reproduction. Female sexuality now dares to affirm itself[10] outside the institution of marriage. It is a sexuality that is de-institutionalizing and that is beginning to claim the right to auto-determination and independence.  

But masculine identity as power is still there, insufficiently shaken by the breakthroughs of the Moroccan woman in the domains of education and employment. Besides, the socioeconomic crisis (induced by the structural adjustment policy since 1983) compels the common Moroccan male to regress toward the traditional shapes of masculine domination. The principle of sex equity is the first victim of this crisis in spite of all efforts made by the civil society and state feminism[11] in order to dissociate between equality of sexes and economic expansion. A tradition that affirms itself in the name of Islam, supported by scholars and fundamentalists, becomes an ideological shelter that allows the rejection of all hopes for sex equity in spite of the fact that social-sexual evolution goes slowly in this sense.    

A study entitled "Masculine Identity and Reproductive Health in Morocco" revealed that, for the common Moroccan man, bi-sexuality remains illness, deviance and vice[12]. It is above all a depreciation of the man, a man who is bi-sexual is said to be feminine. Bi-sexuality relegates the man to a patriarchal lower rank. Youngsters, the most concerned with their sexual identity because of their socioeconomic vulnerability, feel this depreciation even further when their sexual behaviors are homosexual.  

In Morocco, the most tolerant social attitude explains masculine homosexuality by an excess of feminine hormones[13]. Implicitly, this "popular-scientific" explanation of homosexuality reduces it to the so-called passive homosexuality. The penetrated homosexual is the only one considered homosexual. Indeed the excess of female hormones is interpreted in terms of anomaly and illness. But even when recognized as a prisoner of his hormones, the homosexual is not considered as a victim, the forgivable victim of a hormonal destiny independent of his will. While being irresponsible, the penetrated homosexual is accused of immorality and inspires disgust[14].  

Is male homosexuality compatible with masculine identity? Five answers[15] have been provided to this question. The first consists in establishing a mechanical synonymy between maleness and masculinity. In other terms, having a penis is sufficient to be male. The second consists in reducing homosexuality to receptive homosexuality. Only the one that is penetrated is said homosexual and stop being a man. The third answer consists in de-masculinizing all homosexual actors. If the receptive homosexual is de-masculinized because he is penetrated, the penetrating homosexual is also de-masculinized because of his abandonment of work, honor and dignity, values that are still associated to masculinity. The fourth answer consists to dice-sexualize all homosexual actors. Homosexuals are not considered as women or as men. Not being a man, the sodomite is not even a woman; this is due to a newborn respect expressed to the woman's consideration. The fifth answer consists in dehumanizing the homosexual actor. The homosexual stops being a human being to become an animal, he stops being human as well as religious because of a homosexual activity. Heterosexuality as an Islamic principle is definitional of the human being. 

These distinctions that synthesize attitudes of the common Moroccan allows to distinguish two sexual meanings of masculinity: a biological sense according to which the male is a man with respect to his anatomy, and a social-religious sense where the man is exclusively heterosexual. Social-religiously correct masculinity is heterosexual. One notices that masculinity is first of all sexually defined by the biologic sex, and then by the sexual behavior. To be a man means to be a heterosexual male. Consequently, there is no masculinity outside this orientation, no homosexuality in the man's definition. Homosexuality is the mistake that excludes the man from the field of masculinity. 

Girls are discreet and allusive concerning this topic. For them, homosexuality is not considered a less dangerous substitute (no risk of defloration or pregnancy in comparison with the heterosexual intercourse), but above all as an immoral behavior, a perversion[16]. The attitude toward homosexuality is negative: 90% refuse the masculine homosexuality while 87,2% refuse the female one[17]. The perception of homosexuality as an anomaly is expressed by its current Arabic translation, choudoud, which literally means perversion. Masculine homosexuality is not translated through the word liwat and lesbianism is not translated by the word sihaq in spite of the existence of these two terms in Arabic. Words liwat and sihaq are more descriptive, with less perverse connotation.

For boys, the homosexual intercourse is assumed only in so far as it is a means to prove a double virility. The active homosexual (louat) makes love to women and men without defining himself a bi-sexual person. For this reason, the Moroccan boy reports his first homosexual relationship gladly only if he had the active role, the penetrating role. No one speaks about his first homosexual experience in which his partner has penetrated him[18]. Indeed, the situation of the hassass (who likes to be penetrated by taste) and the zamel (the homosexual male prostitute) the two figures of “passive” homosexuality is different. Their sexual practices are not assumed because of socially depreciated[19]. But the hassass is more depreciated because he likes to be penetrated. The zamel is more considered as worker, a prostitute. Consequently, sex work becomes for some homosexuals a stratagem to live their homosexuality in a less dangerous way.

One recognizes homosexuality like a recurrent social phenomenon, which begins to be described in terms of market[20]: youngsters sell their bodies because they are not able to sell something else, without a concern about satisfying any kind of bio-psychological need. Here homosexuality is prostitution, sexual work. It is not recognized as hormonal destiny and/or interior need. This economic interpretation of homosexuality in terms of prostitution is a way to justify it or even to excuse it. Within this logic, youngsters would not have another solution to earn their living[21]. 

In some cases, masculine homosexuality is a surrogate. It is the sexual act that takes place between two males because of the lack of a female sexual partner. This homosexuality does not answer an interior psychological need; it does not reflect a recognized and assumed homosexual identity. It is essentially pragmatic. It is expressed through two major shapes: the rape of the minor by the adult[22] and the adult homosexuality in jail[23].



[1] Extracted from my paper entitled « Sexuality and Sexual Health in Morocco », in "Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Technical Consultation on Sexual Health, OMS, Genève 2002.

[2] I refer here to A. Dialmy's books La femme et la sexualité au Maroc (Casablanca, Editions Maghrébines, 1985, in Arabic) and Logement, sexualité et Islam (Casablanca, Eddif, 1995) and to Naamane-Guessouss's book Au delà de toute pudeur (Eddif, 1987). I refer also to Dialmy's study Identité masculine et santé reproductive au Maroc, MERC/Ford Foundation, 2000.

[3] A. Dialmy : “Vers le libéralisme sexuel”, Al Asas, n° 20, 1980. This article was published again as a chapter under the tittle of "Jeunesse et sexualité à Casablanca" in my book Sexualité et discours au Maroc, Casablanca, Afrique-Orient, 1998, pp. 51-63.

[4] A. Dialmy : Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, FNUAP, 2001, inédit p. 27-28.

[5] A.V Gennep : Les rites de passage, Paris, Emile Noury, 1909.

[6] C. Bonnet: “Réflexions sur l'influence du milieu familial traditionnel sur la structuration de la personnalité au Maroc”, Revue de Neuro-Psychiatrie Infantile, n° 10-11, 1970.

[7] A. Belarbi: Enfance au quotidien, Casablanca, Le Fennec, 1991, pp. 111-113.

[8] Elaine Combs-Schilling: “La légitimation rituelle du pouvoir au Maroc ”, in Femmes, culture et société au Maghreb, Casablanca, Afrique-Orient, 1996, pp. 76-85.

[9] This distinction between hard man and soft man is taken from Elisabeth Badinter in XY, De l’identité masculine, Paris, Odile Jacob, 1992.

[10] The magazine Femmes du Maroc deals regularly with feminine sexual themes. See A. Dialmy : “Les champs de l’éducation sexuelle au Maroc : les acquis et les besoins ”, in Santé de reproduction au Maroc : facteurs démographiques et socio-culturels, Rabat, Ministry of Plan and Economic Prevision, CERED, 1998, p. 289.

[11] A. Dialmy: “La transition démocratique: du mouvement féministe au féminisme d’Etat ”, Al Ittihad Al Ichtiraki, 15 April 1998 (in Arabic) and published again in my book Toward an Islamic sexual democracy, Fès, Infoprint, 2000, pp. 55-58 (in Arabic).

[12] A. Dialmy : Identité masculine et santé reproductive au Maroc, op. cit. p. 72-74.

[13] Ibid. pp. 72-74.

[14] Ibid. pp. 72-74

[15] Ibid. pp. 74-78.

[16]A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, Casablanca, Eddif, 2000, pp. 75-76.

[17] A. Dialmy : Logement, sexualité et Islam, Casablanca, Eddif, 1995, p. 229.

[18] A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, op. cit. p. 78.

[19] S. Davis : Asolescence in a Moroccan town, Rutgers University, New  Brunswick, NJ, 1989.

[20] A. Dialmy : Identité masculine et santé reproductive au Maroc, op. cit. p; 74; and Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 32-39.

[21] L. Imane : Prévention de proximité auprès des prostitués masculins au Maroc, Casablanca, ALCS, inédit.

[22] A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et islam au Maroc, op. cit. p. 90.

[23] M. Jamal : L’homosexualité dans la prison marocaine, memory of master in sociology, 1995, (under direction of Pr. Dialmy). See also, A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et islam au Maroc, op.cit. p. 90.

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28 juin 2009 7 28 /06 /juin /2009 13:28

SEXUAL BEHAVIORS AND PRACTICES IN MOROCCO (II)

HETEROSEXUALITY

 

Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

University Mohamed V Rabat

 

 

II- Heterosexual  Behaviors

 

The induced sexual need by the non-structured policies of the state is so intense that it leads youngsters and adults to zoophily, continual harassment and wild, multiple relationships. 

 

II-1 Zoophily 

 

Zoophily is very recognized especially by rural boys, those that have spend their childhood in the countryside. Donkeys, sheep and poultry were the object of their first sexual experiences[1]. Animals are chosen for their warmth, lubricity or tightness[2].

 

II-2 Harassment  

 

Coeducation in the urban public space is not profoundly accepted nor assimilated. It is lived through the pattern of sexual harassment (dragnet). Within this space, the freedom of the male does not end where begins that of the female. Public space is a space of systematic dragnet, on foot, by car, in the bus, wherever, whenever [3].  

“Dragnet" as the main mode of dating makes of the youngster’s sexuality an occasional, unsteady and fast sexuality. “Dragnet" leads to shorten the period between the first meeting and the sexual act[4].  

 

II-3 Multi-partner relationships 

 

Rare are youngsters that recognize one partner only. For the majority, the multi-partner relationships seem to be the norm. However, one can distinguish between a successive multi-partner relationship that is change of the partner and a simultaneous multi-partner relation that consists in having several partners at the same time[5]. This second type of relationship is more frequently invoked. It is presented as having a "pure" fiancée and several dirty "occasional" sexual partners. This form of multi-partner relations saves morality, on the one hand, and satisfies security compulsion on the other hand, reassuring an ego that is culturally submissive to the virility imperative, which is perceived as multi-partner relationships. To be virile or die, that is the dilemma. For Moslems, the connection between virility and multi-partner relationships takes root in the prophetic model. 

 

III- Heterosexual Practices 

 

The practices described below mainly concern the sexual activity of teenagers and youngsters. 

 

III-1 Masturbation 

 

Among boys, masturbation begins long before puberty, starting from the age of eight[6]. It takes place without ejaculation. Collective masturbation is also a game, "the challenge to determine who can make it longer than others"[7]. 

Girls speak with difficulty of their masturbation. They speak more about rubbing themselves against objects such as the cushion, the pillow or the table[8].

The factors that arouse the desire for masturbation are varied enough. The two main sources are seeing sex movies and the narrowness of the parental lodging. Indeed, many boys felt a strong sexual arousal when they either saw or heard their parents making love[9]. This factor is invoked again and again. 

 

III-2 The brushstroke  

 

It is a common expression by Moroccan youngsters to say that the penis operates like a brush between the big lips of the vagina or between the girl's thighs, penetration often being refused and feared. In this case, girls and boys are together convinced of the value of virginity as non-defloration[10].  

Girls find in the brushstroke a means that allows them to pass with success the test of “the good premarital sexual behavior,” sexual pleasure without defloration. By refusing the temptation of penetration, girls feel a kind of pride[11], and forget the shame and guilt that are socially associated with all kinds of premarital sexual activity.  

 

III-3 Heterosexual sodomy 

 

Among boys, heterosexual sodomy is very appreciated by boys. But numerous are girls who refuse sodomy. The main reason of the refusal is originated in the social and religious vision of “the sexually correct" according to which sodomy is condemned. But girls often have to let themselves sodomized[12]. Sodomy is here a surrogate to vaginal penetration.  It is a substitute that allows the young boy to ejaculate inside, in an inside. Some girls recognize to have experienced it and express remorse and disgust in general[13]. 

In the conjugal setting, some wives see sodomy as a practice unworthy of a married woman. In few cases married women admit practicing and enjoying sodomy[14].  

 

III-4 Oral sexuality 

 

The oral intercourse constitutes another palliative for defloration. The girl's refusal to let herself be penetrated gives the boys the opportunity to put pressure on their female partners to get a fellatio[15]. Therefore, in general, the fellatio is a practice of substitution associated to premarital sexuality or in some cases to an extra-conjugal activity[16]. But within the conjugal framework itself, the normalization of oral sexuality is admitted among a category of youngsters who have a high level of education. However, the fellatio seems to be more frequent than cunnilingus. This bigger frequency of fellatio expresses the sexual selfishness of the dominant male[17].  

 

IV- Female Sexual Satisfaction  

 

As a result of rapid increase in female literacy and the spread of TV since the 1970s, young women have more access to the themes of romantic love and sexual consumption[18]. In the same way, the expansion of video shops in the 1980s encouraged the consumption of pornographic movies that play a pedagogic role in the erotic domain[19]. The discovery of sexual pleasure by Moroccan women is there, incontestable. It ensues a growing importance of sexual understanding in the maintenance of the couple. 

 

IV-1 Premarital 

 

By the late 1970s the first survey on sexuality in Morocco by Dialmy[20] revealed that only 8,7% adopt the Islamic prohibition of premarital intercourse (2,2% among boys and 18,3% among girls). Moreover, this premarital intercourse does not presuppose a marriage project and is practiced for itself, for pleasure (67,7% among men and 45% among women). According to this study, virginity must be preserved until marriage for only 9% of girls and could be consumed just after engagements for 40%. The premarital sexuality is satisfying for 90% among men and 75% of women.

In the 1980s, according to Naamne-Guessouss, "the majority of young girls (65,3%) have had one intercourse at least"[21].

During the 1990s, young women show more sexual emancipation as it appeared through Dialmy's studies, "Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc" and "Sexualité et politique au Maroc"[22]. For the "new" young woman, a lover or a potential husband is appreciated for both his sexual and economic potency. Hence sex relationships become subdued to the groping, to the principle of the test and the mistake. They are becoming unsteady and utilitarian. Some unmarried young women consult for frigidity[23]. In general, the young woman doesn't want to hear about premarital sexual abstinence.

 

IV-2 Conjugal

 

According to S. Naamane-Guesouss, women divide in three categories with respect to this issue: the first category is represented by educated young women aged less than 35 years for whom sex is shared pleasure; a second category of educated women aged 35 years for whom sex is the opportunity to give pleasure to the husband in exchange of his affection, a third category of illiterate women aged over 35 years for whom sex is a chore and a suffering [24].

In my "Sexualité et Politique au Maroc"[25], I argued that the above female positions two major opinions are confronted here. The first believes that the conjugal couple is based dialogue and sexual understanding, the second thinks sexual modernization of the conjugal couple concerns a statistical minority mostly related to urban areas[26]. 

For the first opinion, wives manage to live sexuality as pleasure, not as a chore. In intellectual middle classes the wife has begun to discuss sexual matters with her husband in terms of right thanks to her economic contribution to the household. In the high social spheres, the wife is open to all sexual practices. In sum, there is undoubtedly a discovery of sexual pleasure by the married woman. More and more, and sometimes without the knowledge of the husband, some married women consult female gynecologists for questions of pleasure. According to a psychiatrist interviewed in Fez, the majority of men can only follow and find more and more normal that the conjugal partner participates actively in coitus. Female pleasure is more and more normalized. Husbands bring pornographic cassettes to their wives for inspiration and imitation. Some married men consult a psychiatrist because they need to know whether oral or sodomite intercourse are normal practices. 

For the second opinion, this normalization of the wife's sexual involvement would only touch the middle and high classes. In the other layers of society, there is a lot of dissatisfaction, a lot of hesitation and a lot of silence within the couple. But sexual misunderstanding with the husband is not the only cause of female adultery. In some cases, the wife cheats on her husband for money without being really poor. She does it in order to be able to satisfy her intensive need to consume more and better[27].  

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, let’s recall that sexual behaviors and practices described above were also related in two Moroccan newspapers, Al Ahath al Maghribiya (in Arabic) and L'Opinion (in french). "From heart to heart" and "Beyond taboos" are respectively the two files through which personal sexual stories are exposed twice a week since more than 2 years. In doing so, these newspapers created a public discussion about sexuality between story's writer, reader and sexologist[28] or psychologist and are contributing to undermine the taboo of sexuality in Morocco.

 



[1] A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, op. cit. pp. 74-75.

[2] A. Serhane : L'amour circoncis, Casablanca, Eddif, 1996, p. 156.

[3] A. Dialmy : Logement, sexualité et Islam, op. cit, pp. 65-66.

[4] A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et Islam, op. cit, pp. 100-104.

[5] Ibid. p. 104-110.

[6] Ibid. p. 72.

[7] Ibid. p. 72.

[8] Ibid. p. 73.

[9] Ibid. p. 73.

[10] Ibid. p. 85.

[11] Ibid. p. 86.

[12] Ibid. p. 88.

[13] Ibid. p. 89.

[14] Ibid. p. 89.

[15] Ibid. p. 87.

[16] A. Khatibi: Blessure du nom propre, Paris, Denoël, 1974, p. 50.

[17] A. Dialmy: Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, op. cit. p. 88.

[18] E. Evers Rosander: Women in Borderland: Managing Muslim identity Where Morocco meets Spain, Stockholm Social Studies in Social Anthropology, Stockholm, 1991.

[19] A. Dialmy: Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, op. cit. p. 143.

[20] A. Dialmy: La femme et la sexualité au Maroc, op. cit., pp. 133-134.

[21] S. Naamane Guessous : Au delà de toute pudeur, op. cit. p. 44.

[22] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit, p. 18.

[23] Ibid. p. 19.

[24] S. Naamane Guessous: Au delà de toute pudeur, op. cit. pp. 205-208.

[25] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit, pp. 20-23.

[26] Nadia Arrif: “Condition sexuelle de la femme rurale: cas de l'Unnayn”, Portraits de femmes, Casablanca, Le Fennec, 1987.

[27] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit, pp. 20-23.

[28] The sexologist A. Harakat was the consultant of L'Opinion newspaper regarding "Au-delà des tabous" file. This sexologist recently gathered some letters and his responses that occur between May 1999 and June 2000 in a book which took the title of the file, "Au-delà des tabous. Réflexions sur la sexualité au Maroc", Casablanca, Editions Axions Communication, without date.

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25 juin 2009 4 25 /06 /juin /2009 12:08

SEXUALITY IN SOCIAL SCIENCES IN MOROCCO[1] (I)

 

Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

                                                                                                                                           University Mohamed V Rabat

 

In the 1960s, the Malthusian imperative imposed on Morocco by international operators was at the origin of some research on sexuality through some studies on marriage (the minimum age of the first marriage, choice of the spouse…etc.) and family (type and size). It is through this institutional dimension that sexuality has been established as an object of knowledge and action in order to control national demographic explosion.

Parallel to this Islamized Malthusianism, a practical tolerance of sexual liberalism could be observed in spite of the existence of repressive laws, which forbid all shapes of non-marital relation. The explosion of premarital sexuality due to the crisis of employment and marriage is demonstrated by the fact that the percentage of bachelors with AIDS is continuously increasing[2]. Between 1986 and 1997, 20% of persons living with HIV are bachelors. In June 2001, this percentage reached 39%. Henceforth, bachelors are more infected than married people (36%). The practical and non assumed sexual liberalism has, in my sense, filled out a compensatory function in the sense that individuals, politically crushed during the 1960s and the 1970s, "realize" themselves sexually without touching to the established order. Sexual liberalism is observable in the impunity of the urban sexual harassment, in the free sale of contraceptives, in the explosion of premarital sexuality, in the rise of male and female prostitution. Indeed, the field of sexuality knows a fast evolution characterized by the emergence of anarchical sexual behaviors and practices theoretically condemned in an Islamic society.

In a context of economical precariousness, these anarchical sexual behaviors are not informed nor chosen, they are undergone in a way and a fortiori the HIV risk increases. The expansion of sexual work is the indicator par excellence of the vulnerability of youngsters to this risk. The STD constitutes a national curse; there are 400 000 new cases every year according to evaluations of the ministry of health. Therefore, associated to STD and AIDS threat, sexuality began since the end of the 1980s to be perceived in terms of risk and, therefore, classified among public health problems. Programs are elaborated in the aim of promoting sexual health, especially understood as prevention against STD-AIDS. But already the development of family planning, a prior necessity of development, has made sexuality shift from the private domain to the public one and from the individual level to the collective one. The HIV risk does perpetuate and strengthen this perspective.  

Through contraception, premarital relationships, sexual work, and STD-HIV risk, Moroccan sexuality has joined the universal and the global. It also begins to conceive itself in terms of sexual rights: right to sexual information, right to choice, right to sexual pleasure, right to protection and care. But the founding secularism at the heart of sexual health is said to be inadmissible in the name of an Islam that refuses to recognize sexuality as such, but always associates it with marriage in the Islamic term/institution of nikah. Sexual specificity is thus affirmed in the name of Islam.  

Therefore Moroccan sexuality is a social/cultural construction that oscillates between the specificity of tradition and the universality of modernity. This oscillation is both the indication of an ideological and theoretical contradiction, and a permanent source of tension. But this contradiction is solved in daily life, at the levels of social praxis and among professionals of sexual health. It is this movement of pendulum, characteristic of Moroccan sexuality, oscillating between the specific and the universal, between the ideological contradiction and practical programs that I would like to describe in this paper. 

Within this framework, this paper tries to answer the following question: What is the status of sexuality and sexual health in the practice of social sciences in Morocco?  

From a bibliography[3] that covers the notions of family, woman and sexuality (from 1912 to 1996), the hypothesis of the progressive disclosure of the object "sexuality" emerged. In other words, the object family and the object woman veiled successively sexuality as object of research. And it is above all because of the emergence of AIDS that sexuality currently shifts toward a kind of epistemological autonomy in the sense that it has began to be studied without being eclipsed by family or woman and without being cautioned by the “morality” of family or woman objects.

At the quantitative level, the pure sexual themes occupy a minor status with respect to the objects of family and woman as the following two figures demonstrate: 

 

Figure 1: Distribution of Writings on Family-Women-Sexuality 

 

         Period

 

Theme

Colonization

 

1912-1955

 

%

Independence

 

1956-1975

 

%

Neo-national

 

1976-1996

 

%

Family

 

41,2

31,3

15,6

Woman

 

41,0

47,3

58,4

Sexuality

 

17,8

21,4

25,0

Total

100

100

100

 


 

Figure 2: Distribution of Writings on Sexuality 

                                                              

            Period

 

Theme

1912-1955

 

%

1956-1975

 

%

1976-1996

 

%

Behavior

 

1,6

1,9

7,5

Body, virginity

 

3,2

1,9

3,5

Prostitution

 

3,2

0,0

2,5

Fertility

 

9,8

17,6

4,5

STD-AIDS

 

0,0

0,0

7,0

Total

17,8

21,4

25,0

 

 

As one can notice through these two figures, sexual themes have recently acquired a relative statistical importance. But most importantly, one can notice that the object sexuality has been landed mainly through the demographic perspective (fertility and contraception) from 1912 to 1975. It is only in the third period that the demographic prism relatively fades away so that notions of sexual behavior and risky sexuality attract more attention.   Indeed, concentrating attention on the family meant studying sexuality only through its institutional demonstrations. Variables of social studies of family overlook behaviors and sexual practices outside marriage.  

 

1- Women as a challenge

 

Women studies are having the absolute majority during the two last periods, after-independence (1956-1975) and neo-national (1976-1996). These studies are mainly focused on themes related to development like the veil, education, employment, the use of contraceptives and virginity. Consequently, the object woman was a stage in the progressive discovery of sexuality as "object" by social studies through the mediation of body that was here fundamental.

The emergence of the object "woman" is indeed correlated to the public production of the female body in a society that had to break with one of its ideological foundations, the public eclipse of body. Education and employment particularly raise the question of the veil while the increase of contraceptive use reinforces in the same sense the appearance of female body as non-mechanically devoted to pregnancies. The veil is in fact the socio-religious mechanism that served to eclipse female body in the traditional urban public space[4]. And it was quite normal that, after independence, Moroccan society faces the issue of the veil when facing the question of female education and employment. The construction of modern Morocco in the name of the development ideology could not be effectively carried out in social setting divided in two hierarchical worlds, one public and male and the other domestic and female. National power anxious to insert the woman as actress in the process of development waged a battle against the veil and the seclusion of women. In this sense, already in 1952 Allal el Fassi wrote that "the veiled woman is not less exposed than the unveiled one to the danger of prostitution"[5]. He went further by accusing the separation of sexes to be responsible for homosexual practices[6]. In doing so, Al Fassi was certainly under the impact of Egyptian reformists (like Mohammed Abdou) or Egyptian feminists like Hoda Chaaraoui. But there was also the impact of the western[7] family model on the Moroccan family. Consequently, after independence, the veil was not recognized as a sign of resistance to colonization. The battle of the veil is highly symbolic because it translated the historical necessity of the emergence of woman as a productive body in the productive space. The liberation from the veil was a kind of liberation from submission, from the patriarchal image of the homemaker. It was the first step toward the emergence of woman as a body-subject that can say no while giving the impression to offer itself. This body-subject can invest public space without hiding body and beauty. This public unveiling of female body, reinforced by progressively extended contraceptive use, allowed first to define body less and less as "a trunk of pregnancies" according to D. Chraïbi's expression[8] and more and more as an erotic pleasure instrument[9]. Indeed, the recurrent theme of virginity indicates the will of female body to act as an actor of premarital sexual pleasure that is critical of patriarchy and its Islamic justification[10].

This public production of the female body began by the battle against the veil and is continuing through the battle against virginity. Indeed Bouhdiba[11] tends to say that Arab-feminism had two main stages, the first one is the liberation from the veil between the two world wars while the second is the conquest of the right to flirt and sex (critique of chastity and virginity. In the 1970s the female circumcision[12] was as an emerging topic in Egyptian feminism). But according to J. Berque[13], the Moroccan reformist Allal al Fassi addressed to the town council of Fez in 1927 a petition through which he asked for the prohibition of exposing the bride's linen during the wedding night. This petition suggests the idea that Moroccan reformism is precocious and adopted a proto-feminist critique of the taboo of virginity since the 1920s.

Of course, the veil and virginity are two main themes directly related to the body and sexuality, which raises the general question of compatibility between women’s liberation (modernity) and Islam[14]. For current Moroccan feminism that is expressed essentially through female associations[15], there is no contradiction between women’s liberation and Islam. For this elitist movement of the Moroccan female intelligentsia, women’s liberation and integration into development can be achieved with Islam and not against it. In other words, Moroccan feminism never claims secularism. For fundamentalists, some feminist claims are unacceptable. For them, present Moslem woman has first to be veiled without refusing modernity. Due to massive access to academic education, the fundamentalist veiled woman is both involved in the conquest of the positive western knowledge and in the Islamic ethics[16]. This ethics is the setting in which the western knowledge must be made use of, it is also the setting that draws divine borders for female behavior in society. Consequently the fundamentalist veil[17] is the symbol through which woman is both Muslim and modern in a mixed public space without arousing the danger of chaos (fitna) induced by the seductive powers of women. According to some fundamentalists students of al Adl wa al Ihssane interviewed at Fez university[18], the traditional veil means effectively woman’s exclusion, but the "true" Islamic veil "protects" woman to be perceived as a desirable public body. This "new" veil does not prevent woman to participate in production, knowledge and power and guarantees her free circulation in the public zones of the urban space. In this case, the public space does not turn into a place of excitation and sexual harassment. Hence the necessity to create the concept of veiled feminism[19] to understand the internal logic of fundamentalist feminism. Far from defining itself anti-feminist, the fundamentalist veil claim fills a feminist function in the sense that it symbolizes the woman's refusal to be assimilated to a sexual and seductive body-object. The moralization of relations between sexes is obtained thanks to the veil and thanks to a bodily discipline. But let's signal here the gap that exists between the ideal and reality: Twelve percent of veiled young girls are favorable to premarital sexuality[20]. Furthermore, a veiled gynecologist asserts that veiled young girls have intercourse and consult for sexual pleasure issue[21].

Besides this gap, Islamic feminism also collapses in the claims of the Moroccan feminist associations concerning seven major points related to family status and to sexual and reproductive health. These points were presented in the Project of National Plan of Woman Integration in Development [22] (1999) as non-secular claims and as possible Islamic options. They are : the increase of the legal age of marriage to eighteen years for girls, the suppression of the matrimonial tutor, the suppression of polygamy, the transformation of repudiation into divorce, the allotment of conjugal wealth after divorce between spouses, the installation of condom distributors, the protection of abortion outside marriage. The Islamic refusal[23] of these points shows the limits of an Islamic feminism in Morocco and the resistance of the juridical Islam to the sexual and reproductive rights. It also points out its unhistorical definition of Islamic sexuality and family. Perhaps Dialmy's essay entitled "Toward an Islamic sexual democracy"[24] is the only work that demonstrates that the necessity to protect premarital sexuality against STD/VIH risk is not incompatible with the intentions of Islamic law and with the spirit of Islam. Especially in "Sexual health and Ijtihad" chapter, Dialmy argues that Ijtihad with both the available sacred texts and beyond the texts is necessary to protect sexual health as a central dimension of public health. Since premarital abstinence is unrealistic, it is less dangerous to use a condom. Having premarital sex with a condom or having it without a condom is illicit but having premarital sex with a condom is less harmful.

The religious resistance to the seven main feminist Moroccan claims showed that there is no difference between official Islam (ministry of Islamic affairs/Oulema) and Islamic fundamentalism as far as women and sexuality are concerned. A non-formal Islamic forehead constituted itself to struggle against gender liberation summarized in these seven points. For this front, these seven points have already received a definitive negative Islamic answer that consists in a double dependency: sexuality is dependent on marriage and woman is dependent on man. This double dependency is supposed to be an Invariable according to the juridical dominant Islam. Mystic Islam[25], which shows the possibility of an Islam defined as a possible theory of sexual rights and egalitarian family, is both excluded by Moslem scholars and fundamentalists. However, let's note that a more egalitarian Islam is applied in Iran with reference to Shiit juridical schools. Ayatollah Khomeïni introduced a new family law that could be considered among the most advanced in the Middle East, "without deviating from any of the major conventional assumptions of Islamic law"[26]. Under this new law, three major conquests : 1) "the first wife has the right of divorce should the husband take a second wife without her consent", 2) "the wealth accumulated during the marriage is divided equally between the couple in the event of divorce, 3) housework wages must now be paid upon divorce or on the woman's demand"[27]. On the other hand Ayatollah Khomeini allowed marriage of enjoyment[28] which brings an answer to the problem of sexuality in an Islamic community where youngsters, for lack of means, get married late.



[1] Extracted from my paper entitled « Sexuality and Sexual Health in Morocco », in "Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Technical Consultation on Sexual Health, OMS, Genève 2002.

[2] Analyse épidémiologique des cas cumulés de SIDA-Maladie enregistrés au 30 juin 2001, Ministry of Public Health, DELM/DMT, Service of STD-AIDS (Title/hp/k).

[3] A. Dialmy : “Le champ Famille-Femme-Sexualité. Les voiles de la sexualité ”, in Les Sciences Humaines et Sociales au Maroc, Universitary Institute of Scientific Research, Rabat, 1998.

[4] G. Tillion : Le harem et les cousins, Paris, Seuil, 1965, M. Chebel : Le corps dans la tradtion au Maghreb, Paris, PUF, 1984.

[5] Allal el Fassi : "L'auto-critique", Rabat, 1979, 4th edition, p. 272 (in Arabic).

[6] Ibid. p. 272.

[7] D. Masson : “Les influences européennes sur la famille indigène au Maroc”, Entretiens sur les pays de civilisation arabe, n° 7-10, 1937.

[8] D. Chraïbli : Le passé simple, Paris, Seuil, 1954.

[9] A. Bellarbi : “Soins corporels féminins : entretien ou séduction?”, in Corps au féminin, Casablanca, Le Fennec, 1991.

[10] N. Bradley : “Le scandale de la virginité”, Lamalif, n° 25, 1968; F. Mernissi : "Virginité et patriarcat", Lamalif, n° 107, July 1979; S. Naamane Guessous : Au-delà de toute pudeur, Casablanca, Soden 1987.

[11] A. Bouhdiba : La sexualité en Islam, Paris, PUF, 1975, p. 286.

[12] The absence of excision in Moroccan society removes to Moroccan feminism an important means that could have joined it more strongly to Egyptian feminism. Among the cultural reasons justifying excision, the desire of some Arabian and African societies to pull up the girl's sexual desire and, later the one of the married woman. In this setting, one pretends that an excised girl can resist the desire better and can support married better once her husband's prolonged absence. The feminist critique of excision indicates a woman's claiming of which one recognizes the body as desiring body. Indeed, the Egyptian feminism, pioneer and symbol of the Arabian feminism, first attacked female circumcision during years 1970-1980 as amputation and mayhem and considered it like a harmful cultural practice. In "Women and Neurosis" (1977), N. Saadawi accuses excision to be a source of psychic disruptions affecting the sexual desire and the orgasmic faculty. On such study basis, the African feminists and Arabic succeeded in 1990 in making adopt the term of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This term was adopted in a conference of the Inter-African Coalition (IAC) co-sponsored by the World Health Organization. See N. Wassef and A. Mansur : Investigating Masculinities and Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt, NCPD/FGM Task Force, Cairo, 1999.

[13] J. Berque : "Ca et là dans les débuts du réformisme religieux au Maghreb", in Etudes d'orientalisme dédiées à la mémoire de Lévi-Provençal, Paris, Maisonneuve et Larose, 1962, T. II, p. 484.

[14] Z. Daoud : Féminisme et politique au Maghreb, Casablanca, Eddif, 1993.

[15] A. Dialmy : Féminisme, islamisme et soufisme, Paris, Publisud, 1997, pp. 131-182.

[16] Dale F. Eickelman : “ Mass higher education and the religious imagination in contemporary Arab societies ”, American Ethnologist, 19, 4, 1996; Christiansen C. Caroe and L. Kofoed Rasmussen: “The Muslim Woman- A Battlefield ”, in Contrasts and Solutions in the Middle East, Ole Hoiris and Sefa Martin Yurukel (edited by), Aarhus University Press (Denmark), 1997.

[17] H. Taarji : Les voilées de l'Islam, Paris, Balland, 1990.

[18] A Dialmy: “L’université marocaine et le féminisme ”, in Mouvements féministes: origines et orientations, Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences of Fez, Fez, 2000.

[19] Ibid. p. 56.

[20] A. Dialmy : Logement, sexualité et Islam, Eddif, Casablanca, 1995, p. 183.

[21] A. Dialmy : Sexualité et politique au Maroc, UNFPA, 2001, p. 18.

[22] Project of National Plan of Women Integration in Development, Secretary of State in charge of Social Protection, Family and Childhood, 1999.

[23] The refusal was both expressed by Ministry of Religious Affairs, Oulema, fundamentalists and some political parties. This refusal expressed itself essentially in the Casablanca walk held march 12, 2000.

[24] A. Dialmy: Toward an Islamic sexual democracy, Fez, Info-Print, 2000 (in Arabic). Let's signal that fundamentalists stopped the book impression and only 400 copies could be impressed and sought.

[25] A. Dialmy : Féminisme soufi, Casablanca, Afrique-Orient, 1991; Leila Ahmed (ed) : Women and Gender in Islam, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1992.

[26] Homa Hoodfar : "Population Policy and Gender equity in Iran", in C. M. Obermeyer (ed) : Family, Gender and Population in the Middle East, The American University in Cairo Press, 1995, p. 123.

[27] Ibid. p. 124.

[28] "Opinion of Imam al Khomeini", in S. Wardani : "The marriage of enjoyment is licit among Sunnit", Cairo, Medbouli Library, 1997, pp. 133-136 (in Arabic).

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25 juin 2009 4 25 /06 /juin /2009 12:01

SEXUALITY IN SOCIAL SCIENCES IN MOROCCO (II)

 

                                                                                        Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

                                                                                                                       University Mohamed V Rabat

 

 

2- Toward sexuality as object of research

 

The shift of interest of the social sciences toward sexual behaviors and sexual practices is especially characteristic of the third period (1976-1996) thanks to the threat of AIDS and explosion of STD. The threat of AIDS and explosion of STD indicate a big sexual "opening" among bachelors. Because of the crisis of unemployment and marriage, non-conjugal intercourse characterizes present Moroccan sexuality. Henceforth, in the domain of sex, people admit having sex wherever, whenever, with whomever and with whatever means available[1]. Traditional notions of hshuma and aïb (shame) are loosing their weight in the social regulation of sexuality, especially female sexuality[2]. Indeed, sexuality outside marriage doesn't mean only the extension of prostitution, but also the emergence of an in love and erotic sexuality that is neither marriage nor prostitution, of a dice-institutionalized sexuality. This sexual activity outside both marriage and prostitution tends to be accepted practically by a society that continuous to refuse its normalization at the level of principles and laws[3].  Consequently, the analysis of sexual change must abandon notions of opening and modernization in order to substitute them with the notion of anarchy. This notion shows the extent to which the evolution of the Moroccan sexuality is unfit to be analyzed in terms of strategy and management. The Moroccan sexual anarchy would be located in the midway between formal and non-formal policies. It is politically non-planned even though one agrees to say that the power exploited sexuality to dice-politicize masses and youngsters and to "resolve" employment crisis. Four sectors constitute the field of practical policies[4] that are progressively setting up, although one cannot speak about the existence of a lucid and transparent sexual policy. These policies are : 1) the promotion of a tolerant judicial practice ( society gives less and less importance to sexual offenses, the big frequency of these offenses makes impossible their incrimination in their totality, hence the discriminatory application of the law), 2) the promotion of a sexually permissive culture (definition of virginity only as non defloration, definition of sexual activity as leisure), 3) the promotion of a sexually exciting information, 4) the promotion of contraceptives, of preventive techniques and of sexual counseling.

The fourth non-formal medico-sanitary policy aims objectively to liberate sexuality from all fears and to transform it into a means of pleasure. This major shift is widely spread by some feminine magazines that appeared in the 1990s such as Femmes du Maroc. This magazine devotes a regular section to sex education, which transmits a very practical sexual information to its readers. Sexual impotence[5], sexual obsession[6], lack of desire[7], inhibition of senses[8], climax of sexual pleasure[9], first sexual experience for men[10], premature ejaculation[11], caresses after love[12], Viagra[13].  These are some of the themes that Femmes du Maroc has dealt with through both a scientific and a permissive perspective. In these "files", Moroccan sexologists and andrologists are interviewed. For Femmes du Maroc, sexual education is not only the techniques to use within the institution of marriage, but also sexual liberal values seeking to free individuals in a liberated sexuality. However, this liberal definition of sexual education doesn't lead Femmes du Maroc to claim a change of penal code in order to dice-incriminate premarital sexuality when free and chosen [14].

If the notion of sex education is mechanically accepted by the liberal tendency (here illustrated by Femmes du Maroc for example), it is subject to a controversy as to its content, its ethical, its targets, its agents, its methods, its vehicular language and its media support. Let's recall that the Moroccan Islamic State’s reaction was unfavorable to chapters 4 and 7 of the program of action of the ICPD. For Moroccan officials, all notions relating to sexuality and sexual health must be dealt with in conformity with two principles believed to be immutable in an Islamic law also conceived at as indisputable, the legal inequality of sexes and the subordination of sex to the marriage. No right to sexual activity outside marriage is recognized.

Consequently, protection of sexuality outside marriage raises a legal problem because of the legal rejection of the use of condom outside marriage[15]. Among public physicians themselves[16], a trend asks to Islamize sexual health and sexual education and to reduce them to theoretical knowledge of sexual anatomy and physiology, early marriage, faithfulness to the partner, avoidance of STD and perversions (like homosexuality)[17]. In other words, sexual health and sexual education have to be both technical and Islamic. They must not transmit some values as the right to sexual pleasure outside marriage or outside heterosexuality. For this reason, fundamentalists among public professionals of health propose to medicalize the notion of sexual education and to name it sanitary education in order to avoid all "risks of cultural imperialism".

For health decision-makers, there is a kind of official silence on sexual pleasure in itself. For those people, the most important thing is that sexual activity should not lead to a high rate of fertility or STD/HIV. If all social actors agree with the aim of non elevated fertility, they have no consensus concerning the way to prevent STD/AIDS. For fundamentalists, there are only two ways to resolve this problem, abstinence and marital faithfulness, while liberals propose the use of condoms and conceive faithfulness outside marriage. To "conciliate" between liberals and fundamentalists, public health decision-makers propose abstinence, faithfulness and condom. Moreover, they maintain the notion of sexual education and consider it as a strategic goal in their recent "Plan National Stratégique de Lutte contre le SIDA"[18]. But conscious of the importance of religious leaders in shaping popular opinion, the Plan of the ministry of health associates the ministry of religious affairs as a partner in the elaboration of the programs of sex education[19]. For the ministry of health, the most important is not to adhere to the secular ethics of sex education that is at the heart of the declaration of human and sexual rights but only to achieve a lower STD/AIDS rate. In doing so, the ministry of health seems to ignore that the recognition of the right to sex is a major condition to individual and collective sexual health. Such ethics is not only not assumed by public decision-makers of public sexual health who are concerned with reaching a "religious" agreement on public sexual health programs. There is also a lack of a fundamental secular conviction[20] among the majority of public physicians because of their conception of medicine as a set of techniques that do not carry universal human values. This reduction of medicine to a technique leads some physicians to claim its moralization in the sense of its Islamization[21]. A sexuality that is supposed to be definitively regulated by Islam has also to be regulated by an Islamized medicine.

The emergence of infertility clinicians, sexologists and andrologists in the private sector[22], is also exploited by fundamentalists and used to reinforce their Islamic definition of sexual and reproductive health and sexual education. For them, these new disciplines are mainly supposed to solve the conflicts that could emerge from infertility and help some men to manage erectile dysfunction in the setting of marriage because procreation and sexual pleasure are two high aims of Islamic marriage. But impotence and infertility issues keep private because their "managers" are mostly private professionals and remain enclosed in a reductive definition of sexual health like a technical struggle against individual illnesses, individual handicaps and individual dysfunctions.




[1] A. Dialmy : Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit., p. 17.

[2] D. Dwyer : Images and self images : male and female in Morocco, Columbia University Press, New York, 1986.

[3] A. Dialmy : Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit., pp. 81-83.

[4] Ibid.

[5] N° 16, March 1997, pp. 48-51.

[6] N° 17, April 1997, pp. 38-41.

[7] N° 18, may 1997, pp. 54-56.

[8] N° 21, September 1997, pp. 52-53.

[9] N° 26, February 1998, pp. 54-56.

[10] N° 27, March 1998, pp. 52-53.

[11] N° 28, April 1998, pp. 62-63.

[12] N° 29, May 1998, pp. 62-63.

[13] N° 30, June 1998, pp. 72-73.

[14] See the analysis of our interview with the editor in chief of Femmes du Maroc in our study Sexualité et islam au Maroc, op. cit, pp. 82-83.

[15] A. Dialmy : Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, Casablanca, Eddif, 2000, pp. 207-210.

[16] A. Dialmy : La prise en charge éducative des patients MST dans la santé publique, Ministry of Public Health/ European Union, 1997, pp. 39-46.

[17] Ibid. p. 39.

[18] Plan National Stratégique de Lutte contre le SIDA, Ministry of Health, presented by Morocco to the General Assembly of United-Nations on HIV/AIDS (New York 25-27 June 201), pp. 18, 21.

[19] Ibid. p. 22.

[20] A. Dialmy : La prise en charge éducative des patients MST…, op. cit. pp. 39, 40 et 45.

[21] Ibid.

[22] The Société Marocaine d'Andrologie et de Sexologie was founded at 1993.

Repost 0
21 juin 2009 7 21 /06 /juin /2009 21:37

SOME SEXUAL ISSUES AND PROBLEMS

IN MOROCCO[1] (I)

 

                                                                                                   Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

                                                                                         University Mohamed V Rabat 

 

Feminine premarital sexuality, single mothers, sexual work, infertility, erectile dysfunction and sexual-spatial dysfunction are some issues and problems that theoretically transform the sexuality in a public health question due to the size and to the social and economic repercussions of these phenomena. Both the medical and the social dimensions of these phenomena illustrate the obvious impact of sexuality on socioeconomic development. Nevertheless, feminine premarital sexuality, single mothers, sexual work are not targeted by the public health policy which is exclusively focused on birth control. This policy orientation is illustrated by the existence of National Program of Family Planning.

 

1- Premarital Feminine Sexuality   

 

Moroccan social traditions make of the girl's precocious marriage a main element in the sexual and procreative strategy inspired by a patriarchal reading of Islam.

 

1-2 Woman's middle age at the first marriage

 

According to the patriarchal Islamic paradigm, the precocious marriage has several advantages. It is a mouth of less to feed and a way to avoid the risk of the premarital defloration, that is to say the risk of dishonor. The rate of single woman is lower than the one of single men; the masculine celibacy is, in fact more tolerated socially. Less than 1% of women remain bachelors at the end of their reproductive life[2].    

Figure 1: Matrimonial statute according to the sex 

 

Statute

 

Sex

 

Bachelor

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Indeterminate

 

Men

 

44,1

54,2

1,0

0,6

0,1

Women

 

39,0

53,8

5,5

1,6

0,0

 

 

Nevertheless, urbanization and schooling, though still incomplete, are gradually undermining the patriarchal paradigm of precocious marriage. Indeed, a tendency towards delayed marriages has been illustrated by the different socio-demographic investigations since years 1960. According to the last National Investigation on the Health of the Mother and the child (ENSME, PAPchild 1999), the percentage of women that got married before reaching 26 years fell besides currently of 863 for one thousand among women aged of 25-29 years. In the same way, this proportion fell further among the married women at the age of 20 years, of 638 for one thousand among cohorts of women currently aged of 45-49 years to 273 for one thousand among those of the cohort of 20-24 year women. The decrease of marriage among teenagers is faster and more outstanding. The investigation has revealed that marriage age varies according to different generations of women : Marriage at the age of 18 concerns 45% of women between 45 and 49,19% among those who are between  25-29, and only 16% for those aged between 20 and 24 years. The rate of those who got married early than15 is only 8,4%. 

The recession of marriage is confirmed by the female average age at the first marriage:  

 

Figure 2: Evolution of the female middle age at the first marriage

 

Year

 

1960

1987

1994

1997

Average Age

17,3

23,4

25,8

26,4

 

During 1996-97, the average age of the urban woman at the first marriage is 27,8 years (against 24,7 years in rural areas). Between 1994 and 1997, the rate of bachelor women increased: Out of 10 women reaching approximately 30 years, 4 are single. They prefer celibacy to polygamy. This latter is, indeed, decreasing. The proportion of women living in polygamous unions regressed from 5,1% in 1992 to 3,6% in 1996-97. Polygamy is particularly decreasing among at the educated women.  

One of the main consequences of the rise of the female average age at the first marriage is the emergence of premarital sexuality. The social status of this sexuality is, however, problematic.  

 

1-3 Between Dismissal and Acceptance

 

Legally, sex is prohibited for boys and girls before marriage. Yet, traditional standards are much unfavorable to girls. Girls are more submitted to familial and social coercion in the strict connection between sexuality and marriage. The usually, the family’s males lead this coercion. Furthermore, these males manhood is evaluated according to the extent of their control over sex prohibition and coercion on "their " women[3].

The sexually unsteady girl is said to be a "flirt". Moreover, she is considered like a prostitute even though she doesn't accumulate partners to accumulate money. She is said to be a prostitute because of the immorality of her conduct. Sometimes the family, unable to face the accusing gaze of others, changes the district. The girl's bad sexuality "offends the masculine pride of the family's men, it reduces these men to powerless males"[4].  

Yet, in the name of realism, men are adopting feminist attitudes to sex[5]. For these men, the premarital feminine sexuality is conceived in terms of rights or a fact that has to be admitted.  The girl who makes love in "a reasonable and respectable" manner is considered to be as virtuous as the one who does not make love. Sexual stability out marriage undermines social condemnation. It is, therefore possible to affirm that love has started to be more valued than virginity.

 

1-4 Virginity and artificial hymen 

 

Dialmy asserts that it is necessary to distinguish between koranic virginity and consensual virginity[6]. The first means that the girl doesn't have any sexual experience, while the second defines virginity as no defloration of the hymen. However, more and more young women are questioning the principle of virginity. Gynecologists attest the existence of numerous girls who are deflowered and not embarrassed at all not to be virgin[7], although opportunities of marriage decrease for these girls usually of modest social origin. These girls may opt for sexual work or for an artificial virginity. Indeed for the low classes and rural surroundings, consensual virginity is not a simple "bodily detail"; it is the only "capital ". In these surroundings, one even has to provide a certificate of virginity at the time of festivities of the marriage.

According to the Femmes du Maroc director, the repairing of the hymen would be the most frequent surgical "operation"[8]. It is a flourishing medical trade in the region Casablanca-Rabat, "between 500 and 600 $US the operation". Some generalist physicians would exercise the operation for derisory prices[9], 50/60 $US, but the suture doesn't hold and the husband realizes the subterfuge. For feminists, physicians who exercise the repairing of the hymen adhere objectively to a false notion of honor and, therefore, reinforce the patriarchal system[10]. Do they believe in this system indeed? Do they make the repairing to avoid the scandal to the girl, or do they do it for humanitarian reasons? Do they make it for merely financial interests?  

 

2- Single mothers 

 

The 1996 Casablanca and Rabat survey[11] on the lived conditions of single-mothers in Morocco shows that 68% of the mothers who abandon their children are aged between 15 and 24, they are all illiterate. Although they live in urban area, they originally come from rural area. They are usually either domestic or factory workers. 

Even though if the main concern of Islam is the child's legitimacy, the scholastic logic of the Moslem jurists' methodology prohibits them from legitimizing a posteriori the filiation: for them, the recognition of a natural child's legal filiation implies the legitimization of what it stands for, that is fornication. The jurists (foqaha) are, therefore, much more concerned with the punishment of fornication and its fruits rather than proving a natural filiation. For them, the central issue is the punishment of fornication within the rules of the Shari'a (Islamic Law) through the application of penalties (flogging or bet to death). As a determinant of the purity of lineage as well as the circulation of possessions, sex cannot be exercised outside the institution of marriage that precisely regulates lineage and possessions. Therefore, the natural child must remain a natural child so as not to sow the confusion of lineage and possessions[12]. 

As an extension of the Moslem law, the Personal Statute Code (Moudawwana) stipulates expressly (art. 38, al. 2) that the filiation outside marriage doesn't create any tie of relationship vis-à-vis of the biologic father and doesn't have any impact on the filiation. In other words, neither the Moslem law nor the Personal Statute Code do recognize to the natural child the right to institute a judicial suit in view to prove a filiation. The absence of such a possibility is in flagrant contradiction with the arrangements of the Convention of the child's Rights that recognize to the child the right to have a family, a name and an identity. This big hiatus increases the number of children victims and endorses the marginal status of the single-mother whose already precarious social situation is furthermore worsened by having to come up against numerous legal difficulties.  

In fact, the civil status is granted to the abandoned child according to two modes: the father is either identified as "unknown" or substituted by a cross where the father's name must be written down on the register of the civil status[13]. The natural child right to have a fictional patronymic name is ferociously refused by the Moslem jurist. On the other hand, a circular of the ministry of the interior allows the mother to give her own family name to her natural "child", but this possibility is conditioned by the single mother's paternal family males consent. With the absence of this consent, the child remains without a family name, and undergoes all the negative psychological and social consequences of an existence without name, that is to say without identity.

The stigma of the natural child starts right after his arrival to the world: single-mothers give birth to their children in separate rooms of the married women. After the childbirth, the personnel of health notify the case to the judicial police. Thus, the sanitary and judicial machine gets in march to exclude, even before the birth, the natural child and to transform into an abandoned child[14].  

The phenomenon of single mothers shows that the contraceptive education doesn't target this social category of socially modest girls. Certainly the contraceptive official message targets the married women in age of reproduction, the schooled girls usually benefit from an education on population that explains them the cycle of reproduction and that sensitizes them to the contraception use. Such an education is not developed enough by an informal education addressed to the non-schooled and dice-schooled girls.



[1] Extracted from my paper entitled « Sexuality and Sexual Health in Morocco », in "Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Technical Consultation on Sexual Health, OMS, Genève 2002.

[2] Azelmat, Ayad et Housni: Enquête de Panel sur la Population et la Santé (ENPS-II) 1995, Ministry of Health/Macro International Inc, Calverton, 1996.

[3] A. Dialmy: Identité masculine et santé reproductive au Maroc, MERC/Ford Foundation, 2000., p. 112.

[4] Ibid. p. 117.

[5] Ibid. p. 113-114.

[6] A. Dialmy: Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, Casablanca, Eddif, 2000., p. 86 et 220.

[7] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et politique au Maroc, Rabat, FNUAP, 2000, pp. 17, 18, 35.

[8] Ibid. p. 43.

[9] Ibid. p. 43.

[10] Ibid. p. 44.

[11] Les filles-mères dans la réalité marocaine, AMSED, 1996

[12] Analyse de la situation des enfants au Maroc, UNICEF/Royaume du Maroc, 2001, p. 177.

[13] Ibid. p. 177.

[14] Ibid. p. 178.

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21 juin 2009 7 21 /06 /juin /2009 21:31

SOME SEXUAL ISSUES AND PROBLEMS

IN MOROCCO[1] (II)

 

                                                                                                    Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

                                                                                                     University Mohamed V Rabat 

 

3- Sex-economy 

 

The development of sexuality has an economic impact no less important. As an implication of the social and the economical crisis (provoked by the structural Adjustment Plan since 1983), sex becomes a means to earn money and to live up to the increasing mode of consumption. The impoverishment of families forces numerous girls and boys, young women and men to sell their bodies in a market more and more organized within non-formal networks. Sexual work is a non-formal answer to unemployment and to poverty[2]. It concerns women, men and children. Moroccan economy so much functioning through sex that one is able to speak of a "prostitution economy". With the absence of a sustainable development policy, sexual work represents a solution or a relief from problems of unemployment. It is creating a kind of dynamic consumption in certain regions and sectors (tourism), it serves to attract some foreign investors, to seduce… Tolerance for prostitution is the only option left for a realistic economic policy.  

 

3-1 Sexual work of adults   

 

Sex marketing is correlated to the poverty of women and the impoverishment of families[3]. Very often, prostitution is the consequence of a necessity to survive and to fund other's survival (a family). It remains the most accessible means to face unemployment and precariousness. Barons of prostitution constitute unorganized networks[4].  

 Sex is growing into a business, a market, and an economically profitable activity that allows several social categories to survive. Girls (from 14 years), repudiated women, students, graduate unemployed persons, homosexuals, female workers in factories are the concerned social categories by this phenomenon. Even victims of a STD, family's mother continues to work, covering up her infection to the customer not to lose him. Other mothers prostitute occasionally, at the time of the school return to be able to buy supplies for their children or at the time of the Big Feast to buy the ritual sheep[5]. 

The masculine prostitution[6] is both heterosexual and homosexual. Henceforth, women pay men, a phenomenon that has started to be socially visible. Women who resort to the sexual services of men are not solely foreigners[7]. As for homosexuals, everybody recognizes that their number is increasing. Lawyers represent homosexual’s decrees in front of both the police and the court.  

Sometimes, sexual work also responds to a need of luxury and consumption. Basically, the girl goes with men because she needs to satisfy some elementary needs like a lipstick, a perfume, a birthday gift... Every partner offers her a gift of this kind. Later, this develops into professionalism. For girls coming from the middle classes, prostitution is not a means to make money, but a means to be able to consume more and better, to have apparently a luxurious life[8]. Some women already financially independent use sex to enjoy more financial comfort. To curl the end of month and get better dressed, secretaries, whose salaries are lower than the SMIG, submit themselves easily to several men without identifying themselves as of prostitutes

The correlation sex/money received a very strong thrust thanks to the male Arab Gulf tourism[9]. In other cases, sex serves to attract the foreign investors, to seduce them. As a "whorehouse " Morocco attracts customers thanks to the sexual offer. More than this, prostitutes are being exported to other countries[10].  

 

3-2 Sexual work of children  

 

According to Najat Mjid, the president of the Bayti association, 60% of children of the street of Casablanca recognize having been victims of sexual violence done by older children, evening guards and drunkards. Yet, it is difficult here to set a rigorous limit between rape and prostitution in the sense that wherever the child of street offers himself sexually he is able to spend the night in a garage, to get a cigarette, drugs or a piece of bread. 

In Marrakech[11], Peter Kandela says that visitors and tourists are offered sexual services of around 9 years children. The national price varies between 1 and 35 $US while for tourists (European or Arabian of the Gulf), it can reach until 170 $US. The visitor-tourist chooses the child, takes him to the hotel, prepares him (cleans him), feeds him, enjoys sex with him and then abandons him. Children having got used to this money refuse to come back to their families (according to Bayti association). Since homosexuality is illegal, this prostitution is rather clandestine. Kandela affirms that 48% of Moroccan children of the streets are exploited sexually next to food or a shelter-place.  

Children are completely unconscious of the HIV risk. According to Kandela, the judicial instruction files concerning the minor prostitutes do no mention the use of the condom.  

 

3-3 Values destruction and political guaranty 

 

The transformation of sex in economic activity is more and more done with a social consent, that is to say with the approval of the community and the family. With the absence of adequate development policies, some poor families leave their children to tourists' prostitution. Sometimes, children (including the males) are even encouraged overtly by their families[12]. Male honor, then, stays quiet. Thus, in certain regions, villages people even demonstrated against the police raids aiming prostitutes, putting forward that "it makes people live" and it is an engine of the local trade[13].  

Everybody agrees that the administrative authorities are conscious of the  economic role of prostitution in certain disinherited regions. The disappearance of prostitution in these regions would produce a real crisis there, and the political decision-maker has to compose and be tolerant[14]. With respect to security, prostitution would be a factor that delays a potential social explosion. There is complaisance and complicity on behalf of the public authorities to the extent that prostitution is becoming an aspect of the tolerated sexual liberalization. This policy of tolerance that consists of pretending not to see (prostitution) is interrupted by campaigns that serve several ends at the same time : to put pressure on actors of the field, to remind that authorities can outrage, to prove to the fundamentalists that the state does fight against the debauchery. In fact, neither sexual work nor sexual liberalization are fundamentally accepted, they both constitute an improvised, an unconscious and an informal choice to face poverty and fundamentalism: "prostitution rather than poverty" and " prostitution rather than the veil " would be the tacit slogans of the administration[15].  

The state is accused by the Moroccan elite (politicians, intellectuals, technocrats) of being responsible in the sense that it doesn't provide the minimum supplies for the repudiated woman to survive and to raise her children.  The State is said to be responsible when it allows girls without any qualification to emigrate (this implies exporting prostitutes, reducing unemployment rate and making money). It is finally accused of granting easiness to pimps and lobbies working in sex business[16]. 

             

4- Infertility

 

Infertility is statistically a minor phenomena in Moroccan society and is essentially treated in the private sector, which might be considered as a "luxury" reserved to a small minority, to an elite. The rare centers of fertility at Casablanca and Rabat recognize effectively that their services, techniques of medically assisted procreation in particular, are accessible to a very small and rich minority while Moroccan demographic studies reveal that infertility is more connected with a low socioeconomic status[17]. The infertile individuals are in their majority rural, less educated and socially more excluded by infertility itself[18]. However, definitive infertility (sterility) rate is in general very weak[19], 2,8% on 1987 and 2,1% on 1995.

 

5- Erectile dysfunction 

 

According to Pfizer, one million of people in Morocco would endure erection’s troubles. But Pfizer doesn't say how it managed to have this number, especially as "consultations for erectile dysfunction motive remain rare and difficult. Facing a physician, the impotent Moroccan man doesn't manage to say his impotence, he waits for the physician who either guesses or discovers it"[20]. Moroccan Society of Andrology and Sexology doesn't give any quantitative estimation. Studies on the question are very rare. In 1999, an epidemiological survey entitled "Prevalence of the erection dysfunction in Morocco"[21] has been achieved by the following physicians: Qadri, Berrada, Tahiri and Nejjari of the statistical department in Casablanca. The composed sample of 655 men over 25 years was selected only in Casablanca. According to this survey, 53,6 % of men endure erection trouble. And more age is older, the more the erection dysfunction includes a larger number of people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              Figure 3: Age and erectile dysfunction 

 

Age category

% of men with erection dysfunction

 

25-34 years

34,6

35-40

48,5

41-50

58,9

51-60

80,6

61-70

92,5

 

Otherwise, the survey establishes strong interrelationships between the erection dysfunction and some pathology:  

 

- Diabetes: 94,1%, p = 0,02,  

- Cardiovascular pathology: 90,0%, p = 0,01%  

- Arterial hypertension: 82,0%, p = 0,05  

- Depression: 76,5%, p=0,0002,  

- Prostate’s surgery: 75,0%, p = 0,0002. 

 

The survey recommends the consideration of erectile dysfunction a problem of public health in the sense that this unrest is in clear increase and has an important impact on the stability of the families (conjugal life). What are the foundations of this survey 's assertions? Let's recall that Viagra rate of sale in Morocco since May 1998 doesn't create "crazies" as in Egypt. Maybe such a claim is a way to make Viagra benefit form a medico-social cover. The recommendation to consider erectile dysfunction like a public health problem is likely to be an act that aims at legitimizing taking in charge of Viagra by social security. This hypothesis is heuristic especially as the erectile dysfunction is still a question mainly treated by the private health sector. This sector guarantees further confidentiality and anonymity, which is essential within a under-developed society where sexological consultation still be a "social risk"[22]. Indeed, impotent men[23] are not really taken in charge by the public sector of health especially because of socio-cultural reasons (lack of privacy first) but also because of lack of andrologists and sexologists in this sector[24]. There is no public hospital specialized in sexual problems like the one in Cairo. The majority of men with impotence problem consult andrologists or sex therapists after having their addresses in the yellow pages of the directory or after having read articles in the press[25]. This means, on the other hand, that these consultants are educated and belong to solvent social classes.

The existence of some sociological reasons to erectile dysfunction may also explain the recommendation to consider it as a public health problem. Among these reasons, the overcrowding of lodgings, the cohabitation of adults and the absence of bedrooms. Moreover, sexual dissatisfaction is due to bad conditions of lodging, which could be one of the psycho-sociological factors that constitute the fundamentalist personality[26].

 

6- Sexual-spatial dysfunction 

 

When thinking of sexuality in terms of pleasure and well-being, it means exercising it in positive spatial conditions that enable a complete satisfaction. Shared lodging with neighbors or with parents is susceptible to become an erectile dysfunction factor, and consequently of a marital pathology[27]. Indeed, the conjugal couple sometimes doesn't find an adequate place necessary for an intimate sexual relationship since the domestic lodging is overcrowded. On the other hand, the non-recognition of sexuality outside marriage as a human right also leads to the transformation of space into an obstacle to the satisfaction of the " illegal" sexuality. 

 

6-1 Places of the premarital sexuality 

 

The illegal sexuality of youngsters endures a major problem. One of these problems is the place. In fact, very few boys can invite their girl friends to the parents' house, which is considered as a sacred place. As a way of tinkering[28]: one makes love in a car, in toilets, in the stairwell, on the terrace, in the forest... These places are not safe and youngsters constantly run the risk to be surprised in the act of fornication by the police or by hooligans, or simply by people. The spatial-sexual tinkering means a fast and an unsatisfactory sexual act in an inconvenient place. 

 

6-2 Conjugal sexuality and domestic lodging 

 

In contrast, conjugal sexuality seems to benefit from the conjugal domicile in general, although the bedroom is not systematically present. For example, in Fez 25% of the households don't have a bedroom[29]. In Casablanca, among people arrested by the police in hotels while having 'illegal' sex are married couples who do not have adequate space for making love.  

Indeed, the number of people living in household[30] developed from 4,79 in 1960 to 5,81 in 1994. Small households (1 to 3 people) represent 20,1%, middle households (4 to 6 people) 40,8%, large households (7 to 10 people) 27,4% and  very large households (10 and more) 11,7%. This evolution is paradoxical in the sense that it contradicts with the logic of urbanization. It implies to specify the Durkheim’s law of contraction of the family, and to distinguish between nuclear family and small size family. Suburban families, while being nuclear in the sense that they are constituted of only one conjugal core, are not small size families. Not only the total rate of fertility didn't decrease to the same rhythm as in the other districts of the city, but one attends the cohabitation of adults more and more that increase the households size. The rural exodus, the crisis of the lodging and of the employment, the decrease of the spending power drive to a forced return to the cohabitation of adults, that is to say to the overcrowding of the already tiny lodgings. Indeed, "between 1982 and 1998, the level of urban households promiscuity became more articulated, the average number of people living in the same room shifted from 2,1 to 2,6"[31]. More seriously, "the 20% of the most underprivileged population live in average lodgings of an occupied room by 3,4 people"[32]. These rates of the room occupation represent a critical doorstep. A lot of households don't arrange an autonomous, distinct and freestanding bedroom.  

The examination of rooms evening dwelling enables to distinguish between 5 modes of sleeping[33]:  

 

- Individual mode (a person by room/or a conjugal couple in a room); 

- Territorial mode (parents in a room, boys in a room and girls in a third

room); 

- Bipolar raw mode: parents and a child at a low age in a room and all others in the second room; 

- Bipolar clear mode: parents in a room and all others in the other room; 

- Collective mode: everybody in a unique room.  

 

Therefore, the fact of living in only one room makes the child share the intimacy of parents, which predispose the child to aggression and delinquency, to incest, to precocious sexual relations, to prostitution, to doubt and to lack of confidence in him/herself. In some cases, to avoid the small lodgings, promiscuity and the irritation that follow, children prefer to remain in the street, and the parents are happy not to see their child coming back in the evening. These children are exposed to develop into children of streets[34].

 

Conclusion

Feminine premarital sexuality is due to the elevation of the middle age at the first marriage. The social statute of this premarital feminine sexuality is problematic and oscillated between acceptance and dismissal. It leads to distinguish between two meanings of virginity, Koranic and consensual. Sometimes, the consensual one makes physicians repair hymen to "prove" no defloration. This surgical operation reinforces the patriarchal system. In some cases premarital feminine sexuality is the origin of the phenomena of single mother who are and her child non-recognized at all and not benefits any right.

The opening of sexuality would also have an economic function no less important. Facing the social and economical crisis (provoked by the structural Adjustment Plan since 1983), the sex becomes a tool to earn money to live and to increase consumption. The impoverishment of families obliges numerous individuals from the two sexes to sell themselves on a market more and more organized in non-formal networks. The sexual work is a non-formal answer to unemployment and to poverty. It both concerns women, men and children. Morocco would use the sex intensively to the point that one is able to speak of a "prostitution economy".

 

 



[1] Extracted from my paper entitled « Sexuality and Sexual Health in Morocco », in "Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Technical Consultation on Sexual Health, OMS, Genève 2002.

[2] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 37.

[3] Ibid. p. 37.

[4] Ibid. p. 33.

[5] According to many interviews with some mothers in the newspaper Al Ahdath al Maghribiya.

[6] L. Imane: “La prostitution masculine au Maroc", Kalima, n° 24, March 1989.

[7] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 33.

[8] Ibid. p. 35.

[9] Ibid. p. 36.

[10] See some articles in the newspaper Al Ahdath al Maghribiya on this topic.

[11] Peter Kandela : “The prostitution of children in Marrakech and the spread of Aids ”, The Lancet,  Volume 356, n° 9264, 9 December 2000.

[12] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 37.

[13] Ibid. p. 37.

[14] Ibid. p. 38.

[15] Ibid. p. 39.

[16] Ibid. p. 39.

[17] "Niveaux, variations et déterminants de l'infécondité au Maroc", in Santé de reproduction au Maroc: facteurs démographiques et socioculturels", Rabat, CERED, pp. 184-187.

[18] J. Join : “Invocations pour l'enfantement”, Hespéris, 1953; P. Lalu : “Le mythe de l'enfant endormi, occasion d'examen gynécologique”, Maroc Médical; J. Mathieu et R. Manneville : Les accoucheuses musulmanes traditionnelles de Casablanca, Paris, Imprimerie Administrative Centrale, 1952; P. Pascon : “Population et développement”, BESM, n° 104-105, 1967; R. Bourquia: Femmes et fécondité au Maroc, Casablanca, Afrique-Orient, 1996.

[19] "Niveaux, variations et déterminants de l'infécondité au Maroc", op. cit. p. 192.

[20] According to an endocrinologist at Fez interviewed by A. Dialmy in Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 50.

[21] No published.

[22] A. Harakat: Troubles érectiles et consultation sexologique, in Espérance médicale, March 2001, T. 8, n° 70, p. 118.

[23] According to Pfizer, a million of people in Morocco would endure erection’s troubles. This evaluation is extracted from an unpublished study titled "Prevalence of the erection dysfunction in Morocco", Casablanca.

[24] A. Harakat : "Troubles érectiles et consultation sexologique", op. cit. p. 119.

[25] Ibid. p. 118.

[26] A. Dialmy: Logement, sexualité et Islam, Casablanca, Eddif, 1995.

[27] A. Harakat: "Troubles érectiles et consultation sexologique", op. cit. p. 119.

[28] A. Dialmy: Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, op. cit. p. 103-104.

[29] A. Dialmy: Logement, Sexualite et Islam, op. cit., p. 140. 

[30] RGPH 1960, RGPH 1971, Caractéristiques socio-économiques de la population (Direction of Statistics 1982), Les caractéristiques socio-économiques et démographiques de la population (DS, 1994), Enquête Nationale sur la Famille, DS, 1995.

[31] Enquête nationale sur les niveaux de vie des ménages 1998 /1999, Rabat, CERED, p. 16.

[32] Ibid. p. 16.

[33] A. Dialmy: Logement, sexualité et Islam, op. cit, p. 144-145.

[34] Analyse de la situation des enfants au Maroc, op. cit. p. 170. 

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